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Old November 14th, 2012, 09:52 PM   #1

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Comparative mythology


See how many similarities you can find from different and even older cultures. Names, places, events..... I have gone up to Genesis 8 and I already have dozens of examples including the tree, the garden, creation, rib, serpeant, flood, tower of babble, confusion of tongues, gods mating with women, ...etc. I look forwarding to discussing your results

Last edited by joshuaaaronhodak; November 14th, 2012 at 10:08 PM. Reason: spelling error
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Old November 15th, 2012, 01:18 AM   #2

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If you haven't read Joseph Campbell's works by now, I suggest you do so. He was the master of comparative mythology and literature. The best example of his work is The Hero With A Thousand Faces, followed by The Power of Myth.

It's powerful stuff because it shows that there are threads that bind humanity together. Despite the various cultures on Earth, heroes and heroines look pretty much the same. It lends credence to the belief that there is proper human conduct, and improper. To paraphrase Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (great book) no one needs to tell you what is good and bad.

I'm not half the scholar Mr. Campbell or many of the other members here are, but there are many similarities between flood stories around the world. Heroic adventures and martial exploits frequently get similar treatments across the board.

I know its not mythology, but I wrote a few essays in my college days (last year) comparing Roman and Chinese literature. The reaction to warfare, the fall of just and ethical people at the hands of 'wicked' men, and the sense of a homogeneous culture are all addressed in each, and frequently meet the same answer.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 01:39 AM   #3

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Thanks, ill check that out
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Old November 15th, 2012, 02:04 AM   #4

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For me, common themes that come to mind are sibling rivalry (Cain and Abel, Seth and Osiris, I think there's also one from Inca mythology) or a struggle between generations of gods for power and control (Titans vs Olympians - similar myths are described here: Titanomachy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), and the slaying of a monster by a hero (Gilgamesh, Hercules, etc).

Sir James George Frazer believed that the theme of a dying and reborn god was present in almost every ancient religion.

The image of the Virgin Mary suckling baby Jesus was borrowed from Egyptian mythology where Isis is frequently portrayed as nursing the infant Horus. Comparisons like this are endless.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 05:06 AM   #5

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Joseph Campbell had a bachelor degree in English literature and a Master's in Medieval literature, but no professional qualifications in the field of mythology. His primary contribution to the field was a subjective methodology which relied on the fact that if you draw a big enough circle, anything will fit into it.

Although popular in amateur circles, Campbell's 'monomyth' theory was rejected by the scholarly consensus and has no credibility at the academic level. In short: genuine, professional mythologists concluded Campbell was wrong. Today, 25 years after his death, they still agree he was wrong.

Sir James George Frazer was an anthropologist who also lacked professional qualifications in the field of mythology. Like Campbell he allowed his ideological preconceptions to override his objectivity. Frazer's naive acceptance of the 'pre-Christian dying-and-rising-god' motif appeared reasonable in his day, but professional academics have since proved that there is no such category.

For a solid refutation of both Campbell and Frazer, look no further than this book:

This Is The Sun? : Zeitgeist And Religion (Volume I: Comparative Religion): Albert Mcilhenny: 9781105339677: Amazon.com: Books
This Is The Sun? : Zeitgeist And Religion (Volume I: Comparative Religion): Albert Mcilhenny: 9781105339677: Amazon.com: Books


I particularly recommend Part Three, where McIlhenny examines and refutes the 'mythic hero' and 'dying/rising god' archetypes which are typically used to argue that Jesus was just another pagan crossover.

Not only does he show that Jesus doesn't match the 'mythic hero' archetype; he also demonstrates that advocates of this theory must perform extraordinary gymnastics, variously bending and breaking their own criteria to suit the needs of the argument.

Proponents of the 'dying/rising god' myth will be horrified to learn that it never existed in antiquity but was fabricated by modern scholars (and pseudoscholars) with ideological motivations.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 05:49 AM   #6

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What qualifications does one get in the "professional" field of mythology?
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Old November 15th, 2012, 05:51 AM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sankari
Proponents of the 'dying/rising god' myth will be horrified to learn that it never existed in antiquity but was fabricated by modern scholars (and pseudoscholars) with ideological motivations.
Myths of dying gods didn't exist in antiquity? Or are you speaking of a particular myth?
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Old November 15th, 2012, 05:51 AM   #8

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasta View Post
What qualifications does one get in the "professional" field of mythology?
Presumably a literary, sociological or historical degree - mythology would seem to fall under all of those categories.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 06:05 AM   #9

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The trickster is a role found in many mythologies. Prometheus, Loki, Coyote, the Serpent in Eden are some well known examples. Trickers provide a crucial role in story telling. They break the rules and don't follow convention, which always makes for a good plot hook.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 06:25 AM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasta View Post
The trickster is a role found in many mythologies. Prometheus, Loki, Coyote, the Serpent in Eden are some well known examples. Trickers provide a crucial role in story telling. They break the rules and don't follow convention, which always makes for a good plot hook.
You are right this is like a form to write a good book, you had villains, heros,like gods dying in a heroic way, or the trickster, this can hold the human (and his believe) attention,and as we are all the same species the formula does not change much.

Another point most beliefs arises from the need to explain natural events
like fire, thunder,this explain the big number of thunder gods a example,from Thorn for the vikings to Tupan for the Tupi-guaranis

Last edited by Tairusiano; November 15th, 2012 at 06:33 AM.
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