Start your review of Parallel Myths Write a review Mar 04, John rated it liked it I was greatly looking forward to re-reading this book for a book club and I was somewhat letdown. I am a bit of a student of mythology so I was quite excited to find a book that purported to draw on the work of Joseph Campbell, C. Jung, and Mircea Eliade. I found this book useful as a broad survey of censored myths. It is an easy and enjoyable read.
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Parallel Myths Ballantine, My fascination with mythology started early, around fourth grade, I think. I eventually discovered Joseph Campbell and, since then, he has been the standard by which I compare all research on the topic of mythology. Bierlein opens his book by dismissing some commonly held beliefs about the meaning of the word "myth" thus providing a great example of the current definition supported by the media and establishes some general statements about the term.
Bierlein then examines the relationship between myth and language, time, history, civics and morality. He provides examples of the infusion and evolution of mythic figures and terms in our everyday lives, thereby emphasizing the importance of myth to the human experience.
Parallel Myths does just what its title claims to do: it gathers myths from numerous cultures and groups them according to dominant themes. Bierlein delves into his comparisons by first introducing us to the "cast of characters" -- the major gods and goddesses of Greek, Roman, Norse, Egyptian and Indian mythologies, as well as deities from Native Americans, the Chinese and various African and Oceanic cultures. The myths are divided into content-based groupings, such as creation myths, flood myths, hero myths and destruction myths.
Bierlein draws on passages by noted mythology scholars to reinforce his claim that mythology plays an essential role in our current societies. Bierlein also examines the demytholization of the Judeo-Christian culture and the "religious" myths. Parallel Myths is an informative, well-written, and easily accessible tool for anyone interested in exploring the status of "myth" in modern society. It offers a valuable comparison of myths and deities and a thoughtful consideration of the ways in which myth can enrich our daily lives.
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Parallel Myths by J F Bierlein