Talk:Mythology/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 5

Original discussion

Should the list of archetypes not be lengthened to include things like one-eyed gods and severed hands? I myself would do it, but I am reluctant to get bogged down in writing articles on them. elvenscout742 23:56, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I don't know that the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot fit into mythology, although Grendel does. I am not sure why that should be though.

and if this page is going to identify Christian Myths should the link just go to Christianity, since the author is equating "some people consider it a collection of myths" with "some people believe in Norse gods"? --MichaelTinkler

Doesn't mythology differ from religion by the absence of the preaching of some kind of philosophy?

no, actually, mythology is to religion as Latin is to spoken languages. Yes, some people practice it (in the case of Latin, there really are some speakers left!), but no, it's not a living religion. That's a simple, crude, but useful distinction. I also hasten to say that Greco-Roman mythology, per se, is narrative and has precious little to do with the sacrificial practices of Greco-Roman religion, per se. So, there's no 'preaching' only because no one is 'practicing' it. --MichaelTinkler
Also (my two cents), the above assumes a very narrow reading of religion. Buddhists don't "preach" per se, certainly not in the evangelical sense, nor did the Roman religions. And there are tons of philosophies that do preach, but aren't necessarily a religion... Is NAZISM a religion? Or Amway? There is a vibrant ambiguity here that I think is inherent in what is interesting. To cleanly delineate religion, myth and folklore, each one in its own little box, is to fall short of describing what is going on. I don't know exactly how it SHOULD look, but what we have so far seems to me to fall extremely short of the mark. And BTW, I don't think mythologies need only be defined as the dead husks of ancient religions. We have tons of living mythologies that rival the Roman ones in terms of scope and narrative that transcend folk tradition (UFOLOGY for example, or Pop Personality Cults like ELVISISM). The Elvis Lives movement isn't folklore in the secular sense like Grimm's Household Tales, but of course the "civilized" world typically won't admit it into the pantheon of "recognized" religions either. It exists in a nether realm between Voodoo and Spiritualism. --trimalchio
as a minor aside, I think it depends on the type Buddhism. There is an evangelical/preaching form of Buddhism, as I recall. -- BenBaker
I think that the definition of myth in this article is leading this discussion astray. I would define myth as "a story shared by a group or community that has a deeper meaning or attraction."
I know this is a very simple definition, & does not begin to explain myth in all of its manifestations and characteristics, but myth is a very intricate subject whose explication leads too easily into . . . creating more myth. (The best example of which is Freud's exegesis of the story of Oedipus: he explains Western Society's fascination with this story by explaining how it represents our unconscious sexual desires.) And these stories may originally have been religious ones (e.g., Oedipus, the Last Supper), or ones that have always been secular (e.g., the Horatio Alger story of the hard-working individual who comes out ahead). One finds a story that one identifies with, and retells it to emphasize those details that make it significant.
Objective, dispassionate discussion of this creative activity is difficult, if not impossible. But to borrow an image, one can at least point to the activity as long one is careful not to confuse the finger with this activity. -- llywrch 05:48 Dec 29, 2002 (UTC)

While I do disagree that Christian belief is a Mythology, I do agree that Christian Mythology exists. The story of King Arthur, for example, qualifies. Many stories of verbal history exist, used in explaining the circumstances of scripture. The purported names of the Wise Men are an example of this. I do think that Hinduism as a whole has a more explicit connection to mythology than Christian belief. Hinduism does not have the same focus on the historicity of their scripture as Christianity does, in my experience, and according to my informants. In principle, the christian understanding of scripture holds that scripture is a record of specific events that can be tied to a particular place and time. To my knowledge, Hinduism does not have this as an explicit part of their hermeneutics. I believe the book "The Power of Myth" by Joseph Campbell is relevant. -- BenBaker

How can you say that ancient Graeco-Roman tales are myths, but Jewish or Christian tales are not? They are the same phenomena. The only problem arises because people presume that myths are false, and don't want to call Jewish or Christian tales false (although they seem to have no problem with expressing the same view about the tales of the religions of antiquity.) But the definition of a myth (at least as used in anthropology, etc.) is a story of significance to a culture, that somehow encodes its values. The Bible is full of myths; that doesn't mean it is false, it merely means that its stories are significant to the culture it represents. -- SJK

I think I already agreed that there is such a thing as Christian mythology. I think myth as you are using it is different than mythology. I think the loose way you are using mythology is loose enough that I am justified in agreeing that you hold that the Theory of Evolution is a myth. (it does tell a significant story to a culture... <grin>) I would like to see the reaction if you state that on the page for that article though, as I expect quite an uproar. -- BenBaker

I think the difference maybe is that evolution is a scientific theory. If we understand myth as "religious story", evolution isn't a myth, although some (atheists? humanists? pantheists?) may consider it one significant to their religion.
Yes, you have admitted that there is Christian mythology. But the life of Jesus is as mythological as King Arthur. (Remembering that a story being a myth doesn't imply it is false.) Besides, who are we really to say that even the tales of King Arthur are false? Admittedly few people may believe it to be literally true, but some do (e.g. some occultists or Rosicrucians), and even consider them an important part of their religion. King Arthur is just as mythical as Jesus is, no more, no less. -- SJK
Alright, I admit it, I'm very curious - what "occultists or Rosicrucians" believe in the literal truth of the King Arthur Myth, and what version of the King Arthur myth? Also, do you mean the Californian "Rosicrucians?" --Alex Kennedy

Um, I created a page on Christian Mythology before I saw this debate. Hope no one minds!

On an unrelated topic, I don't think that "wizard" should qualify as a The earliest reference to them listed in their article is in 1982, and if fictional species that recent and relatively little-known count as myt"race." Traditionally, a wizard is a person who has a skill or practices an art -- the aptitude may be inborn, but so is an aptitude for music or chess. Not a race, I say! -- Cayzle

On a related topic, I'm a little iffy about including wemics in here too. Weren't they created pretty much from scratch by TSR and/or Sierra for their games? I would think that to qualify as mythology there should be some significant group of people who at one point believed that it was a real race. TSR was well-known for appropriating mythical creatures from all over the place to incorporate into D&D, so perhaps a reference can be found somewhere to a real mythical origin for wemics? -BD (addendum: maybe not so out of place, actually, since the Mythology article already lists Star Trek as a piece of modern mythology. :)

I wish I knew if D&D wemics and Sierra liontaurs were originated independently, or were inspired by a common unknown source, or what. But I agree with your point -- if Star Trek is mentionable, why not wemics? -- Cayzle

So, should this page now be redirected to an article titled "Stories?" I think it's taking political correctness to an insane level to be eradicating the word "mythology" from all the sub-articles. - BD

Well, as I said before, religious believers should not have a problem with the word "myth" as long as it's not talking about a historical story (because, really, it would sound very weird to talk about "The Myth of the War of 1812," even if we can derive a moral from the events of that war), but I have to disagree with your implied assertion that this is all about political correctness - it's not. I think you have one side (people who, generally speaking, don't believe in Christianity) thinking that it's unfair that Christian stories are labelled "stories" while Greek ones are labeled "myths," while on the other side you have people who do believe in Christianity, to whatever degree, who are very hurt to have what they believe to be true history labeled myths. Since I personally see the Bible as (mostly) allegory, I have a much easier time accepting the word "myths," but please try to remember how hard that word may be to accept for some people. This is not a meaningless argument.

