Morgaine

Vox Hunt: Latest Read

In Too lazy to assign a category on February 22, 2007 at 9:32 pm

Book: Show us the latest book you bought, borrowed or received.

The Power of Myth
Joseph Campbell

I received these as a gift exactly one week ago [this is great, *smoochies*] ! I can't tell whether I like these books as I haven't read them just yet. I'm looking forward to having the energy to do so though.

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  1. 🙂 I don't know if you'll like them or not, but you might find something interesting there from an anthropology angle. Marija Gimbutas and Joseph Campbell have many of their works residing in a joint library.

  2. I've always wondered about that Power of Myth book. However, I heard time and time again (regarding the previous commenter) that Marija Gimbutas' work has been discredited.

  3. There's criticism on Joseph Campbell as well, e.g.:Campbell’s work tends to preference male hero journeys over female ones. Some of his texts ascribe to females the very traditional roles of wives and mothers, rather than workers, and this quality tends to evoke the ire of feminist critics. It is notable that his wife continued to work as a dancer, and that the couple did not have children. Perhaps his comments relating to women are something of wish fulfillment. However, many feminists question the value of the hero’s journey as developed by Joseph Campbell, because of a perceived old-fashioned take on women’s roles.sourceAlso: Myth Perceptions, Joseph Campbell's Power of Deceit, criticism on The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Wikipedia), critical note, and many more.

  4. …Gimbutas was discredited to a large extent based on the belief that:

    "(1) Attributing religious meaning to female representations is tenuous at best;

    (2) The tired idea of an original state of matriarchy
    is founded more on an old-fashioned marxist dogma than on any
    archaeological evidence; and

    (3) Her extrapolation of symbolic meaning of the female
    image from historic times into the depths of prehistory is
    unjustified".2

    As shown below, these objections are groundless: religious meaning
    can certainly be attributed to many of the figurines once their strange
    features are explained and recognized as protypes of those that appear
    millennia later in many of history's well-known deities. But the
    starting point for such an investigation cannot even be approached
    unless one is willing to open his mind to the possibility that such
    figurines were not originally sculpted to depict either women or
    goddesses, as we know them, as difficult as this notion may be for some
    people to entertain.

    Nevertheless, the history of science is replete with instances of
    laymen and scholars alike refusing to entertain, let alone accept, many
    things we now take for granted. For instance, people simply assumed for
    over 1600 years that heavier objects fell faster than lighter objects,
    just as virtually everyone thought that the sun revolved around the
    earth. We can now see how absurd these notions were. But the notion
    that the Earth revolved around sun and was not the center of the
    universe profoundly shocked scholars and laymen alike, because it
    severely threatened presumptions they had been professionally and
    emotionally vested in since Aristotle's time.

    The above was taken from Google's cache. Unfortunately the originating
    site (ethnomycology.com) seems to be completely blank tonight… a
    shame because I would have liked to have read the whole thing. It is by
    no means the only site or author that supports Gimbutas' theories.

    You might say that Campbell was to the Hero what Gimbutas was to the Heroine… so in many ways, they balance each other out.

    BTW the multi-regional origins theory (of humankind) is far from dead
    and discredited, and is even now being re-examined in the light of very
    recent DNA evidence.

    Additional reading I'd recommend is In Search of the Indo-Europeans by J.P. Mallory (available at Amazon).

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