Jump to content

Comparative mythology

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Comparative Mythology)

Comparative mythology is the comparison of myths from different cultures in an attempt to identify shared themes and characteristics.[1] Comparative mythology has served a variety of academic purposes. For example, scholars have used the relationships between different myths to trace the development of religions and cultures, to propose common origins for myths from different cultures, and to support various psychoanalytical theories.

The comparative study of mythologies reveals the trans-national motifs that unify spiritual understanding globally. The significance of this study generates a "broad, sympathetic understanding of these 'stories' in human history".[2] The similarities of myths remind humanity of the universality in the human experience.[2]


Anthropologist C. Scott Littleton defined comparative mythology as "the systematic comparison of myths and mythic themes drawn from a wide variety of cultures".[1] By comparing different cultures' mythologies, scholars try to identify underlying similarities and/or to reconstruct a "protomythology" from which those mythologies developed.[1] To an extent, all theories about mythology follow a comparative approach—as scholar of religion Robert Segal notes, "by definition, all theorists seek similarities among myths".[3] However, scholars of mythology can be roughly divided into particularists, who emphasize the differences between myths, and comparativists, who emphasize the similarities. Particularists tend to "maintain that the similarities deciphered by comparativists are vague and superficial", while comparativists tend to "contend that the differences etched by particularists are trivial and incidental".[4]

Comparative approaches to mythology held great popularity among eighteenth- and nineteenth-century scholars. Many of these scholars believed that all myths showed signs of having evolved from a thought which interpreted nearly all myths as poetic descriptions of the sun's behavior. According to this theory, these poetic descriptions had become distorted over time into seemingly diverse stories about gods and heroes.[5] However, modern-day scholars lean more toward particularism, feeling suspicious of broad statements about myths.[6] A recent exception is the historical approach followed in E.J. Michael Witzel's reconstruction of many subsequent layers of older myths.[7][non-primary source needed]


Comparative mythologists come from various fields, including folklore, literature, history, linguistics, and religious studies, and they have used a variety of methods to compare myths.


Some scholars look at the linguistic relationships between the myths of different cultures. For example, the similarities between the names of gods in different cultures. One particularly successful example of this approach is the study of Indo-European mythology. Scholars have found striking similarities between the mythological and religious terms used in different cultures of Europe and India. For example, the Greek sky-god Zeus Pater, the Roman sky-god Jupiter, and the Indian (Vedic) sky-god Dyauṣ Pitṛ have linguistically identical names.

This suggests that the Greeks, Romans, and Indians originated from a common ancestral culture, and that the names Zeus, Jupiter, Dyaus and the Germanic Tiu (cf. English Tues-day) evolved from an older name, *Dyēus ph2ter, which referred to the sky-god or, to give an English cognate, the divine father in a Proto-Indo-European religion.[8] An approach which is both historical and comparative was recently proposed by E.J. Michael Witzel.[7] He compares collections of mythologies and reconstructs increasingly older levels, parallel to but not necessarily dependent on language families. The most prominent common feature is a storyline that extends from the creation of the world and of humans to their end. This feature is found in the northern mythologies of Eurasia and the Americas ("Laurasia") while it is missing in the southern mythologies of Subsaharan Africa, New Guinea and Australia ("Gondwanaland").

Mythological phylogenies also are a potentially powerful way to test hypotheses about cross-cultural relationships among folktales.[9]


Some scholars look for underlying structures shared by different myths. The folklorist Vladimir Propp proposed that many Russian fairy tales have a common plot structure, in which certain events happen in a predictable order.[10] In contrast, the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss examined the structure of a myth in terms of the abstract relationships between its elements, rather than their order in the plot. In particular, Lévi-Strauss believed that the elements of a myth could be organized into binary oppositions (raw vs. cooked, nature vs. culture, etc.). He thought that the myth's purpose was to "mediate" these oppositions, thereby resolving basic tensions or contradictions found in human life or culture.[11]


Some scholars propose that myths from different cultures reveal the same, or similar, psychoanalytic forces at work in those cultures. Some Freudian thinkers have identified stories similar to the Greek story of Oedipus in many different cultures. They argue that these stories reflect the different expressions of the Oedipus complex in those cultures.[12] Likewise, Jungians have identified images, themes, and patterns that appear in the myths of many different cultures. They believe that these similarities result from archetypes present in the unconscious levels of every person's mind.[13]


The Deluge, frontispiece to Gustave Doré's illustrated edition of the Bible. Based on the story of Noah's Ark, this engraving shows humans and a tiger doomed by the flood futilely attempting to save their children and cubs.