The current Christian Mythology or Christian Stories page, whichever it is named now, appears to be talking about stories which are fairly commonly believed to be fictional, so it's not much of a problem. But, BD, I urge you to think for a minute about something you believe in, such as perhaps your University Degree. How would you feel if someone called your obtaining of a degree "The Myth of BD's University Education?" I'm sure the story of your education could be used to illustrate several important moral points, so it fits the definition of "myth." Still, the connotation is hard to take. --Alex Kennedy

I'd think "Cool, I've achieved the status of myth!" :) But on a more serious note, I do understand that some people would find the combination of the words "Christian mythology" to be offensive. I just think that we shouldn't be focusing on trying to ensure that this encyclopedia offends noone, and should instead be trying to "call things as they are" to as much of a degree it is possible. I suppose the issue of the Christian mythology/stories thing can be debated, but when that debate results in "Greek mythology" being considered an offensive and/or inaccurate description of Greek mythology then I think it's gone a little overboard.

More discussion should probably be conducted on Wikipedia Religion and Mythology standards, which I didn't notice until after I first posted to this Talk subpage. :) - BD

Can someone fix the link above? I looked for the page that link points to, but did find anything in the Wikipedia namespace that matched it. -- llywrch 05:48 Dec 29, 2002 (UTC)

I'm considering fitting scientific mythology somewhere into the 'Modern mythology' section instead of just having a link to it. Any objections/suggestions? --Chris

Along the lines of mythology is the term "Shared Universe." One example of this is the character Conan the Barbarian. He was created by one person, but later novelized by more than one successive writer. Star Trek can also be considered a shared universe in that many authors have penned Star Trek novels. --E.C.


Perhaps the issue as been beaten to death now, but would there be any objections to using J. Campbell's definition of mythology (one of several he provides in his work) as "an organization of images metaphoric of experience, action, and fulfillment of the human spirit in the field of a given culture at a given time." This definition has the advantage that it subsumes religion as a subordinate category of myth, that is as the application of mythology within a narrow field of human experience and action. With respect to three of the world's great religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, they insist on the historicity of their myths, in other words, on the actuality of their metaphors in the fields of time and space.


Europe sports a Fjort mythology. What's a Fjort? Ain't in my Swedish dictionary. -- IHCOYC 02:22, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Why is Incan mythology found under North America? Do you folks know something that I've missed? Mats 15:14, 4 Oct 2003 (UTC)


The Amazons would have to be my most favorite story to hear from the myth. I haven't seen anything about the Amazons on the site and I think it would be interesting to site some informations about them. They were firece and should dominate over the weak. They were warriors and very rare of their time.

Polish and Slavic

Shouldn't Polish mythology and Slavic mythology be merged? At least the entries for gods should, as they are mostly just name variations of the same god (compare: Crnobog and Czarnobóg or Piorun and Perun). Ausir 21:02, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Fiction, however, does not reach the level of actual mythology until people believe that it really happened.

This is a rather erroneous view of the nature of myth. For example, one does not need to believe that Jesus was a living person to read, say, Jefferson's Bible, and come away with the truth that he was trying to teach. One also doesn't have to believe that there was really a place called Hobbiton, that Frodo was a living man (or hobbit), and the events actually occurred. After all, people tend to call stories myths because they are almost certainly fictitious - but they still refer to them because, however fictitious they may be, there is still value to be found in them, and it is that value, independent of whether the events really happened, which is what is important. If I had more time, I'd rewrite this article in its entirity to remove that 'myth must be true' bias that pervades it. HOW MYTHS ARE SO LONG AND INTERESTING?

I'm interested in knowing how myths were and how they were able to stay in each generation but in each generation having it to grow. i mean did the parents add stuff down while the way or if the children added it on to make it more interesting-DS

Constructed Mythologies?

Should this page contain a brief mention of modern constructed mythologies? I am thinking mainly of the mythology of Middle-Earth (that is told in The Silmarillion) created by J.R.R.Tolkien, though there are others. --Ingolemo 11:39, 6 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Canaanite Mythology?

Is there a reason why we don't have anything on myths of the Canaanites??

I'm almost tempted to answer sarcastically about how there's a vast wikicabal against Canaanite mythology but...actually, no, the reason there's not anything is because no one's gotten around to it. If you have information about Canaanite mythology, then please add the information; we would be glad to have your contribution. :) Lowellian (talk)[[]] 03:50, Nov 19, 2004 (UTC)

Mythology used as symbols

I'm wondering if someone can help me out here. I'm writing a thing about how mythology is used in advertising and I was wondering if anyone has any good insight or anything they'd like to contribute on the subject. For example, how Midas (the car parts place) has its slogan "trust the Midas touch," to emphasize that they know what they are doing and will make your car as good as gold. I could really use some more examples like that, but I'd appreciate anything you'd like to throw in. -M

Neopagan beliefs

The following phrase (referring to Neopagan beliefs formed in imitation of older pagan groups) was deleted recently as allegedly POV: "though the modern versions of these beliefs usually have little to no resemblance to the originals" -- What part of that is supposedly POV? DreamGuy 11:57, July 13, 2005 (UTC)

the whole thing you quoteed is POV.
Gabrielsimon 05:57, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
Oh, and why do you say that? DreamGuy 07:19, July 14, 2005 (UTC)

because its heavily POV. Gabrielsimon 07:21, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but you can't just claim something is PoV and remove it without any reasoning given, you have to explain WHY you think it is POV. An actual reason, so that other people can read it and then understand your argument so that they can either agree, disagree, or come to some sort of alternate third choice to take both views into account. You need to work with us here instead of just declare things are the way you say they are. I also tried leaving a note on the talk page of the editor who first removed it, and he could give no justification for the claim that it was PoV either. That's why it has been restored. DreamGuy 07:35, July 14, 2005 (UTC)

the burden of proof is not with me, it is you who must proove that it isnt. Gabrielsimon 07:39, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

No, that's not how things work. You removed it because you claim it violates NPOV, so you need to explain why you think that. How am I supposed to try to defend it against your claim if I don't know what you base the claim on? DreamGuy 07:43, July 14, 2005 (UTC)

actually, according to how people hhave been treating my edits all these months, thats exactly how it works. please proove that it is valid and NPOV please. the basis to my claim is simply that it is opininon, and only that, for prooving itwould be quite ifficult, unless you had a time machine or something. ( please note that i am trying to phrase this respectfull,y and i apologize id thats not how it came out)
Gabrielsimon 07:47, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

I think User:Jwrosenzweig's modification of the phrase in question adequately removes any possible claim of it being PoV, and adds a good extra bit of information. DreamGuy 07:52, July 14, 2005 (UTC)

i agree. Gabrielsimon 07:54, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

Definition of "mythology"

DreamGuy, see here and here, and also any other good dictionary, such as this. You once insulted me on this same issue, saying I should go edit if I want to use Japanese definitions of words, clearly ignoring the purpose of my contrast, and yet you now refer to Ancient Greek definitions of words. I don't know why "mythology" means "A body or collection of myths belonging to a people", given the "-ology" suffix, but it simply does, and it certainly is more common, given that at least ninety-five percent of the word's usage in this article go by it, mostly after this point, and the title of that section even uses that "akward plural about studying myths" of yours. I'm more mature than to start an edit war with you over this, so I will simply wait for you to realise you are wrong in this instance.elvenscout742 22:02, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

