ANTH 111 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Theogony, Lightning, Sophist

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29 Feb 2016
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Monday, February 29, y
Unit 1 - The “BTC”
What is Myth
-Myth
new (popular) definition or myth - and unfounded or false notion, idea , or story
old (anthropological) definition of myth - a sacred story central to the belief system
and values of a given people, culture, or religion
How did this change?
-Christianity became official religion of Roman Empire
-Assimilation
-Demonization
-Mythology
-Mythos - sacred story
-Logos - ordinary story
-Ancient Greece
Homer
-Iliad
-Odyssey
Hesiod
-Theogony - the study of the birth of Gods
-Works & Days
Sophists
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Monday, February 29, y
-don’t care if myth is true or not, just want to persuade population to believe what
they want
The Euhemerist School
-believed that myths were either:
primitive explanations of the natural world (explaining why the sun comes up
every day, or thunder and lightning to a young child)
time-distorted accounts of historical events (Trojan War was a real event, but is
told in the Iliad with fictional characters)
“Golden Age”
-First developed by the Greeks, but also is seen in the Bible
-Everyone lived happily, but when man kind sinned they were cast out of
paradise, or were wiped out and started over with new men
-19th Century
“Volkish” School
-maintain their purity by maintaining traditions
-focussed only on one culture and all others were wrong
-Nazis based their beliefs upon the Volkish School
-Grimm’s fairy tales (a lot of nationalism, Volkish School, and anti-semitism
Comparative Mythology
-compare myths from different cultures to find the “original version”
-diffusion (passing on of mythology through contact) and polygenesis (creation
from many places, same story existing in cultures in distant parts of the world)
Nature School
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