Creation of the earthly realm[edit]

A creation myth (or cosmogonic myth) is a symbolic narrative of how the world began and how people first came to inhabit it. While in popular usage the term myth often refers to false or fanciful stories, members of cultures often ascribe varying degrees of truth to their creation myths. In the society in which it is told, a creation myth is usually regarded as conveying profound truths – metaphorically, symbolically, historically, or literally. They are commonly, although not always, considered cosmogonical myths – that is, they describe the ordering of the cosmos from a state of chaos or amorphousness.

Creation myths often share a number of features. They often are considered sacred accounts and can be found in nearly all known religious traditions. They are all stories with a plot and characters who are either deities, human-like figures, or animals, who often speak and transform easily. They are often set in a dim and nonspecific past that historian of religion Mircea Eliade termed in illo tempore ('at that time'). Creation myths address questions deeply meaningful to the society that shares them, revealing their central worldview and the framework for the self-identity of the culture and individual in a universal context.

Creation myths develop in oral traditions and therefore typically have multiple versions; found throughout human culture, they are the most common form of myth.

Primordial Chaos[edit]

Chaos (Ancient Greek: χάος, romanized: kháos) (aka Primordial Chaos, Primordial Void) is the mythological void state preceding the creation of the universe (the cosmos) in Greek creation myths. In Christian theology, the same term is used to refer to the gap or the abyss created by the separation of heaven and earth. In Norse mythology, Ginnungagap (old Norse: [ˈɡinːoŋɡɑˌɡɑp]; "gaping abyss", "yawning void") is the primordial void mentioned in the Gylfaginning, the Eddaic text recording Norse cosmogony.

Creation of mankind from clay[edit]

The creation of man from clay is a theme that recurs throughout numerous world religions and mythologies.

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Enkidu is created by the goddess Aruru out of clay. In Greek mythology, Prometheus molded men out of water and earth. Per the Hebrew Bible, (Genesis 2:7) "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul". In Hindu mythology, the mother of Ganesh, Parvati, made Ganesh from her skin. In Chinese mythology (see Chu Ci and Imperial Readings of the Taiping Era), Nüwa molded figures from the yellow earth, giving them life and the ability to bear children.

First Humans[edit]

A protoplast, from ancient Greek πρωτόπλαστος (prōtóplastos, "first-formed"), in a religious context initially referred to the first human or, more generally, to the first organized body of progenitors of mankind in a creation myth.

Numerous examples exist throughout history of a human couple being the progenitors of the entire human species. This would include, but not limited to Adam and Eve of Abrahamism, Ask and Embla of Norse mythology, and Fuxi and Nüwa from Chinese mythos.

In Hindu mythology, Manu refers to the archetypal man. In Sanskrit the term for 'human', मानव (IAST: mānava) means 'of Manu' or 'children of Manu'. The Manusmriti is an ancient legal text and constitution among the many Dharmaśāstras of Hinduism and is believed to be a discourse given by Manu.

Acquisition of fire for the benefit of humanity[edit]

The theft of fire for the benefit of humanity is a theme that recurs in many world mythologies. A few examples include: in Greek mythology, according to Hesiod, the Titan Prometheus steals the heavenly fire for humanity, enabling the progress of civilization. In the Book of Enoch, the fallen angels and Azazel teach early humanity use of tools and fire. Per the ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns, the Rigveda (3:9.5), speaks of a hero Mātariśvan who recovered fire which had been hidden from humanity.

Flood myth[edit]

Cultures around the world tell stories about a great flood.[14] In many cases, the flood leaves only one survivor or group of survivors. For example, both the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh and the Hebrew Bible tell of a global flood that wiped out humanity and of a man who saved the Earth's species by taking them aboard a boat.[15] Similar stories of a single flood survivor appear in Hindu mythology where Manu saves the Earth from the deluge by building an ark[16] as well as Greek, Norse mythology, Inca mythology and Aztec mythology.[17] The flood narratives, spanning across different traditions such as Mesopotamian, Hebrew, Islamic, and Hindu, reveal striking similarities in their core elements, including divine warnings, ark construction, and the preservation of righteousness, highlighting the universal themes that thread through diverse religious beliefs.[18]

Dying god[edit]

Ancient Sumerian cylinder seal impression showing the god Dumuzid being tortured in the Underworld by galla demons