There are lots of slang usages for a lot of words. Dictionaries tend to cite those. Much like how "myth" is also used rather clumsily to refer to falsehoods, while the Myth article focuses on the nonslang usage. As far as I can tell, somewhere along the way enough people in school classes got books about mythology and decided that the stories were mythologies, which is a ridiculous way of looking at things. Mythology is the study of myths. The myths are the stories. Mythology is the study, not the stories. "Mythologies" to describe the stories does not make sense when the word is being used in the way that the word "myths" already covers more accurately. I can only imagine tht a bunch of people in school classrooms were told they were studying mythology and then applied the word incorrectly. There are lots of words like that that have incorrect usage. A collection of myths are simply myths or mythos, not mythologies. Fields of psychology are not psychologies. Wikipedia is supposed to be a source of actual knowledge, not a place to repeat the same errors of people who don't know what they are talking about, no matter if these errors are frequent or not. Please provide a reputable source on mythology that uses the term the way you do instead of resporting to dictionary slang definitions. DreamGuy 00:42, July 22, 2005 (UTC)
And, incidentally, all but one of the instances of mythology was using the word correctly, not "95%" of the article as you claimed. I have now corrected the one incorrect use I found on that list. I must have glossed over the header before. I have no idea how long it wsa like that, but then I missed the change you made to the lead that you put up weeks ago until recently, so who knows. DreamGuy 00:51, July 22, 2005 (UTC)

howaboutthe plural word mythos ( ifthas whatthe word is) would be less clumbsy sounding... Gabrielsimon 00:47, 22 July 2005 (UTC)

Less "clumbsy" sounding than what? Than "mythologies"? Yes, but then that's not difficult to do. Than "myths"? No. Myths is a pretty simple and direct word and should be used in place of the longer, clumsier words people don't know how to use. DreamGuy 00:51, July 22, 2005 (UTC)

no no, the word mythos, as a plural of mythology. Gabrielsimon 00:56, 22 July 2005 (UTC)

A mythology isn't a story. It's a collection of stories. And you call Joseph Campbell, Brian Branston, J. R. R. Tolkien and just about every other mythologist I know about "clumsy schoolchildren". Yes, the word is used properly most of the time in this article, for instance "Celtic mythology ... Greek mythology ... Norse mythology"; these mythologies are collections of myths from different cultures, not the different ways people had of studying myths, or whatever you think that means. And HOW DARE you accuse Oxford of misleading by not marking slang as such!?elvenscout742 11:12, 22 July 2005 (UTC)
"Celtic mythology" means the study of Celtic myths. You can't read it as using your peculiar definition, ignore the main and accurate scholarly definition, and then try to use that as evidence for your side. These are pages about the study of the myths in thsoe cultures.
And Oxford doesn't label lots of this as slang that are slang. Certain words haave precise meanings within their field and outside of the field take on a larger less precise meaning. Oxford (and many other dictionaries) considers them all valid, though they are not valid within the field.
As far as people in the field go, the list of people you name are primarly literature scholars. They are not mythologists. The people in the field very much resent the idea that these people are being held up by people outside of it as if they were mythologists. This is all part of the problem of how so many people outside the field treat these things as nothing more than stories for them to adopt and change in their own fiction. The concept that schools discuss these things in literature classes and not social studies is absolutely ridiculous. Adding further to the confusion, some of the sources many people cite as "mythology" simply are not. Ovid (and Bulfinch who more recently followed his lead) and other poets in the later ages changed the stories to reflect their own sensibilities.
DreamGuy 18:19, July 23, 2005 (UTC)
Joseph Campbell is widely regarded as the greatest mythologist of his time, arguably in history. Tolkien, while more famous for The Lord of the Rings was very knowledgeable of mythology and ancient languages. To say he wasn't "in the field" is nonsense. No offence, but I sincerely doubt you have even heard of Brian Branston, as he is a relatively obscure English writer notable only for his book on Anglo-Saxon mythology, The Lost Gods of England (which, incidentally, is not about the study of Anglo-Saxon myths, but about the Anglo-Saxons' unique collection of myths). Can you name any notable mythologists that use the word exclusively by your definition, or even direct me to any other Wikipedians who would agree with you? The consensus is definitely against you this time, DreamGuy.elvenscout742 19:30, 23 July 2005 (UTC)
"Joseph Campbell is widely regarded as the greatest mythologist of his time, arguably in history." would be true for those OUTSIDE the field, because he got a lot of publicity for his books, which were more artsy feely than scholarly. A significant portion of professional mythologists consider his work too far into philosophy and trying to put everything into simple but laregely inaccurate classifications instead of studying myths themselves. And anyone even thinking to call him the greatest of all time is completely out of touch with reality. Have you read any classical authors? Any actual scholars? Campbell was a pop figure, and certainly not the leader of the field. Tolkien was knowledgable on old stories and languages but is not considereed an expert in mythology by any stretch of the imagination. DreamGuy 20:30, July 23, 2005 (UTC)
Again, you fail to mention any specific "professionals" who say Campbell is too out there. When you ask if I have read any "classical authors", do you mean Greco-Roman writers like Homer and Hesiod? Are you actually citing them as serious mythologists? Give me some specifics.elvenscout742 20:47, 23 July 2005 (UTC)
Albert Lord and Alan Dundes would be two scholars who considered him a Jungian generally making facile cross-cultural comparisons without looking at the contexts of the myths in their respective cultures. Bruxism 01:03, 24 July 2005 (UTC)
Also, check here. That article uses the phrase "a... mythology" in its opening sentence. Please do not edit that, however, until you have admitted you are wrong and this destructive conflict is drawn to a close.elvenscout742 12:24, 22 July 2005 (UTC)
Sorry, that article was positively littered with mistakes. I couldn't let it stay the way it was once I saw it. That case proves nothing. DreamGuy 18:19, July 23, 2005 (UTC)
NO! A person cannot "create" mythology, only a mythology. No reliable dictionary I know of defines mythology as something that is believed to be true.elvenscout742 19:30, 23 July 2005 (UTC)
Calm down. Nobody can create mythology or "a" mythology. (And, heck, mythology in the way you attempt to use it would be a collective noun and wouldn't be "a" anyway). But someone can create artificial mythology, which is what that article is about. You simply cannot blindly revert all the changes I made to that page, as most have nothing to do with your complaint anyway. Please try to work wth other editors instead of simply undoing their work. Regarding your last bit, did you ever consider that using a dictionary intended for the mass public instead of a specialized reference for the field in question is a bad idea? Scholars in the field define mythology as ideas that are believed to be true by the culture because the whole point is that they are ideas that evolved as ones the culture believed, as differentiated from those purposefully made up in a bit of creative writing somewhere, as the origins are completely diferent. Fiction by its very nature is not mythology. Some of it is based upon it, some of it tries to imitate it, but it's not the same thing at all.DreamGuy 20:30, July 23, 2005 (UTC)
I do not say mythology is a collective noun. A mythology is a collection of myths. Greek mythology, for example, is a mythology. Again, the editors who wrote that article were using a definition of the word that you don't seem to acknowledge. I have no problem with that, just as long as you don't say other people are wrong and vandalise an online encyclopedia with your nonsense. You should try to work with other editors, rather than unilaterally changing what other people wrote because you do not understand it. Is the Oxford Dictionary of World Mythology not a specialised enough dictionary for you? Anyway, Wikipedia is meant for the general public, so even if you were right your argument is moot.elvenscout742 20:47, 23 July 2005 (UTC)

I have to side with Elvenscout on this: from my experience, "mythology" is often used to denote a collection of myths with a common heritage or subject. Glancing at my bookshelf, here are some examples from scholars (who would be more likely to use the word in its "proper" sense than in its colloquial sense) who use the word "mythology" in the sense of "a collection of myths":

