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Demonstrations of the problems that primitive Christians had with their Jewish compatriots and forebears (the New Testament has several equations of “myth” with “Jewish concepts”) generally help more neutral audiences to understand some of the hostility that led to early-Christian burning of the great Alexandrian collection of all remaining Greek manuscripts because they were mythic and hence “anti-Christian.” Modern and contemporary anthropological evaluations of the mythic include Bronislaw Malinowski’s (1884–1942) emphasis upon myth as an active social force and Claude Lévi-Strauss’s proposals that myths represent attempts to resolve philosophical dialectics between—ultimately— being and nonbeing.Yet it is perhaps an open question whether or not myths really resolve the ancient Zoroastrian dichotomies reflected in the Hebraic prophetic contrast between human inclinations toward good or evil.This has been the dominant position within myth studies, as represented in the title of a collection of essays edited by the American folklorist Alan Dundes (1934–2005), (1984).
Such a dimension represents various options in cultures that are seldom still regarded today as formative and revisionary, yet continue to ferment like dreams and visions, revolutionary modes of imaging.
Hence, there are so many instances of mythical stories of transformations and changes, metamorphoses and apocalyptic endings, as well as recourses to originary energies of beginnings, the recountings of which still have the affective-effective power to motivate and stimulate change.
The concept of “the secular” is established precisely as “the profane” (literally the temple walls) in highly religious societies.
Yet increasingly, less-religious Western peoples have begun to notice that “the religious” actually represents, at most, some selective enclaves, and that “the secular” (the term means, etymologically, only “of this age, contemporary”) is the primary source of experience for most people in our era.
Accordingly, adolescents may deconstruct mythic heroes during the transitions from the sixth to the twelfth grade.
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Myths have often been labeled as “sacred,” or at least as essential parts of the religio-ritual-scriptural complexes of religious institutions.
The “mythical” came to be considered less important than the “logical,” and the history of Western science was off and running with Aristotle (384–322 BCE).
In the Roman period, largely due to excesses of allegorical interpretation, ), named such traditional mythological stories—and then later the Christian apologists sought to show that the Christ myths were superior to the traditional Western stories (even though their artists repeatedly created early Christian images using the traditional heroic models).
Mythological materials can be seedbeds of new metaphors for comprehending and changing societies, providing perspectival ways of seeing that are constantly changing images of possible realizations of communal, artistic, and individual growth and fulfillment. ” speech, for example, had a powerful mythico-political force.
Notably, myths can fund prospects for the future derived from the traditions of the past, as they lubricate the transitions and initiations that fine-tune social interactions and provide the symbols of communication.