Talk:Classical Mythology

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Regarding the "Question" and definition of what a myth is:

The abrupt "question" about Christianity's place towards the bottom is apropros to nothing, and likewise with the segment asking about the factuality of biblical events. That religion, while overwhelmingly popular in some areas, means very little in many countries. In the attempt to keep this kind of article non-specific, which increases its usefulness to people in markedly non-Christian nations or areas, it may be more useful to inquire about religious mythology in general and let the reader fill in the blanks. I won't edit it directly at this time as it appears to be a work in progress anyways.

Remember that Religion X may be unfamiliar or unimportant in other nations. However, most areas do have a Religion X, which in a more generic sense could be referenced without calling out specific names.

Starting[edit source]

I think I'm going to actually start making this course more of a reality; it is currently extremely vague. I'll start with preqs, etc. Verin Sedai 17:42, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

"What is a myth"[edit source]

This is the original way myth was defined:

What is a Myth?[edit source]

The word 'myth' comes to us from the greek word 'mythos' which means, quite simply, a story. For our purposes we will define myth as "a story, assumed to have taken place in the past, whose main function is neither to entertain nor present facts, but rather to inform the listener morally, spiritually, and/or culturally."

Please note that this definition allows a story to be both fictitious AND factual, but in order for a story to qualify as a myth it must have value as a tool of "moral, spiritual, and/or cultural" instruction even if it is perceived as part of the realm of fiction.

Using this definition, the following ARE myths:

  • Stories about the gods of ancient cultures (Roman, Grecian, Egyptian, Mayan etc.)
  • Stories about King Arthur and his Knights
  • Grimm's Fairy Tales
  • Star Wars (A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..)
  • Stories about the life of the Buddha, Christ, Zoroaster, etc.

(Remember! Even if these men really existed and really performed the deed attributed to them, stories about them fall firmly under our definition of myth.)

And this is the way the "alternate" was:

What is a Myth?[edit source]

A myth is a history or fictitious character, whose purpose to explain, in simplistic way, a phenomenon that the listener would not have conditions of understanding case it was explained in its real form Examples: to explain to a child a sexual relationship The myths of the well-known mythologies (Greek, Roman, Hindu) they try to explain those things that the human being (same adult) have not as understanding. Examples: as the Universe was created, as the Man was created, what happens after the death, as it would be the end of the world, and and so on. Thus, for example, biblical Gênesis would be a mythological book about the creation of the world and of the man (Adam and Eva). The Tower of Babel would be a mythological narrative to explain because the people speak different languages. It is interesting to read the Bible under that point of view, without fanaticisms.

Suggestion for an alternative definition of "Myth" (Nannus 20:48, 1 March 2007 (UTC))[edit source]

I suggest a definition that is a bit narrower (and maybe this should be called "religious myth"):

Definition[edit source]

  • a myth is a story
  • it is or was sacred for the members of some culture (religion, group sharing a belief system, denomination, sect, individual, ethnic group, family, clan...)
  • some members of this group believe ore believed it to be factual or historic
  • other people, especially those belonging to other cultures (religions, groups sharing a belief system, denominations, sects, individuals, ethnic groups, families, clans...) do not belive in its factuallity or believe it is fictious.

This definition means:

  • calling one of these stories "fiction" would be offending for the members of the culture believing in it.
  • calling it "fact" would be offending for the members of othter cultures.

Therefore, a third category is introduced called "myth", marking it as

  • a story sacred to some and
  • a story with disputed factuality.

The culture to which the story was sacred may be extinct or still existing and the stories may be written or my be oral traditions.

In an environment where neutral point of view is to be enforced - like Wikipedia (see Wikipedia:NPOV ) - calling such a story fact would violate the NPOV principle in giving the associated belief system a special status and disregarding other belief systems. Calling it fiction would violate the NPOV principle by disregarding the possibility of the truth of its associated belief system. Therefore, to respect all sides and to avoid an NPOV violation, we would talk about such stories as "Myth". Therefore "Myth" in the sense of this definition does not indicate that the story is not fact. It indicates that its status as fact is disputed between cultures and that it is sacred for some.

Examples[edit source]

According to this definition the following examples are myths:

  • Stories about the gods of ancient or present cultures (Roman, Grecian, Egyptian, Mayan, Baluba, Yoruba, Hindu etc.)
  • Stories about the life of the Buddha, Christ, Zoroaster, etc., a long as their factuality is disputed and they are sacred within the context of the associated belief system
  • Religious stories about creation (Creation myths) from the book of Genesis (Hebrew people) or the story of the creation of the world by Kabezya-Mpungu (Baluba people)
  • Stories about the great flood from Genesis and perhaps from the Gilgamesh epic
  • The story of the babel tower from Genesis
  • The story fo the ancestor Abraham from the book of Genesis (Hebrew people) or about the ancestor Ngurangurane (Fang people ) - (ancestral myths)
  • The story that the Japanese emperor is a descendant of the solar goddes Amaterasu
  • What about Ragnarok and the end-of-world myths? They would still be myths by definition right? Dragonzflyte 15:08, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

The following are not myths according to this definition:

  • Stories about King Arthur and his Knights (except the grale story is or was sacred and believed true for some)
  • Grimm's Fairy Tales (although the story of "Frau Holle" might be derived from ancient German mythology)
  • Star Wars (a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..) - definitely just fiction
  • Stories about Eru Ilúvatar, the god in J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional fantasy world Middle-earth (just fiction - fictive mythology)

Which should be used?

I'll put it as a separate lesson anyway. Verin Sedai 02:34, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Removal of Content[edit source]

Users may find useful content in the delitions made by Verin Sedai here. The Jade Knight 20:37, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

Activities/Assignments[edit source]

what kind of things should be added? keeping goals in mind it should probably have something to do with different types of myths -maybe something to do with creating your own realistic myth based on the different characteristics of the myths region, time religions already in place etc.Or would that go under comparitive mythology? Dragonzflyte 22:25, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Title of course and structure[edit source]

I want to develop and use this course for my class on Classical Mythology.

Since the descriptions seem to be about Classical Mythology, the title seems wrong. Can we change it to Introduction to Classical Mythology or just Classical Mythology ?

Unfortunately, this course will require a lot of writing, and I want to make my students do part of it.

I'm trying to find model completed courses for structuring this. Will this one work for us?

Thanks! --Kenmayer (discusscontribs) 14:14, 26 November 2013 (UTC)