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ANTA01H3 Lecture Notes - Creation Myth, Catastrophism, Cultural Anthropology

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Genevieve Dewar

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Ch 1: Frameworks
People have tried to address the questions of where we come from with myths (A story, usually evok-
ing the supernatural, to account for some aspect of the world). All cultures has its own myths explain-
ing the creation of the Earth, of planets and animals and of human beings. Creation myth explains the
origin of the world, its inhabitants and it lays out the society’s worldview and belief system.
Creation Story of Yanomamo
The cosmos was made of four layers. The first layer once had a function, but now it is empty. The under-
surface of the second layer is the visible sky. The third layer is the earth. The fourth layer contains a sin-
gle village inhabited by spirit people who sometimes travel up to earth to capture and eat the souls of
children. The First Beings - the Yanomamo gods - originated along with the layers of the cosmos. Yano-
mamo’s were created when one of the First Beings, Periboriwa came to earth to eat the souls of children.
Two other First Beings shot at him and wounded him. Each drop of the blood that hit Earth became a
Yanomamo men. One of the men that was created was pregnant in the legs, which gave birth to more
men and a woman. Later, the First Beings became sprits and dwell on the second layer, a replica of the
“real world” third layer.
The Ancient Hebrews
1) An all-powerful Being brought order to the chaotic world of water. Over six days he created light;
Heaven; the Earth with land, ocean and plans; the sun, moon and stars; animals; and men and women.
He granted humans domination over every living thing.
2) A more detail version of the first story. Humanlike god creates water on a dry land and produces men
out of “the dust of the ground”. He plants a garden from the man to take care of and eat. He added
animals to provide the man with a companion, however, none of the animals were able to provide that,
so God makes a woman from one of the man’s ribs. One day, God discovers that the human creates
have eaten from the forbidden tree of knowledge. He punishes the woman to the “sorrow” of bearing
children and to the rule of men. God punishes the man and all men thereafter to farm in order to ac-
quire food. After generations, the decedants become sinful, so God creates a catastrophic flood to de-
February 27, 2011 5:35 PM
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