Many myths feature a god who dies and who often returns to life.[19] Such myths are particularly common in Near Eastern mythologies.[20] The anthropologist Sir James Frazer compared these dying god myths in his multi-volume work The Golden Bough. The Egyptian god Osiris and the Mesopotamian god Tammuz are examples of the dying god, while the Greek myths of Adonis (though a mortal) has often been compared to Osiris and the myths of Zagreus and Dionysos also feature both death and rebirth.[21] Some scholars have noted similarities between polytheistic stories of dying gods and the Christian story of Jesus of Nazareth.[22]

Creative sacrifice[edit]

Many cultures have stories about divine figures whose death creates an essential part of reality.[23][24] These myths seem especially common among cultures that grow crops, particularly tubers.[25] One such myth from the Wemale people of Seram Island, Indonesia, tells of a miraculously conceived girl named Hainuwele, whose murdered corpse sprouts into the people's staple food crops.[26] The Chinese myth of Pangu,[27] the Indian Vedic myth of Purusha,[28] and the Norse myth of Ymir all tell of a cosmic giant who is killed to create the world.[23]

Axis mundi[edit]

Many mythological beliefs mention a place that sits at the center of the world and acts as a point of contact between different levels of the universe.[29] This axis mundi is often marked by a sacred tree or other mythical object. For example, many myths describe a great tree or pillar joining heaven, earth, and the underworld.[30] Vedic India, ancient China, Mayans, Incas and the Germanic peoples all had myths featuring a Cosmic Tree whose branches reach heaven and whose roots reach hell.[31] The ancient Greeks believed in the centre of the universe - Delphi, where a prophetic oracle lived. The story goes that Zeus, king of gods released two birds in opposite directions to fly around the world. The place they met was Delphi.

Deus otiosus[edit]

Many cultures believe in a celestial supreme being who has cut off contact with humanity. Historian Mircea Eliade calls this supreme being a deus otiosus (an "idle god"),[32] although this term is also used more broadly, to refer to any god who does not interact regularly with humans. In many myths, the Supreme Being withdraws into the heavens after the creation of the world.[33] Baluba mythology features such a story, in which the supreme god withdraws from the earth, leaving man to search for him.[34] Similarly, the mythology of the Hereros tells of a sky god who has abandoned mankind to lesser divinities.[35] In the mythologies of highly complex cultures, the supreme being tends to disappear completely, replaced by a strong polytheistic belief system.[36] In Greek mythology, "Chaos", the creator of the universe, disappears after creating primordial deities such as Gaea (Earth), Uranus (Sky), Pontus (Water) and Tartarus (Hell), among others.


The Fall of the Titans (1596–98) by Cornelis Cornelisz van Haarlem

Many cultures have a creation myth in which a group of younger, more civilized gods conquers and/or struggles against a group of older gods. In Hindu mythology, the younger devas (gods) battle the older asuras (demons).[37] In the Greek myth of the Titanomachy, the Olympian gods defeat the Titans, an older and more primitive divine race, and establish cosmic order.[37][38]


Associated with many mythological hero stories, giants (from Latin and Ancient Greek: gigas, cognate Gaia/Gaea) are beings of human appearance, but of prodigious size and strength common in the mythology and legends of many different cultures. In various Indo-European mythologies, gigantic peoples are featured as primeval creatures associated with chaos and the wild nature, and they are frequently in conflict with the gods, be they Olympian, Celtic, Hindu or Norse. Giants also often play similar roles in the mythologies and folklore of other, non Indo-European peoples, such as in the Nartian traditions, along with the Quinametzin of Aztec mythology.

There are also accounts of giants in the Hebrew Bible. Some of these are called Nephilim, a word often translated as giant although this translation is not universally accepted. They include Og King of Bashan, the Nephilim, the Anakim, and the giants of Egypt mentioned in 1 Chronicles 11:23. The first mention of the Nephilim is found in Genesis 6:4; attributed to them are extraordinary strength and physical proportions.

Dragons and serpents[edit]

Usually large to gigantic, serpent-like legendary creatures that appear in the folklore of many cultures around the world. Beliefs about dragons vary drastically by region, but dragons in western cultures since the High Middle Ages have often been depicted as winged, horned, four-legged, and capable of breathing fire, whereas dragons in eastern cultures are usually depicted as wingless, four-legged, serpentine creatures with above-average intelligence.


One on one epic battles between these beasts are noted throughout many cultures. Typically they consist of a hero or god battling a single to polycephalic dragon. The motif of Chaoskampf (German: [ˈkaːɔsˌkampf]; lit.'struggle against chaos') is ubiquitous in myth and legend, depicting a battle of a culture hero deity with a chaos monster, often in the shape of a sea serpent or dragon. A few notable examples include: Zeus vs. Typhon and Hercules vs. the Lernaean Hydra, both of which are from Greek mythology, Thor vs. Jörmungandr of Norse mythology, Indra vs. Vritra of Indian mythology, Ra vs. Apep of Egyptian mythology, Yahweh vs. Leviathan of Judeo-Christian mythology, and Yu the Great vs. Xiangliu of Chinese mythology. Many other examples exist worldwide.


