Alpha: The Myths of Creation

Alpha: The Myths of Creation

Alpha: The Myths of Creation

Alpha: The Myths of Creation

Excerpt

The study of myth and mythical thinking may form a part of several disciplines, covering the areas of theology, philosophy, psychology, ethnology, and anthropology. It is, however, in the area of the history of religion that the interpretation of myth poses the most crucial problem. While many in the modern world claim that both myth and religion are vestiges of an untutored past, no informed person will deny the importance of these expressions for the study of cultural history. Furthermore, the contemporary discussion centering around the adequacy of myth as a meaningful form of expression for religious experience should be informed by the interpretations which this form of human expression has had in the greater part of history.

Our approach to the problem of myth is that of a historian of religion. It is for this reason that we have thought it wise to begin this introductory chapter with a discussion of the interpretation of the history of religion in the modern period. The other parts of this introduction will treat myth and mythical thinking and myths of crea-

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