  • Martha Beckwith, Hawaiian Mythology
  • Martin P. Nilsson, The Mycenaean Origin of Greek Mythology
  • Samuel Noah Kramer, Mythologies of the Ancient World
  • Proinsias MacCana, Celtic Mythology

When the word "myth" is used in the title of a collection of myths, it is almost always contrasted with another element:

  • R. T. Rundle Clark, Myth and Symbol in Ancient Egypt
  • H.R. Ellis Davidson, Gods and Myths of the Viking Age

One interesting usage was that by G.S. Kirk for his book-long study of Greek mythology -- Myth. If "mythology" should properly be understood only in the sense Dreamguy is arguing, wouldn't Kirk have instead called his book Mythology? -- llywrch 17:12, 22 July 2005 (UTC)

Llywrch, I'm afraid these arguments don't really support Elvenscouts claims all that well. "Hawaiian mythology" means the study of myths in Hawaii... Celtic Mythology same thing, as explained to Elvenscout above.
Myth and Symbol... Gods and Myths... I don't get at all what those comments are supposed to be arguing, as they do not contradict what I have said.
As far as your last argument goes, people can title things in various ways. A book studying myths and call itself Myth or Myths or Mythology or whatever the author wants. The fact that in that one case he chose one way soes not rule out all the opther possibilities as valid words. Your argument is similar to claiming that a book about the study of mankind throughout history couldn't be named "Mankind" instead of "History" or "Anthropology." Obviously the author could have chosen any of those or something else entirely depending upon what he wanted to stress. DreamGuy 18:19, July 23, 2005 (UTC)
As a P.S. to what I wrote above, if we accept Drreamguy's argument that based on its etymology "mythology" is the study of myths, then what should we make of the word "anthology"? Are we then mistaken to understand that word as meaning "a collection of poems, stories or essays", & we should only understand it as the study of those short works? And if we exempt "anthology" from this analysis, then why shouldn't we exempt "mythology"? IIRC, in the original Greek, whence these 2 words come from, both words are used to indicate collections, & not the study or analysis of their respective subjects. -- llywrch 17:19, 22 July 2005 (UTC)
This is a false comparison. Different root words can be used in different ways. Mythology is like psychology and anthropology -- studies of the topic. The argument you are making here, if applied with the same supposed logic to other words, would claim that anthropology isn't the study of mankind but a collection of men, psychology isn't the study of the mind but a collection of minds, and so forth. In your zeal to try to support a rather imprecise meaning for "mythology" in a way people in the field do not use it has led you to try to deny the scholarly meaning completely and has you making arguments that are fundamentally unsound. DreamGuy 18:19, July 23, 2005 (UTC)
You are, of course, right in agreeing with me, fellow, but I have found in numerous articles that it is pointless to reason with DreamGuy, as he is so set in his ways. He will keep reverting any positive changes made to undo what he has perverted. Tragically, as a recent RfC proved, it seems nothing can be done about it. It is also very difficult to reach a compromise, as he won't accept anything less than what he wants. unless Wikipedia won't let him have it, and even then he will find some way to sneak around it.elvenscout742 18:43, 22 July 2005 (UTC)

I tend to agree with Elvenscout and llywrch. Michael Simpson in the introduction of his translation of Gods and Heroes of the Greeks: The Library of Apollodorus, describes the Library as giving "a straightforward account of Greek mythology from the birth of the gods to the death of Odysseus." I don't think he meant to say that it gives an account of the study of Greek myths, since clearly the Library gives an account of the myths, not their study. Robert Graves in his The Greek Myths says: "A study of Greek mythology should begin with a consideration of ... political and religious systems ...". I don't think he was referring to the study of the study of Greek myths. Walter Burkert's, Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual, seems to use the word in the sense of a collection of related myths. If he were using the term to here to mean the study of myths, the title would be "Structure and History of Greek Mythology ..." — Paul August 19:41, July 22, 2005 (UTC)

How can you argue that a library chronicalling beliefs does not study them? The whole purpose behind libraries is to study topics in the books. In fact, the rooms for reading books are usually called studies. People also say they study psychology and anthropology and so forth... they are not really studying the study of anthropology, it's just how the phrases are used. Antrhopology, psychology, mythology have become terms for the field as a whole, and the field as a whol studies the topic ofthat field. When you study the field it's not like you study the study, you are just tossing in a verb so the sentence has one. I'm afraid you are arguing strictly on semantics here and that those arguments clearly do not work for other similar words and also do not work here. DreamGuy 18:19, July 23, 2005 (UTC)
I'm not making any argument at all. I'm simply trying to provide examples of what I take (perhaps mistakenly) to be the non-slang usage of the word "Mythology" to mean "a collection of related myths". Perhaps you can provide sources which say that "mythology" only means "the study of myths". Paul August 21:23, July 23, 2005 (UTC)
DreamGuy, "psychology" is a body of knowledge (even if its all just theories), and that body of knowledge is up for study (not really got anything to do with this, just to clarify). "Mythology" is the same, in addition to being a basic noun that refers to a collection of myths. You have yet to do anything other than say I'm wrong and repeat the same thing over and over, and you have yet to mention any specific people "in the field" - only left it to Bruxism to refer me to two other people who do not like Campbell, but do not necessarily agree with you. I ask only for one example for the time being, but you seem to be struck by the impossibility of proving someone doesn't agree with me without them personally intervening, and no matter whom you are in real life, to cite yourself would border on original research. elvenscout742 01:03, 20 August 2005 (UTC)
Hmm... yes, that's two that agree with me, and aren't to my knowledge out to get DreamGuy or anything. Surely the three of us outnumber thee, o DreamGuy?elvenscout742 01:24, 23 July 2005 (UTC)

Myth vs. Mythology

Yet another lame edit war, I believe compromise is in order. Therefore, mythological beliefs by regions could placate opposing parties. Dbraceyrules 20:54, 22 July 2005 (UTC)

