Parallel Myths

Front Cover
Random House Publishing Group, Jun 16, 2010 - Fiction - 368 pages
“Unusually accessible and useful . . . An eye-opener to readers into the universality and importance of myth in human history and culture.”—William E. Paden, Chair, Department of Religion, University of Vermont

For as long as human beings have had language, they have had myths. Mythology is our earliest form of literary expression and the foundation of all history and morality. Now, in Parallel Myths, classical scholar J. F. Bierlein gathers the key myths from all of the world's major traditions and reveals their common themes, images, and meanings.

Parallel Myths introduces us to the star players in the world's great myths—not only the twelve Olympians of Greek mythology, but the stern Norse Pantheon, the mysterious gods of India, the Egyptian Ennead, and the powerful deities of Native Americans, the Chinese, and the various cultures of Africa and Oceania. Juxtaposing the most potent stories and symbols from each tradition, Bierlein explores the parallels in such key topics as creation myths, flood myths, tales of love, morality myths, underworld myths, and visions of the Apocalypse. Drawing on the work of Joseph Campbell, Mircea Eliade, Carl Jung, Karl Jaspers, Claude Lévi-Strauss, and others, Bierlein also contemplates what myths mean, how to identify and interpret the parallels in myths, and how mythology has influenced twentieth-century psychology, philosophy, anthropology, and literary studies.

“A first-class introduction to mythology . . . Written with great clarity and sensitivity.”—John G. Selby, Associate Professor, Roanoke College
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ddailey - LibraryThing

Side by side excerpts of parallel myths from across the globe organized by topic. Good for an introduction / survey. Interpretive text is a bit dry. Read full review

Myths explained

User Review  - Lisbeth R. - Overstock.com

Marvelous reading and recommend that others order it Read full review

Contents

The Cast of Characters
24
THE MYTHS
34
The Earliest Times
91
The Flood Myths
121
Greek and Roman Love Myths
136
Morality Tales from the Myths
155
Four Parallel Stories
171
Some Brief Myths of the Hero
179
The EndVisi0ns of the Apocalypse
237
THE MODERN READINGS OF MYTH 255
256
Parallel Myths and Ways of Interpreting Them
267
MythYours Mine and Ours
304
NOTES
327
BIBLIOGRAPHY
333
INDEX
339
155
347

The Journey to the Underworld and the Path of Death
200

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About the author (2010)

The author of Parallel Myths and The Book of Ages, J. F. Bierlein teaches in the Washington Semester and World Capitals Program at American University in Washington, and also works for a social sciences consulting firm. Multilingual, he is deeply interested in theology, existentialism, art, opera, and the study of classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Hebrew, as well as other languages. Professor Bierlein and his wife, Heather Diehl, live in northern Virginia.

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