Originating in ancient Egyptian iconography, the Ouroboros or uroborus is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail. The Ouroboros entered western tradition via Greek magical tradition.

In Norse mythology, the Ouroboros appears as the serpent Jörmungandr, one of the three children of Loki and Angrboda, which grew so large that it could encircle the world and grasp its tail in its teeth.

In the Aitareya Brahmana, a Vedic text of the early 1st millennium BCE, the nature of the Vedic rituals is compared to "a snake biting its own tail."

It is a common belief among indigenous people of the tropical lowlands of South America that waters at the edge of the world-disc are encircled by a snake, often an anaconda, biting its own tail.


The sheyd אַשְמְדּאָי (Ašmodai) in bird-like form, with typical rooster feet, as depicted in Compendium rarissimum totius Artis Magicae 1775

Jinn, invisible creatures in early pre-Islamic Arabia and later in Islamic culture and beliefs,[39] have been compared to earlier Jewish and Christian ideas of supernatural beings or preternatural creatures, especially those of angels, spirits, and demons. One question has concerned the degree to Quranic jinn might be compared to fallen angels in Christian traditions, although issues with this view are that jinn are not identified as "angels" and that descriptions of angels do not involve their flying up the sky to eavesdrop on heavenly secrets (unlike jinn who do so in the 72nd Surah of the Quran, al-Jinn).[40] Instead, scholar Patricia Crone points to the demons of the Testament of Solomon who are subdued by Solomon and describe their activity of ascending to the firmament and stars where they eavesdrop on heavenly secrets. Still lacking is the repulsion of these eavesdropping spirits by heavenly defense mechanisms found in Islam; here, Crone draws attention to Zoroastrian cosmology where both eavesdropping activities of demons and heavenly defense systems against them are combined.[40] Similar statements are also found in the Talmud (Berakhot 18b) and the 8th-century Scolion of Theodore bar Konai.[41]

Counterparts to Quranic jinn have been identified in the Book of Jubilees, especially in its Ethiopic recension. Jubilees depicts spirits (distinct from angels) who act in a morally ambivalent manner, sometimes aiding, and other times causing harm to humans. Among other points of similarity, these spirits and jinn are created by God, associated with fire, have a leader (Quranic Iblis; Mastema in Jubilees), and suffer a similar fate.[42] Jinn have also been compared to preternatural beings called gny' in inscriptions from Palmyra[43] as well as broader late antique demonologies.[44]

Shedim, supernatural creatures mentioned twice in the Tanakh, at Psalm 106:37 and Deuteronomy 32:17, have been compared to jinn.[45] For example, the story of Solomon being replaced by the evil jinn-king is well known in both Quranic exegesis and the Talmud.[46]

Other similarities between Jewish and Muslim tradition include that of ritual exorcism and negotiations with these beings (including asking for their religion, sex, name, and intention). The treatment of possession by jinn (jnun, shedim, etc.) differs from that of traditional Jewish cure of spirit possession associated with ghosts (Dybbuk).[47]

Founding myths[edit]

Ancient Roman relief from the Cathedral of Maria Saal showing the infant twins Romulus and Remus being suckled by a she-wolf

Many cultures have myths describing the origin of their customs, rituals, and identity. In fact, ancient and traditional societies have often justified their customs by claiming that their gods or mythical heroes established those customs.[48][49] For example, according to the myths of the Australian Karajarri, the mythical Bagadjimbiri brothers established all of the Karadjeri's customs, including the position in which they stand while urinating.[50] In the Old Testament, the Israelites have a founding myth of their ancestors escaping enslavement from Egypt.

Structure of hero narratives[edit]

Folklorists such as Antti Aarne (Aarne-Thompson classification systems), Joseph Campbell (monomyth) and Georges Polti (The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations) have created structured reference systems to identify connections between myths from different cultures and regions. Some comparative mythologists look for similarities only among hero stories within a specific geographical or ethnic range. For example, the Austrian scholar Johann Georg von Hahn tried to identify a common structure underlying Aryan hero stories.[51]

Human cannibalism[edit]

Human cannibalism features in the myths, folklore, and legends of many cultures and is most often attributed to evil characters or as extreme retribution for some wrongdoing. Examples include Lamia of Greek mythology, a woman who became a child-eating monster after her children were destroyed by Hera, upon learning of her husband Zeus' trysts. In Zuni mythology and religion, Átahsaia is a giant cannibalistic demon, feeding on fellow demons and humans alike. He is depicted as having unblinking bulging eyes, long talons, and yellow tusks that protruded past his lips. The myth of Baxbaxwalanuksiwe, in Hamatsa society of the Kwakwaka'wakw indigenous tribe, tells of a man-eating giant, who lives in a strange house with red smoke emanating from its roof.

