An Approach To Myth


by Marcelline Krafchick, Ph.D.

Hardback with dj / $20.00 / ISBN-13: 978-1-58790-202-4 / xvi + 135 pages / 5.5” x 8.5”


Mythology / Religion / Folklore / Belief


For journalists and advertisers, “myth” is what people often have the poor judgment to believe, and informed people will want to debunk. But if we regard myth as the story element in religions, we see how it dramatizes and fosters a culture’s cherished truths. Early mythologists safely eviscerated belief-stories of their sacred meaning, but anthropology, ethnology, and religious studies have advanced the discourse on myth from judgments of “primitive savages” toward greater regard for commonalities between less familiar and major religions. This book offers a productive means for scholars and teachers to deal with the vast range of worldwide belief stories—Ashanti to Hindu, Christian to Navajo. It shows how three interconnected components of belief-systems—Doctrine, Story (myth), and Ritual—reinforce one another to carry forward values that identify and cohere a society, and to reassure its members that there is order in the cosmos, within which they have significance. It should not be so striking that myths have features in common as that mythmaking (mythopoesis) is universal. With an emphasis on the triad of belief-system components, the book distinguishes myth from other narrative forms, considers its sources, and probes story-telling skills and politics in classical mythological literature.


Marcelline Krafchick is Professor Emerita of English at California State University, East Bay, where she taught mythology, literature, film criticism, and discursive writing for thirty-five years, after three years in the Honors Program as Santa Clara University’s first woman professor. A Fulbright scholar, she has traveled, lectured, and/or lived abroad in sixty-three countries and served on five city, county, and state commissions.




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