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Myth Summary

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Department
Classical Studies
Course Code
CLAA05H3
Professor
Parton

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Myth - William E. Pardon
The language of religion is different from the language of science
The language is not just poetic or rationalistic speculations, but sacred words and
models by which one lives
The generic term used is myth.
We need to first see how it is used as the world-building, world-shaping language of
religion.
Myth: Approaching the Term
Myth has both positive and negative uses
Greek word mythos originally meant: anything delivered by word of mouth, such as a
statement, an order, a speech or story.
Mythos became a word as the most ancient, the original account of the origins of the world,
in divine and sacred revelation, of gods and demigods and the genesis of the cosmos;
cosmology.
Contrasted with “epos - the word of human narration or logos the word as rational
construction.
Current Western culture myth is used in a negative sense, usually the word refers to
fantastic, entertaining stories about gods and heroes, the realm of imagination, domain of
centaurs, unicorsn and miracles
Scientific Culture sees mytho9logy as an archaic, prelogical stage of human
cognition.
Literature takes myth as an early genre of storytelling that preceded the emergence of
the modern epic and other narrative forms
However, study of religion requires a different, more positive use of the term
not merely a story told, but a story lived
a living reality, believed to have once happened in primeval times
anthropologists found that communities back then had clear distinctions between
stories of entertainment and sacred stories
oPawnee Indians false stories and true stories
oEskimos young stories and old stories
oWinnebago narrated and sacred accounts
Eliade:
Stressed the contemporary functions of myth world creating myths, cosmogonic
Focus on religious rather than sociological function of myth
Emphasis on mythic time as the source of creative power
Sacred function of myth opened up new avenues of interpreting the general history
of religions
Myth posits ostensibly real times and places, real heroes and ancestos, real
genealogies and events
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Description
Myth - William E. Pardon The language of religion is different from the language of science The language is not just poetic or rationalistic speculations, but sacred words and models by which one lives The generic term used is myth. We need to first see how it is used as the world-building, world-shaping language of religion. Myth: Approaching the Term Myth has both positive and negative uses Greek word mythos originally meant: anything delivered by word of mouth, such as a statement, an order, a speech or story. Mythos became a word as the most ancient, the original account of the origins of the world, in divine and sacred revelation, of gods and demigods and the genesis of the cosmos; cosmology. Contrasted with epos - the word of human narration or logos the word as rational construction. Current Western culture myth is used in a negative sense, usually the word refers to fantastic, entertaining stories about gods and heroes, the realm of imagination, domain of centaurs, unicorsn and miracles Scientific Culture sees mytho9logy as an archaic, prelogical stage of human cognition.
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