Astrological traditions, types, and systems[edit]

Most human civilizations - India, China, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Maya, and Inca, among others - based their culture on complex systems of astrology, which provided a link between the cosmos with the conditions and events on earth. For these, the astrological practice was not mere divination because it also served as the foundation for their spiritual culture and knowledge-systems used for practical purposes such as the calendar (see Mesoamerican calendric shamans) and medicine (e.g. I Ching).

Closely tying in with Astrology, various zodiac systems and constellations have existed since antiquity. For the zodiac, the Mazzaroth, Chinese Zodiac, and Hindu Zodiac are examples. The origins of the earliest constellations likely go back to prehistory. People used them to relate stories of their beliefs, experiences, creation, or mythology. Different cultures and countries adopted their own constellations, some of which lasted into the early 20th century before today's constellations were internationally recognized.

Orbis Alius (other earth/world)[edit]

The concept of an otherworld in historical Indo-European religion is reconstructed in comparative mythology. Its name is a calque of orbis alius (Latin for "other Earth/world"), a term used by Lucan in his description of the Celtic Otherworld.

Comparable religious, mythological or metaphysical concepts, such as a realm of supernatural beings and a realm of the dead, are found in cultures throughout the world. Spirits are thought to travel between worlds, or layers of existence in such traditions, usually along an axis such as a giant tree, a tent pole, a river, a rope or mountains. In Greek mythology, after death, people either go to Tartarus or Elysium while the Norse believed in going to either Valhalla, Folkvangr, or Helheim.


The underworld is the supernatural world of the dead in various religious traditions and myths, located below the world of the living. Chthonic is the technical adjective for things of the underworld.

The concept of an underworld is found in almost every civilization and "may be as old as humanity itself". Common features of underworld myths are accounts of living people making journeys to the underworld, often for some heroic purpose. Other myths reinforce traditions that entrance of souls to the underworld requires a proper observation of ceremony, such as the ancient Greek story of the recently dead Patroclus haunting Achilles until his body could be properly buried for this purpose. Persons having social status were dressed and equipped in order to better navigate the underworld.

Plane (esotericism)[edit]

In esoteric cosmology, a plane is conceived as a subtle state, level, or region of reality, each plane corresponding to some type, kind, or category of being. Also known as a plane or realm of existence.

The concept may be found in religious and esoteric teachings—e.g. Vedanta (Advaita Vedanta), Ayyavazhi, shamanism, Hermeticism, Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, Kashmir Shaivism, Sant Mat/Surat Shabd Yoga, Sufism, Druze, Kabbalah, Theosophy, Anthroposophy, Rosicrucianism (Esoteric Christian), Eckankar, Ascended Master Teachings, etc.—which propound the idea of a whole series of subtle planes or worlds or dimensions which, from a center, interpenetrate themselves and the physical planet in which we live, the solar systems, and all the physical structures of the universe. This interpenetration of planes culminates in the universe itself as a physical structured, dynamic and evolutive expression emanated through a series of steadily denser stages, becoming progressively more material and embodied.

Norse cosmology encompasses concepts from Norse mythology, such as notions of time and space, cosmogony, personifications, anthropogeny, and eschatology. Topics include Yggdrasil, an immense and central sacred tree along with the nine worlds, including Asgard, and Midgard.

The happy hunting ground is a concept of the afterlife associated with Native Americans in the United States.[1] The phrase possibly originated with Anglo-Saxon settlers interpretation of their respective description.

Afterlife (including Reincarnation)[edit]

In numerous mythologies and religions, and thus tying within the Orbis Alius motif proper is the concept of an afterlife, wherein a purported existence by which the essential part of an individual's identity or their stream of consciousness continues to exist after the death of their physical body.

End of The World[edit]

Many myths mention an "End of the world (civilization)" event, wherein a final battle between good and evil takes place to create a new world, and/or a total cataclysmic event will usher an end to humanity (see Extinction event, aka ELE). Ragnarök shows the end of the world in Norse mythology. In Hindu mythology, the end of the Kali yug predicts the end of the world when the final avatar of Vishnu comes to cleanse the Earth. Armageddon, the site of the final battle as accorded by the Book of Revelation.