First up, what edit war? It seems excessive to call it a war when it's only been changed a couple of times.
Your way is kind of unnecessarily wordy. It could work, but it's not the cleanest. How about "Mythology by region" if the opposing editor simply cannot accept the perfectly reasonable and succinct word "myths" to describe the concept of myths?
By the way, did you see on elvenscout's talk page where he absolutely refuses to compromise and claims that he is right and everyone else is wrong and he won't accept anything less than having his way? [1] He even told you to undo your edit because he was afraid people would agree with it and choose not not do things his way. Sounds like someone who refuses to try to work with others. It's disappointing. But then if we have consensus his refusal to try to cooperate won't matter.
DreamGuy 22:36, July 22, 2005 (UTC)
I did not say anyone was wrong other than you. I said other people were right in disagreeing with your mistake. I will not compromise this time when you are wrong and everyone, like llywrch above, agrees. "Mythology by region" implies that it is the study of myths in particular regions, which makes no sense. The only good way of expressing it is "Mythologies by region", as they are not "Myths by region" either.elvenscout742 22:50, 22 July 2005 (UTC)
Actually, "study of myths in particular regions" is exactly what the long list of articles links to. I'm not sure how anyone could claim that the specific purpose those articles are there "makes no sense." They are also myths by region, as they discuss myths by region. You may have some people using mythology in in a scholarly sense to back you up, but you sure are completely screwed up on the definition of "myths" -- how can you possibly claim that these are not myths by region? They are sorted by region, and the articles discuss the myths in that region? We should take things with the most precise meanings when there is room for confusion, and "myths" is the most precise and uncontroversial. What is your definition of myths that you are trying to use thatmakes you try to claim that these are not myths by region? DreamGuy 17:41, July 23, 2005 (UTC)
By the way, the consensus is against you, DreamGuy - that is why we do not need to make any unnecessary and awkwardly worded compromises. ou clearly do not understand the word "mythologies", and you are the one who won't accept anything less than having his way. I don't much appreciate your blatant attempts to twist my words to turn people against me. I can't believe you haven't been punished for this kind of behaviour.elvenscout742 22:55, 22 July 2005 (UTC)
Punished? Dude, you need to get a grip, and stop your personal crusade against me.
1. Sorry Elven, didn't mean to get you upset. 2. DreamGuy, who cares if it is "too wordy" sometimes a few flaws exist in the imperfect state we call life 3. Elven, I think that Mythological Beliefs, etc. is about the same thing as "mythologies by region" 4. DreamGuy, to be frank, myths by regions sounds a little eccentric. The article is dealing with mythology not just mythology' Get it? And I'll never take your side on anything in this life or the next. 5. If you all would change it back to what it was I could careless, I was only trying to solve disputes in Wikipedia - and was not trying to piss you off, DreamGuy Dbraceyrules 23:04, 22 July 2005 (UTC)
You claim that you are not trying to piss me off and are not trying to be confrontational but admit that you have already decided that you will never agree with my side on anything and toss in snarky remarks? You've pretty much proven your bad faith here. "The article is dealing with mythology not just mythology' Get it?" -- no, I don't "get" what you think you mean there as it doesn;t make sense. DreamGuy 18:21, July 23, 2005 (UTC)
Well, if we could get a consensus (and, again, people will agree), we could get it back to "Mythologies", as it is, after all, a list of mythologies. And I'd like my opening paragraph back, too. DreamGuy's is essentially a piece of propaganda supporting his twisted view. "Mythologies" is NOT "slang". It is the Oxford-given plural of an easily pluralizable word (although the word I just used is not ;) ).elvenscout742 23:11, 22 July 2005 (UTC)
Could you please try to be civil and not bring your preconceived notions into this debate. That statement alone (not even including the other things you said) violates several Wikipedia policies all by itself. DreamGuy 17:41, July 23, 2005 (UTC)
I am being civil. If I didn't want to be civil I would engage in an edit war with you rather than try to reason with you on the Talk page. Also, that comment was not meant for you.elvenscout742 19:30, 23 July 2005 (UTC)
You mean the edit war you did do after you ignored everything I tried to explain to you and then finally gave in when someone came in to support my side? DreamGuy 00:12, August 23, 2005 (UTC)
I didn't "do" any edit war - I made one edit! The rest was done by the only two other editors involved, both on my side. You explained nothing to me other than a few mistaken ideas. You refused to cite any specific sources or people that agree with you. I referred to many sources that agreed with me, as did llwrch and Paul August. "finally gave in when someone came in to support my side" - I think that would apply more to you. I responded to all your posts here, and you did nothing for a few days. Then I went on vacation for three weeks, and when I got back you still had not done anything. Apparently you had given up the discussion because someone (two people, even) came in to support my side. Can you not simply accept consensus? elvenscout742 11:25, 23 August 2005 (UTC)
Boy are you in denial. I didn;t do anything for several weeks while you were gone and mercifuly not making more edits to the encyclopedia because there wsa nothing to do. The article was correct, the discussions here had stalled because you and one or two others denied I made any response at all and refused to check the sources involved. I even had a discussion with one rude editor (the one who did most of the reverting) on my talk page and he once again ignored all evidence that proved him wrong and made nasty comments instead of trying to work together. So you start up an edit war under the false pretense that I refused to discuss things, he edit warred over it, and Paul stepped in with a version that was basically 100% my version with some wording differences... and you claim that he supports your side? You're not making sense. As far as your suppposed consensus, the people working on this article have accepted the real defiition for a long time, and still do. The fact that you bring your personal conflict against me on other articles where you were proven wrong completely and totally and then come here to try to start another fight shows bad faith. We have consensus on the correct definition. DreamGuy 13:58, August 23, 2005 (UTC)

I'm happy

Can what we have now be left as is? The opening paragraph is fine (even if it does seem to place a bit more emphasis on the definition favoured by DreamGuy), the bit about Tarzan refers to "[the series] of Tarzan" (with the name still used in the same way is it is on the page to which it links), and the list "Mythologies by region" is given its proper name, as the items mentioned in it are not "myths" (i.e. stories) but "mythologies" (i.e. groups of such stories from the regions mentioned). Surely, DreamGuy, you must except that if all those involved accept you acknowledge the other definition, it must at least be worth mentioning in the introduction. I don't want to have to take this to any higher powers than are already involved, and your definition is still given priority. I do not refuse to acknowledge it, I only ask that the other be given equal weight - something I have advocated but you have constantly opposed. Can we just call it quits?

(Oh, yeah, and I think the introduction still needs a bit of minor work on its wording and formatting, and I think it literally denotes and originally denoted nothing more than the telling of stories, as it was first used by Plato. I might work on that later. I won't do anything to damage the current neutrality of it, though.)

elvenscout742 23:44, 22 August 2005 (UTC)

The lead as it is now is not substantially different from the way I had it, so I won't object to it. The Tarzan thing is still wrong, and also the "mythologies" because the word is still awkward and unneeded when "myths" is shorter and more accurate (the items mentioned are in fact, articles discussing the stories themselves). I will be fixing this.
The claim that you only wanted "equal weight" is false, as I gave you equal weight and you tried to erase my side completely. You also removed the most important part of the definition, namely that it's about the study of things believed to be true by the cultures involved and not about fiction in any way, as frequently assumed by people with no background in the field.
Simply put, I will still fix anything that is wrong in this article, and I would recommend that you not touch the intro without getting it approved here first, as I have yet to see you make an edit that was accurate or worded well, on this or any other page I've seen you modify.DreamGuy 00:11, August 23, 2005 (UTC)
My one had given equal weight, but your one refused to acknowledge my definition, only something about the process of collecting myths (not able to be pluralised). The word "myths" would not be appropriate or accurate. I have explained several times that the items mentioned are "mythologies", not individual "myths". For example, "Japanese mythology" is a mythology and it is included, but the myth about Susanoo killing Orochi is not in the list. There is no problem with saying "those of Tarzan", as it still refers to the television and book series relating to the character Tarzan. The article "Tarzan" is about the character, so I simply made a minor change to reflect that. Most of those books and TV shows are called "Tarzan of the Apes" or the like, and "Tarzan" by itself chiefly refers to the character, whose name should not be italicised. I don't see why it is so important to you, except to revert my edits. I personally have never seen you make a positive edit that wasn't a minor spelling change or something, and even then it was usually wrong and usually done in a highly inflammatory manner. elvenscout742 11:16, 23 August 2005 (UTC)
Yes, you have claimed several times that mythologies is more correct than myths, but you were wrong and are still wrong, and amazingly so. Frankly, considering how poor youe edits have been, without exception, your claim that you haven't seen me make what you consider to be a good one is actually a compliment. DreamGuy 17:21, August 23, 2005 (UTC)
Yow! Come on, guys! Take a deep breath and cease your personal attacks. This kind of abuse only inflames matters. Please try to interact civilly. —Theo (Talk) 17:58, 23 August 2005 (UTC)
As an aside, Theo, do you think the word theology usually means the study of you, or does it more commonly refer to a particular collection of stories about you? Just curious ;-) Paul August 19:40, August 23, 2005 (UTC)
Yes, I'm prepared to be civil. It's just very hard. I doubt DreamGuy has checked all of my edits here, and I doubt if he did he would know better on half of them. (And, incidentally, "theology" is a different word to "mythology", and Theo's answer might mislead some ;) ) elvenscout742 21:56, 23 August 2005 (UTC)
For the avoidance of doubt: I believe that everything is about me so Paul's question does not make sense: why try to separate the absolute? On a more serious note, responding to incivility with incivility is a negative feedback loop. Sympathetic cooperation may be an effort but it makes Wikipedia a much nicer place. —Theo (Talk) 23:14, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

