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Creation Myths and Theories of Myth

Provide help with summarizing and applying theories of myth to selected creation myths. Myth & Knowing discusses a variety of theoretical approaches scholars use to better understand mythology. Select three of those theories and summarize them in your own words. Then, compare two creation myths using the theories you summarized to explain how each creation myth functions in the culture in which it is a part. Conclude by reflecting on these theories to help explain the cultural function of myths in general:

Mythology will forever expand in studies during the length of a lifetime. Myths have a sense of truth that is questioned by many. Family legends, history, religion, culture, and arts are realities that uphold mythâ??s and the explanation behind it. â??Like an onion, a myth has many layersâ? (Leonard & McClure, 2004, p. 28) which explains the various stories of symbolism, religious allegories, and beliefs which can possibly be narrowed down to the closest truth of that time. There are varied theories of myth current applied to study a particular myth or story. Scholars use theories to better understand myths. Plato, Euhemeros and Euhemerism, and Adalbert Kuhn are scholars whose theories are discussed through a personal view and compared by two creation myths Out of the Blue and The Popul Vu.

Platoâ??s Rational Myth created a new path for the Greek word mytho by confirming the synonym as false (( Leonard & McClure, 2004, p. 4). Plato validated mythâ??s as â??a form of truthâ? that were philosophical about origins myths, but claimed myths created by people which spoke of Gods and Heroes were false myths (( Leonard & McClure, 2004, p.4). In another sense Plato believed that various stories that do not serve justification or were truth cannot be found are false myths. Concrete locations and origins lead to truth for Plato.

Euhemeros and Euhemerism was firm on science belief versus explanations of history and imagination. Euhemerism did not acknowledge the truth-value for all myths and still questioned exaggeration to previous historic events. â??Euhemeros believed that myths were not true per se but that they contained the kernels of historical truthâ? ( Leonard & McClure, 2004, p.5).

Adalbert Kuhn was influenced by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche which allowed him to view various myths as allegories. Kuhnâ??s approach allowed him to see different views of myths compared to the elements of the earth. As an example â??particularly the rainstorm that bestows fire in the form of lightning and the life-giving elixir of rain which makes all life possibleâ?¦ the stolen gift was fire; sometimes it was the elixir of immortalityâ? (Leonard & McClure, 2004, p. 12).

Leonard, S., & McClure, M. (2004). Myth & knowing: An introduction to world mythology. New York: McGraw-Hill.


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Dear Student,
Hi and thank you for using Brainmass. Since you did not indicate which creation myths you wish to use, I have taken the liberty of choosing them for this solution. If you have any questions about the information provided here, please feel free to let me know via the feedback section and I'll clarify things for you. You can also use the listed online references for additional information. Good luck with your studies.

OTA 105878/Xenia Jones

Theories of Myth

For Leonard & McClure (2004), myths have a 'sense of truth' that is open to questions, criticisms and interpretations. the sense of truth he is talking about here pertains to the ability of mythologies and folklores to mirror the social, historical and cultural experience/evolution of a people and myths often inhibit idealized places of values and virtues due to the many purposes it serves - as reminders of the past, as lessons of values and virtues, as reinforcers of particular ways of thinking and as oral traditions. At present, the function of myth is manifold and McClure points to Herder's (2004) studies in comparative mythology where 'organic mythology' reinforced ideas of self and others, of one's place in the world. McClure warns that while this serves important function in reinforcing cultural ties, it also is risky as it can inflame a kind of ethnocentric racism where otherness is seen as problematic. For this paper, I have chosen the following theories: rational theory of myth, functional theory of myth and psychological theory of myth.

As rational theories, myths are used as devices by which man can explain the cosmos, the world and his place it in. Myth becomes a kind of lens from which one can view the world where it all makes sense according to the social, cultural and environmental context that the myth, as a rational narrative is created. Take for example mythologies explaining the origin night and day, of rain, of the stars, of the sun and moon, of plants and animals, of seasons, of life in general and of a people. They rationalize and explain to those that created and then accepted the myth (here, we can refer to it perhaps as a form of ethnic belief) as the truth and knowledge from which the world can be explained. Creation myths for example are rational theories in that they explain the origins of the world, of life and of man.

As functional theories, myths are narratives serving an important role in a particular social group. Since they teach moral lessons and impart idealized values, virtues and character traits and behavior, myths form the function of social control. As myths are told as faerytales or bedside stories, children ...

Solution Summary

The solution is an extensive 1,775-word narrative that tackles the problem (see above) in relation to creation myths and the theories of myth creation. Using choice creation myths, these theories are applied for analysis to explain the cultural function of the myth and myths in general.In particular 2 creation myths are summarized and then analyzed for this purpose. references are listed for expansion.A word version of the solution is attached for easy download and printing.