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01c-2 NOTE Creation Myths

01c-2 NOTE Creation Myths - Creation Myths Sacred Symbols...

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Creation Myths Sacred Symbols of Cosmogony What is Myth? Sacred story Deals with relation of humans and gods Describes foundation of community Establishes purpose of community Mythos ( muqoß ) = a system of myths = way of viewing the sacredness of the universe What is Myth? Myth is not “false legend” Myth can be historically true or false Defined by religious and sociological function the tale plays Is there a scientific creation myth?
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Cosmogony “birth of the world” ( kosmos ; ko/smoß ) creation narratives/myths Describes the nature of the universe and the place of humans therein Cosmology = description of the world, often part of cosmogonies Microcosm = “small world” = symbolic models of the cosmos/creation Primordial = “first in order” = the most ancient and archaic events, practices, beliefs, etc. Problem of Vocabulary Limited number of ancient words Old Testament has 5000 words Lack of technical word Multiple meanings for words Metaphorical use of words fire “eats” wood
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Primordial “Water” = chaotic, formless, unorganized matter (“the deep”) Greek = abyss ( a ‡busson ) Mesopotamian = apsu Hebrew = “the deep” ( t ĕ hôm Mwøh Vt ) Sea water = no life; fresh water = life Primordial “Water” Formless oozy liquid Quintessence = “fifth essence” or element Four elements = fire, air, water, earth
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