You see, DreamGuy, this is just what I'm talking about. While I want to discuss things peacefully here, you insist on getting your way in the article proper. Consensus is against you, and I have explained precisely why on a number of occasions. Since you are in a minority, here, you cannot expect to get what you want just because you unilaterally change the article without listening to anyone else first. The Tarzan thing is so utterly minor I'm going to give it a break for now, unless someone else comes and more openly agrees with me, even though I know I am right. elvenscout742 22:05, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

And your problem is you always think you are right event hough you aren't, and always claim to have consensus when you don't. You claim to want to talk about things peacefully but then go sick the Gabrielsimon/Gavin the Chosen pitbull of yours to send me harassing emails and file false accusations. If you wanted to be civil here you'd start with the idea that you are not always right and that your zeal to try to get back at me for things that happened months back does not justify your constant edit warring over things you yourself must know are wrong. You've personal followed me onto article you knew I edited to create conflict. The only time you were peaceful and civil is when you took your vacation and mercifully were not here for weeks on end. DreamGuy 23:49, August 23, 2005 (UTC)
Let it be noted that in the above post DreamGuy made at least four unsubstantiated accusations against me: that Gavin the Chosen is my "pitbull" and I set him on DreamGuy frequently; that I follow him onto articles for revenge purposes; that I engage in edit wars; and that I always think I am right. GtC is not my pitbull. I never set him on you. I don't know anything about any of these e-mails he has sent you. That's quite an accusation to make given that you have no evidence to back it up. I do accept when I am wrong. [2] is a fine example of me going against what I had previously said because I figured my opposition may have a point. I just have yet to be proven wrong by you. Could you please cite some specifics instead of just making personal attacks and simply stating that I am wrong? "You've personal followed me onto article you knew I edited to create conflict": Where was this? I know that I am not always right, but I will continue to think that I am right in this case until you show me some evidence to the contrary, as I have plenty of sources that back me up. I do not try to get back for things that happened months ago. And when have I engaged in any edit war - ever? I can't exactly cite evidence that I don't do that last one, as it is scientifically impossible. elvenscout742 20:36, 24 August 2005 (UTC)
DreamGuy, your post above illustrates how, despite being an intelligent contributor to Wikipedia, that you are difficult to work with. You repeatedly insist that you are right, but never offer any proof other than one simplistic argument -- & throwing out a lot of five-dollar words when I tried to elicit more evidence from you on your Talk page; you claim that a consensus backs your position, yet Elvenscout & I firmly espouse a different POV, & from their posts here it would appear that Theo & Paul are in mild agreement with us. Where are all of your supporters? Why haven't they shown their support here?
Maybe you ought to rethink your argument not in terms of "right" or "wrong" but in different POVs, more than one of which may be right -- or perhaps none of which are right at this revision. Otherwise, you will eventually put yourself in a situation where you will get yourself banned from Wikipedia. And your rant about "consistently poor decisions by admins" on your user page adds further support to my prediction. -- llywrch 20:59, 24 August 2005 (UTC)

Ahem. This conversation dosn't seem to have much to do with "Myhology" any more. Perhaps it would be better to have this dicussion elsewhere. Paul August 21:01, August 24, 2005 (UTC)

And "elsewhere" as in "other than Wikipedia" if you cannot be courteous to each other. —Theo (Talk) 22:54, 24 August 2005 (UTC)


It seems to me that the exploration of what a myth is not should be in the Myth article rather than here. Can anyone explain why we should not move that bit? —Theo (Talk) 16:17, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

Well, mainly because the myth article is actually a fork file of this one. There's no real reason to have both articles, as they discuss the same thing.... myths versus study of myths. The Myth article itself is really messy and not the preferred one. DreamGuy 17:19, August 23, 2005 (UTC)

I disagree. By the definition with which DreamGuy does not agree, yes, myths and mythologies are essentially the same kind of thing, but that the latter refers to groups of the former. But "the study of myths" is a different subject and deserving of a different article to "myths", as the process of studying them would not be appropriate to an article about myths themselves, I think. elvenscout742 22:01, 23 August 2005 (UTC)


What is a creation myth?

Moved from talk:Creation myths

A creation myth is a specific type of myth which tells how the Universe, the Earth, life, and/or humanity came into being. A myth is just a story for which there is no documentary or scientific proof.

Is there a way to revise this paragraph to indicate that a 'myth' usually dates from antiquity?

And that the authorship is always untraceable? I mean, it's too late for anyone to create any new myths, because the rest of us would know who wrote it -- or at least when.

Yes, but that kind of detail should go into the myth article, not here in Creation myths. That's why I linked to it. :-) --Dmerrill

--Ed Poor

it's too late for anyone to create any new myths
I don't think this is true at all. Witness for example the belief that UFO's may bring wisdom or danger from other worlds.

Redirect and merge the article with Mythology?

I am thinking we ought to just redirect to Mythology. This is rapidly turning into a duplicate of it. :-) --Dmerrill

I started the Myth page and I have no objection as long as we preserve (merge) any worthwhile content.
I agree but prefer that Mythology redirect to Myth, as mythology, strictly, refers to writings of myth, while a "myth" title allows one to discuss and define myth itself, comment on the general sociology of myth, etc., with a subsection "mythology" (writings about myth). --Peter Kirby 22:32, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

Myths and falsehoods are not the same thing

I think we have to be careful to avoid the implication that myth = falsehood. Many of the ancients did not consider their myths falsehood. Ultimately Graeco-Roman myths are no different from Jewish or Christian stories. To call one myths and refuse to call the other myths also is to make a distinction that does not exist. (Unless the distinction you wish to make is one of truth, but that isn't NPOV.) -- SJK

This, of course, is true. But in common every-day useage people equate the word "myth" with a story that is not true. In any case, I agree with your position. RK
One common use of myth is unrelated to theology and legend. I added "myth" to refer to journalistic uses such as "ten myths about hair loss."