The 2012 phenomenon was a range of eschatological beliefs that cataclysmic or transformative events would occur on or around 21 December 2012, pursuant to the end-date of a 5,126-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar (aka Mayan calendar).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Littleton, p. 32
  2. ^ a b Golden, Kenneth L. (1992). USES OF COMPARATIVE MYTHOLOGY: Essays on the Work of Joseph Campbell. London & New York: Routledge. pp. 6–7.
  3. ^ Segal, "The Romantic Appeal of Joseph Campbell"
  4. ^ Segal, Theorizing About Myth, p. 148
  5. ^ Leonard
  6. ^ Northup, p. 8
  7. ^ a b E.J.M. Witzel, "The Origins of the World's Mythologies, New York : OUP 2012
  8. ^ Watkins 47–48
  9. ^ Ross and al. 2013; Tehrani 2013.
  10. ^ Propp, passim
  11. ^ Lévi-Strauss, p. 224
  12. ^ Johnson and Price-Williams, passim
  13. ^ Graves, p. 251
  14. ^ Segal, untitled, p. 88
  15. ^ Woolley, p. 52
  16. ^ Dimmitt and van Buitenen, pp. 71–74
  17. ^ Urton, p. 36
  18. ^ Anzer Ayoob (1 September 2023). "Exploring Parallels between Noah in Abrahamic Traditions and Manu in Hinduism: A Comparative Analysis". International Journal of Research Publication and Reviews. 4 (9). Genesis Global Publication: 2919–2925. doi:10.55248/gengpi.4.923.92514. ISSN 2582-7421. Retrieved 29 September 2023.
  19. ^ Frankfort, passim; Tortchinov, passim
  20. ^ Campbell, The Masks of God, p. 44
  21. ^ Frankfort, p. 141
  22. ^ Robertson, passim
  23. ^ a b Eliade, Cosmos and History, p. 20
  24. ^ Eliade, Myth and Reality, pp. 99–100
  25. ^ Eliade, Myth and Reality, p. 100
  26. ^ Eliade, Myth and Reality, pp. 104–5
  27. ^ Railsback, passim
  28. ^ Rig Veda 10:90
  29. ^ Eliade, Images and Symbols, p. 40
  30. ^ Eliade, Shamanism, p. 259–260
  31. ^ Eliade, Images and Symbols, p. 44
  32. ^ Eliade, Myth and Reality, p. 93
  33. ^ Eliade, Myth and Reality, p. 93–98
  34. ^ Leslau, passim
  35. ^ Eliade, Myth and Reality, p. 94
  36. ^ Eliade, Myths, Dreams and Mysteries, p. 138
  37. ^ a b Squire, p. 47
  38. ^ Hesiod, especially pp. 64–87
  39. ^ Hans Daiber. "Introduction, text, and commentary". Islamic Concept of Belief in the 4th/10th Century. Abu l-Lait as-Samarqandi's commentary on Abu Hanifa (died 150/767) al-Fiqh al-absat. By as-Samarqandi, Abu l-Lait. Studia Culturae Islamicae (in Arabic and English). Vol. 52. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. p. 243. OCLC 35600707.
  40. ^ a b Crone, Patricia (2016). "QS 32 Q 37:6–11: Crone". In Azaiez, Mehdi; Reynolds, Gabriel Said; Tesei, Tommaso; Zafer, Hamza M. (eds.). The Qur'an Seminar Commentary / Le Qur'an Seminar: A Collaborative Study of 50 Qur'anic Passages / Commentaire collaboratif de 50 passages coraniques (in French and English) (bilingual ed.). De Gruyter. pp. 307–310. ISBN 9783110444797. ISBN 3110444798
  41. ^ Decharneux 2023, p. 227–228.
  42. ^ Falconer, Joshua (2019). "Familiar spirits in the Qurʾān: retracing the origins of the jinn". Henoch. 41 (2). ISSN 0393-6805.
  43. ^ Grasso, Valentina A. (2023). "Historicizing Ontologies: Qur'ānic Preternatural Creatures between Ancient Topoi and Emerging Traditions". Journal of Late Antiquity. 16 (1): 162–163. doi:10.1353/jla.2023.0007. ISSN 1942-1273.
  44. ^ Sinai 2023, p. 183–186.
  46. ^ Lebling 2010, p. 120.
  47. ^ Bilu, Yoram. "The Moroccan Demon in Israel: The Case of 'Evil Spirit Disease.'" Ethos, vol. 8, no. 1, 1980, pp. 24–39. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/640134. Accessed 21 Apr. 2023.
  48. ^ Eliade, Cosmos and History, pp. 21–34
  49. ^ Eliade, Myth and Reality, pp. 6–8
  50. ^ Eliade, Myth and Reality, p. 8
  51. ^ Segal, Hero Myths, p. 12


