Myth is a type of traditional narrative that answers some of a culture’s most basic questions about life and questions about the way the culture creates its identity. Because of the importance of the questions that myth answers, myths are carefully preserved and transmitted from one generation to new members of the culture in the next generation. This course will explore some of the most important types of myth including cosmogonic myth (creation stories), culture hero myths, and trickster myths. Myths contain a variety of meanings and so students will learn to apply a variety of hermeneutic (interpretive) approaches to the myths we study. These approaches and techniques will examine the relationships between myth and nature, myth and ritual, myth and the psyche, and myth and society. In this course, students will study myths from Japan, China, India, Africa, Babylonia, Greece, and the Middle East.
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