CLA204H5 Lecture 1: CLA204- LEC1

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30 Jul 2016
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CLA204- Lecture 1
Joseph Campbell: mythology is other peoples religion
o“my” religion is true, other peoples religion is a myth
Myth become lies when you mistake the symbol, a myth refers to something
oOn the surface they are about people etc, but the refer to something
oMistaking symbols for facts is the issue
Myth might be a reduction of a well known character Eg. myth of pope John Paul the second
oNot a myth because we know he existed but other stories have arose
Mythology must focus on recollection and keeping in mind that myths are orally based
BCE= before the common era
CE= common era
In 750 BCE  Nestor’s property  learned alphabet from someone and applied it to greek which made Greece passed from
oral to literate culture
oThe minute stories are written down, they become fixed and become a “right story”
oBut there is actually no “right story
Eg. Oedipus who made a great error in which he murder his father and had sex and produced children w. his own
mother but there are different versions
Punishes himself but continues to rule
Or take out his eyes
Two different people having two different stories about the exact same experience so therefore just because
its written down doesn’t mean it’s the right one its just the ones we’re stuck with
We’ve lost about 70% of written material
oErosion
oText were not deemed appropriate for new paradigm: around 200CE Christianity becomes state religion of roman
empire and deems any other religion to become illegal
oWhat is preserved isn’t necessarily the right version but just what survived
Myths come from direct Greek ancient world but modern day myth makers (eg. JK Rowling) are engaged in mythpoeia
(process of making myths) but don’t originate from original Greek culture
What is a myth and why is a myth?
Doty (modern author)  book: mythography (process of writing about myths) the study of …and rituals
oMythological corpus (body of work): products of imagination, stories conveyed by means of metaphors, graphic
memory, primal foundation accounts of aspects of a real experience world and human kind roles and statuses within it
Why is myth? What does it do? Joseph Campbell (died in 1987)
o4 functions of myth (broadly applicable)
1. Mystical function of myth: deals w. how are you here and why are you here, what is here, how did we get
here
a. Science today was science yesterday, myth was the science for yesterday
b. Look at how things are presented as truth when it most cases they are larger truths
c. There is a mystery to it  who are you?
2. Cosmological: cosmos= the world but as the world got bigger cosmos began to mean something else
a. Science of arrangement and has to do with order  everything happens as it should
b. Deals w. boundary conditions of the universe  why is my world the way it is? Eg. Sky, earth, underworld
c. Might be a better way of saying “how did the world come to be”
d. Function of myth that enables us to understand how our universe as it is, came to be
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