  • Decharneux, Julien (2023). Creation and Contemplation The Cosmology of the Qur'ān and Its Late Antique Background. De Gruyter.
  • Dimmitt, Cornelia, and J. van Buitenen, eds. and trans. Classical Hindu Mythology. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1978.
  • Eliade, Mircea
    • Cosmos and History: The Myth of the Eternal Return. NY: Harper & Row, 1959.
    • Images and Symbols. Trans. Philip Mairet. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991.
    • Myth and Reality. Trans. Willard Trask. NY: Harper & Row, 1963.
    • Myths, Dreams and Mysteries. Trans. Philip Mairet. NY: Harper & Row, 1967.
    • Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy. Princeton University Press: Princeton, 2004.
  • Frankfort, Henri. "The Dying God". Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 21.3–4(1958): 141–51.
  • Graves, Robert. "Jungian Mythology". The Hudson Review 5.2(1952): 245–57.
  • Hesiod. Works and Days and Theogony. Trans. Stanley Lombardo. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1993.
  • d'Huy, Julien
    • "Mythes, langues et génétique". Mythologie Française, 247, 2012a: 25–26. [1]
    • "Un ours dans les étoiles: recherche phylogénétique sur un mythe préhistorique". Préhistoire du Sud-Ouest, 20 (1), 2012b: 91–106. [2]
    • "Le motif de Pygmalion : origine afrasienne et diffusion en Afrique". Sahara, 23, 2012c: 49–59 [3].
    • "Polyphemus (Aa. Th. 1137). "A phylogenetic reconstruction of a prehistoric tale". Nouvelle Mythologie Comparée / New Comparative Mythology 1, 2013a [4]
    • "A phylogenetic approach of mythology and its archaeological consequences". Rock Art Research, 30(1), 2013b: 115–118. [5]
    • "Les mythes évolueraient par ponctuations". Mythologie française, 252, 2013c: 8–12. [6]
    • "A Cosmic Hunt in the Berber sky : a phylogenetic reconstruction of Palaeolithic mythology". Les Cahiers de l'AARS, 15, 2013d: 93–106. [7]
  • Johnson, Allen, and Douglass Price-Williams. Oedipus Ubiquitous: The Family Complex in World Literature. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996.
  • Justin Martyr. The First Apology. Trans. Marcus Dods and George Reith. Church Fathers. New Advent. 23 June 2008 newadvent.org
  • Lebling, Robert (2010). Legends of the Fire Spirits: Jinn and genies from Arabia to Zanzibar. New York, NY & London, UK: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 978-0-85773-063-3.
  • Leonard, Scott. "The History of Mythology: Part I". Youngstown State University. 22 June 2008 as.ysu.edu Archived 2012-12-27 at the Wayback Machine
  • Leslau, Charlotte and Wolf Leslau. "The Creation of the World A Myth of Uganda". Copyediting-L. 2008. Indiana University. 21 June 2008 copyediting-1.info
  • Lévi-Strauss, Claude. Structural Anthropology. Trans. Claire Jacobson. New York: Basic Books, 1963.
  • Littleton, C. The New Comparative Mythology: An Anthropological Assessment of the Theories of Georges Dumezil. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973.
  • McGinn, Bernard. Antichrist: Two Thousand Years of the Human Fascination with Evil. NY: HarperCollins, 1994.
  • Northup, Lesley. "Myth-Placed Priorities: Religion and the Study of Myth". Religious Studies Review 32.1(2006): 5–10.
  • Propp, Vladimir. The Morphology of the Folktale.Trans. Laurence Scott. Texas: University of Texas Press, 1968.
  • Railsback, Bruce. "Pan Gu and Nü Wa". Creation Stories from around the World. July 2000. University of Georgia. 21 June 2008 gly.uga.edu Archived 2020-02-15 at the Wayback Machine
  • Robertson, John. Pagan Christs. London: Watts & Co., 1911.
  • Ross, Robert M., Greenhill, Simon J., Atkinson, Quentin D. "Population structure and cultural geography of a folktale in Europe". Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Biological Sciences, vol. 280 no. 1756, 2013. [8]
  • Segal, Robert A.
    • Hero Myths: A Reader. Blackwell Publishing, 2000.
    • Theorizing About Myth. Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999.
    • "The Romantic Appeal of Joseph Campbell". Religion Online. 22 June 2008 religion-online.org
    • Untitled book review. History of Religions 32.1(1992): 88–90.
  • Sinai, Nicolai (2023). Key Terms of the Qur'an: A Critical Dictionary. Princeton University Press.
  • Squire, Charles. Celtic Myth and Legend. London: Gresham, 1905.
  • Taylor, Archer. "The Biographical Pattern in Traditional Narrative". Journal of the Folklore Institute 1.1–2(1964): 114–29.
  • Tehrani, Jamshid J., "The Phylogeny of Little Red Riding Hood", PlosOne, November 13, 2013.[9]
  • Tortchinov, Evgueni. "Cybele, Attis, and the Mysteries of the 'Suffering Gods': A Transpersonalistic Interpretation". The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 17.2(1998): 149–59.
  • Urton, Gary. Inca Myths: The Legendary Past. Texas: University of Texas Press, 1999.
  • Watkins, Calvert. "Indo-European and Indo-Europeans". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 4th ed. 2000. Bartleby.com. 21 June 2008 bartleby.com
  • Woolley, Leonard. "The Flood". The South African Archaeological Bulletin 8.30(1953): 52–54.

