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01_2 The Nature of Myth

01_2 The Nature of Myth - Chapter One Lecture Two The...

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Chapter One, Lecture Two The Nature of Myth
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Types of Myth Can be distinguished by the nature of the main characters and the meaning they had for the listeners. Divine Myth Supernatural beings are the main actors Legend (Saga) Main actors are human heroes Folktales Main actors are ordinary people or animals
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Divine Myths Aka True Myths or Myths Proper
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Types of Myth: Divine Myth Gods are beings that are vastly superior, more powerful, and more splendid than human beings. Control forces of nature and whose quarrels can cause cosmic cataclysms. Sometimes fully developed personalities, sometimes mere personified abstractions: Zeus as opposed to Nikê (= Gk. victory )
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Types of Myth: Divine Myth Their divine myths take place in illo tempore (a time when the world was different from the way it is now). Before time and space functioned as it does now. The Greeks did not ask how long ago Zeus’s battle against the Titans took place.
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Types of Myth: Divine Myth Though these divine myths and the gods have religious implications, they do not constitute “religion.” A myth is a story. Religion is a set of actions directed by beliefs.
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Types of Myth: Divine Myth Divine myth often provide the grand explanations for why the cosmos is the way it is. Its overall structure Its rhythms Humankind’s place in it and its duties and roles.
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Types of Myth: Divine Myth Myths with explanatory purpose are called etiological . Origin of Mt. Etna (Typhoeus) Why the season vary (Persephonê and Demeter) Why gods and goddesses are worshipped the way they are (Demeter as a mare)
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Types of Myth: Divine Myth Divine myth and modern theoretical
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