Journalists, inventors and myths

Sorry, but this addition that I just removed
does not fit the journalistic use (traditionally as a list of falsehoods on non-controversial subjects). It properly goes on the Science mythology page, where I am about to put it!  :-) -- Cayzle

Look, my new entry (second one on the page) is intended to refer to the journalistic practice of "dispelling myths" -- most often in the form of a list of common and non-controversial misconceptions corrected in the list. This The Myth of the Lone Inventor does not fit with the other examples! -- Cayzle

Exactly; I meant it as an example of the first definition, not the second. I wouldn't put on the Scientific myths page, though; it's really just personal commentary, and I certainly don't have the credentials for my commentary on the matter to belong in an encyclopedia. I just like to point to it in Talk pages to explain why I make certain changes to pages about inventions. --LDC

Joseph(?) Campbell and Star Wars

I have heard that Campbell, a mythologist (is that the correct word? I'm not sure) referred to Star Wars as a "modern myth" where "myth" is used in the legend/tradition sense. This contradicts the idea that a myth doesn't have a specific author. I don't know, however, if Campbell's view is supported by other scientists. Does anyone have information on this? --KamikazeArchon

I don't think "no specific author" is a defining characteristic of myths (in the first sense), just a common attribute. Wouldn't you say the names of Santa's reindeer, for example, are an importasnt part of the American myth of Santa Claus, even though they were created by Clement Moore? --LDC

Good point. --KA

I agree too. I think we might identify a category of literary myths. These are works of fiction which, although they have a known author, embody a narrative of sufficient power and/or intuitively grasped symbolic significance that they are much more widely disseminated throughout a culture than merely among those who have read them. I draw this idea from A N Wilson who makes the point in his introduction to Bram Stoker's Dracula citing Mallory's Death of Arthur. The test might be to imagine that all printed copies of the original were destroyed after the author's death. If it is plausible that people would value the story enough to resurrect it, then it would qualify as a literary myth. The Lord of the Rings and War and Peace are possible further examples. --Alan Peakall 14:00 Oct 25, 2002 (UTC)

Is it really necessary for a myth to be believed to be true by those who tell it? I would have thought that the question of literal truth is unimportant; the "deep explanatory significance" would be what matters. Michael Hardy 23:15, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)


The opening paragraph of this article seems to imply that only preliterate cultures have myths. I'm pretty sure that is not the case: in the first place Medieval Europe was not strictly a pre-literate culture, and has plenty of myths. Secondly, most people consider that we have myths in some form today. Can we adjust this? DJ Clayworth 17:52, 22 Oct 2004 (UTC)

We'll have to adjust more than this. This article is a horrible mish mash of truisms and second-rate precis's of pop-deconstructionists (who are given *much* too much emphasis). (OK, I say "precis" but thats much too nice a term for this Hyacinth's copy-out-of-this-semester's textbook approach. But I'm too nice to say "Plagiarise") A section on their belief of these figures, uninteresting and irrelevant outside university Critical Theory departments, would be much better. -- GWO 16:55, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Please see Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines Key Policy #4: "Respect other contributors." See also Wikipedia:Wikiquette, Wikipedia:Civility, and Wikipedia:Writers rules of engagement. Hyacinth 18:31, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I do respect you. I just thought those edits were lousy. Now, respect my right to point that out. -- GWO 18:41, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
If you do respect me, treat me with respect. You're above comment shows that you know little to nothing about me (for instance, which school am I attending?), yet you are willing to insult and pigeon-hole me.
You're comments show a distaste for and willful ignorance of 'pop-deconstruction' and 'critical theory', and yet you seem not to appreciate the arguments against them that I added to the article. Hyacinth 19:37, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Well, there was a reason for that. You didn't explain the arguments, and like most deconstructionist critics, they tend to write fundamentally nonsensical sentence. Maybe, in the context of the rest of the book their arguments are clear, but you made no attempt to give that context (the reference to May 1968 -- presumably the Paris riots -- but what about them? Omitted from your quote, and therefore impossible to follow). Critical Theorists are not exactly reknowned for their clarity of exposition, (too often conflating inpenetrability with depth). Writing an encyclopedia article is a lot more than copying sections out of books you like. (Not least, because, as in this case, what results is inevitably stylistically appalling). There is an art to precis and paraphrase. What you added was, basically, incoherent.
But none of this makes you a bad person, even though you're trying to make this personal, which it isn't. Secondly, this article is not exclusively about Deconstructionist views on Myth, (an undeniably interesting topic) so interjecting long diatribes from your auteurs-du-jour into previously well constructed paragraphs is, again, a very poor stylistic trait. -- GWO
Remember that this is a collaborative process. Hyacinth 20:03, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
And I was continuing that process, by weeding out the worst excesses of the critical theorists.
PS : "Willful ignorance" is more personally uncivil than anything I said about you. Fortunately, I've a thick skin. On the other hand, I'll readily admit to a "Distaste" for these people.
  1. As I have said before, deleting information for NPOV is kinda like fucking for chastity.
  2. I know of one school in the US with a critical theory department, and it's really just an interdisciplinary program made up of faculty from other departments. So the claim of ignorance, on the face of it, looks pretty good - it is clear that you haven't undertaken any formal study of the material you're dismissing here.
  3. Quoted information is always preferable to unattributed "Some argues," and Hyacinth should be commended for putting well-cited information into the article.
  4. Barthes has never been particularly associated with deconstruction, though he is sometimes associated with poststructuralism.
  5. Barthes is not "pop deconstruction," so much as a highly respected scholar in a number of fields.
  6. Just because you can't understand a writer doesn't mean he's willfully unclear. I don't much understand molecular biology, but I don't say that they prefer to be obscure.
  7. The article isn't exclusively about deconstructionist views of myths.
  8. The hell you haven't been making personal attacks - veiled accusations of plagiarism and accusations that Hyacinth is simply copying out of a textbook are personal attacks, and you need to stop them immediately.

Snowspinner 20:01, Oct 28, 2004 (UTC)

1) Hilarious. My sides have split. PS : who mentioned NPOV. I was talking about bad writing.
2) What the hell does the US have to do with it?
3) Well cited from a single source
4) Big deal. I was using deconstructionist as a short hand for critical theorists.
5) No. He's a well respected Critical Theorist. That's it.
6) Willfully unclear, unwillfully unclear. What does it matter? Explain to me what "Myth is a word chosen by history. It could not come from the nature of things" actually means? How does history choose the word myth? Why can't it come from the nature of things?
7) Everyone of Hyacinth's additions was a long quote from a single source. Thats copying. Colour it however you like.
  1. OK, well then let me rephrase - deleting information is a crime against NPOV.
  2. Well, OK, where do you find departments of critical theory then?
  3. Hyacinth cites two sources, actually.
  4. Which goes a long way towards showing the ignorance you display here.
  5. Cited in philosophy, linguistics, comparive literature, English, art history... need I go on?
  6. Explain to me why it matters. Ask Hyacinth to clarify it if it doesn't make sense. Do the research and clarify it yourself. But don't just delete something because you don't understand it.
  7. Quoting is a good thing, and is generally, among those who edit literary and philosophic articles, encouraged because it reduces disputes over what someone said and provides more concrete evidence and less POV interpretation. But that isn't the point. Yes, Hyacinth quoted. The implied accusation of plagiarism and the accusation that he was copying from a textbook he was currently studying, however, are pure personal attacks.