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Arvidsson, Stefan, Aryan Idols. Indo-European Mythology as Science and Ideology. 2006. University of Chicago Press.
  • Clifton, Dan Salahuddin, The Myth Of The Western Magical Tradition. 1998. C&GCHE
  • Dickson, K. "Bibliography-in-Progress of Texts on Myths & Comparative Mythology". 11/12/09. Purdue University. 17 December 2009 web.ics.purdue.edu
  • Doniger, Wendy, The Implied Spider: Politics and Theology in Myth. 1998. New York: Columbia University Press [An introduction to comparative mythology]
  • Doniger, Wendy, Splitting the Difference: Gender and Myth in Ancient Greece and India (Jordan Lectures in Comparative Religion, 1996–1997: School of Oriental and African Studies University of London). 1999. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
  • Dumezil, Georges, The Destiny of the Warrior. 1983. Berkeley: University of California Press
  • Dumezil, Georges, The Plight of a Sorcerer. 1986. Berkeley: University of California Press
  • Dumezil, Georges, Mitra-Varuna: An Essay on Two Indo-European Representations of Sovereignty. 1988. New York:Zone Books
  • Friedrich, Paul, The Meaning of Aphrodite. 1978. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
  • Girard, René, Violence and the Sacred. 1977. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Hatt, Gudmund. Asiatic Influences in American Folklore. København: i kommission Hos Ejnar Munksgaard. 1949.
  • Jamison, Stephanie, The Ravenous Hyenas and the Wounded Sun: Myth and Ritual in Ancient India . 1991. Ithaca: Cornell University Press
  • Jamison, Stephanie, Sacrificed Wife / Sacrificer's Wife: Women, Ritual and Hospitality in Ancient India. 1996. New York: Oxford University Press
  • Lévi-Strauss, Claude Myth and Meaning. 1995. New York: Schocken Books
  • Lévi-Strauss, Claude, The Raw and the Cooked (Mythologiques Volume One). 1990. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
  • Lévi-Strauss, Claude, From Honey to Ashes (Mythologiques Volume Two). 1973. New York: Harper and Row
  • Lévi-Strauss, Claude, The Origin of Table-Manners (Mythologiques Volume Three). 1978. New York: Harper and Row
  • Lévi-Strauss, Claude, The Naked Man (Mythologiques Volume Four). 1990. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
  • Lincoln, Bruce Theorizing Myth: Narrative, Ideology, and Scholarship. 1999. University of Chicago Press.
  • Patton, Laurie; Doniger, Wendy (eds.), Myth and Method (Studies in Religion and Culture). 1996. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia
  • Puhvel, Jaan, Comparative Mythology. 1987. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Tátar, Maria M. "Mythology as an areal problem in the Altai-Sayan area: the sacred holes and caves". In: Shamanism and Northern Ecology. Edited by Juha Pentikäinen. Berlin, New York: De Gruyter, 1996. pp. 267–278. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110811674.267
  • White, David Gordon, Doniger, Wendy, Myths of the Dog-Man. 1991. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
  • Witzel, Michael, The Origins of the World's Mythologies. 2010. New York: Oxford University Press
  • Wise, R. Todd, A Neocomparative Examination of the Orpheus Myth As Found in the Native American and European Traditions, 1998. UMI.

Journals about comparative mythology:

External links[edit]