Greek Mythology And Religion


Mythology is the study and interpretation of myth and the body of myths of a particular culture. Myth is a complex cultural phenomenon that can be approached from a number of viewpoints. In general, myth is a narrative that describes and portrays in symbolic language the origin of the basic elements and assumptions of a culture. Mythic narrative relates, for example, how the world began, how humans and animals were created, and how certain customs, gestures, or forms of human activities originated. Almost all cultures possess or at one time possessed and lived in terms of myths.
Myths differ from fairy tales in that they refer to a time that is different from ordinary. The time sequence of ...

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and a history of controversy has gathered about both the value and the status of mythology.

Myth, History, and Reason

In the Greek heritage of the West, myth or mythos has always been in tension with reason or logos, which signified the sensible and analytic mode of arriving at a true account of reality. The Greek philosophers Xenophanes, Plato, and Aristotle, for example, exalted reason and made sarcastic criticisms of myth as a proper way of knowing reality.

The distinctions between reason and myth and between myth and history, although essential, were never quite absolute. Aristotle concluded that in some of the early Greek creation myths, logos and mythos overlapped. Plato used myths as metaphors and also as literary devices in developing an argument.

Western Mythical Traditions

The debate over whether myth, reason, or history best expresses the meaning of the reality of the gods, humans, and nature has continued in Western culture as a legacy from its earliest ...

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received its definitive form. Some divinities were either introduced or developed more fully at a later date, but in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey the major Olympian gods appear in substantially the forms they retained until paganism ceased to exist. Homer usually is considered responsible for the highly developed personifications of the gods and the comparative rationalism that characterized Greek religious thought. In general Greek gods were divided into those of heaven, earth, and sea; frequently, however, the gods governing the earth and sea constituted a single category.

Principal Divinities

The celestial gods were thought to dwell in the sky or on Mount Olympus in Thessaly. The ...

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Added: 7/8/2008 07:49:36 AM
Category: American History
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1856
Pages: 7

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