Snowspinner 20:13, Oct 28, 2004 (UTC)

Actually I used only one citation, Barthes and others are cited in Mache. Hyacinth 20:41, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Myth & history clarification

Mache aligns himself with structuralists rather than poststructuralists.
To clarify "Myth is a word chosen by history. It could not come from the nature of things," I quote the opposite opinion:
"Myth therefore seems to choose history, rather than be chosen by it. It generates and informs history."
Thus "Myth is a word chosen by history. It could not come from the nature of things" is Barthes way of saying he prefers historical exegesis since, to paraphrase, "history generates and informs myth." Hyacinth 20:41, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

The trouble with this "clarification" is that its circular. Whatever Barthes means by "historical exegesis" is never really explained (except in additional jargon). Exegesis means explanation, (specifically of religious scripture). So explain, without using the structuralist jargon, what exactly is this theory of Historical Exegesis and why must it be contrasted by "the nature of things". What does Barthes even mean by "nature" in this context? Don't get me wrong, I don't object to the Critical Theorists having their say in this article. I do object to the presentation of their distinctly minority viewpoint being presented as mainstream thought. -- GWO
FWIW, I agree with GWO on the substance. It can be the case that a minority viewpoint is didactically the best because it is easier to explain, and provides obvious talking points when introducing other viewpoints, but I don't think that applies in this case. ---- Charles Stewart 10:36, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I think that it's a grave misrepresentation to call critical theory a "minority' view. That's kind of like calling astrophysics a minority view. Yes, 95% of the world has probably never read Barthes. But those that have are people who have undertaken advanced study in the humanities at mainstream and respected universities. Critical theory is not some weird cult. It is the core and foundation of current academic research in the humanities. Snowspinner 16:53, Oct 29, 2004 (UTC)

There is a misunderstanding here. I have no idea if Barthes ever used the term "historical exegesis", but he agreed with the viewpoint and technique. This viewpoint and technique existed, as the article indicates, for hundreds of years before Barthes, and thus in no way represents only a poststructuralist/deconstructionist/critical theory viewpoint or technique. All the article mentions in regards to Barthes is that he agrees with taking "Myths as depictions of historical events." It is not a "distinctly minority viewpoint", rather he is listed as one of many who agree with this viewpoint. I am surprised that we have to argue about this point. Hyacinth 18:41, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Persian mythology

Persian mythology is one of the oldest and richest mythologies of the world. In my opinion it should be added to the template: "Articles related to mythology". You can read more about it here. --Mani1 01:21, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

C. S. Lewis

alright, dreamguy, why is cs lewis "not a good source," considering he was a professor of literature at highly prestigious schools who wrote extensively on the topic of mythology? is it because (GASP!) he was a CHRISTIAN!? Ungtss 20:24, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Because he's not considered notable in the field, at least not in comparison to hundreds of other people that would be better suited to be quoted here. And it's obvious that you are only listing him here because he's the only author even remotely connected to a field you have demonstrated sheer incompetence in on other articles, most likely because he's on your church's approved reading list or something. You're spreading your nonsense so fast that it's time just for damage control at this point. DreamGuy 21:16, Feb 25, 2005 (UTC)
Ungtss, Per Wikipedia:No personal attacks, please do not personally address headings to people on talk pages (see: WP:TALKNO). Article talk pages should be used for discussing the articles, not their contributors. Headings on article talk pages should be used to facilitate discussion by indicating and limiting topics related to the article. For instance, you could make a header whose title describes in a few words one problem you have with the article. This will make it easy for people to address that issue, work towards consensus, and eventually resolve the issue or dispute and improve the article. If you need to reach another user please go to their user talk page. Thanks. Hyacinth 21:29, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)
DreamGuy, do you have a source which contradicts or discredits Lewis? Lewis isn't even mentioned on [[Talk:Deluge (mythology). Hyacinth 21:29, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)
1) grow up. you're acting like a 3-year old, which doesn't reflect well on your academic credentials, to say nothing of your common sense. if you'd like to prove by assertion and authority (which i know you love to do), i'm afraid you'll have to build some credibility first. Ungtss 21:24, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)
2) <<Because he's not considered notable in the field, at least not in comparison to hundreds of other people that would be better suited to be quoted here.>>
got anybody better who defined myth in such a concise and clear way? the article at the moment is intractable -- you leave it not even knowing what a myth is. got anybody better, or just prefer to remove everybody "on my church's approved reading list?" is the information WRONG? is it MISLEADING? does it do any HARM to actually have a concise description of some of the characteristics of myth? Ungtss 21:24, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)
3) I don't go to church. i find it to be an utter waste of time. but not nearly as much of a waste of time as trying to swallow the garbage presented as fact by YOUR ilk. Ungtss 21:24, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Please see Wikipedia's no personal attacks policy. Comment on content, not on the contributor; personal attacks damage the community and deter users. Note that continued personal attacks may lead to blocks for disruption. Please stay cool and keep this in mind while editing. Thank you. Hyacinth 21:34, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)

My apologies. Ungtss 21:39, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Ungtss claimed that CS Lewis "wrote extensively on the topic of mythology" as his supporting evidence. This is untrue, and even if it were true that still wouldn;t establish him as a suspect. Ungtss could sit in a corner and write all about what he thinks Myth means until the cows come home and that wouldn;t make him an expert either. As proof that Ungtss is talking nonsense, go to the C. S. Lewis article and look for evidence of either being an expert on mythology or having written extensively about it. It isn't there, because it never happened. He wrote about religion, and he wrote children's fiction that featured a few creatures from Greek mythology. That does not make someone an expert on mythology, unless you think JK Rowling should also be quoted here as the other major "expert" in the field. The only people who think of him as an expert in the field are those people outside of it, like Ungtss here. DreamGuy 09:19, Feb 27, 2005 (UTC)

reverted again without discussion on the talkpage. that section contains information not mentioned anywhere else on the page -- a breakdown and easy way to understand myths, their characteristics, and what they mean to is. that information is nowhere else on the page. you have provided neither a better explanation, nor a refutation of this one. why are you deleting this section, sir? Ungtss 00:03, 26 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Dreamguy, the first time you reverted saying "Lewis is not a good source," but failed to provide a refutation of him nor provide a better one.

The second time you reverted saying "The information is already on the page," without showing me where or explaining why it was redundent.

this time you reverted saying "editor has a personal grudge against me."


would you care to address the above concerns, dreamguy? Ungtss 18:14, 26 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The quote you removed: "Dreamguy, i don't give a rip about you. ... small wonder i have a grudge against you." pretty much sums that part up... You do have a grudge and you are purposefully changing things to introduce your side. Please note that you never tried to contribute anything here, and admitted you had no knowledge of mythology itself, until you called me uneducated about mythology at Deluge (mythology) talk and used a bad defintiion of myth to try to prove your point and then I responded totally proving you wrong. So you immediately pop over here and try to support yourself so you can further argue on other talk pages and try to put your religious beliefs into more articles.
Further, as explained on the Deluge (mythology) talk page recently to your compatriot in biased editing, assuming good faith DOES NOT MEAN ignoring countless examples of clear bad faith. You are essentially a vandal on these pages, with an anti-scholarly agenda sneaking biased and unknowledgable content in wherever you can.
As already explained, CS Lewis is primarily a religious author. His brand of "mythology" is religious, and done so as apologetics for Christianity in general. Mythology courses don't teach CS Lewis, scholarly mythology books don't reference CS Lewis, the only people who reference CS Lewis are those people who have him on their church-approved reading list.
As far as everyone else here goes, Please take a look at my contribution history (specifically with high-quality information on mythology topics) and take a look at Ungtss' (mainly Creationism) and give the person with prove competency a little credit here. I don;t have the time to endlessly justify every single last thing I do to vandals who never justify their own actions, my main point here is to try to do damage control to prevent someone with a proven bias from doing more damage.One of Wikipedia's great challenges is that people with agendas and no educational background can whine and complain about proving every last detail and harass competent people so that they give up.
DreamGuy 04:35, Feb 27, 2005 (UTC)

Ungtss has a tendency to create new section headers constantly, I think because it makes it look like his side has more support if he starts most of the section headers or something. Anyway. Because they are all part of the same argument that was also above, I consolidated them into one. See above (09:19, Feb 27, 2005) where I point out that Ungtss claims for Lewis' expertise were unsupported and false. So now that that's over with... DreamGuy 09:30, Feb 27, 2005 (UTC)

all should note, mr. dreamguy has yet to address the substance of the text, by either explaining why lewis was wrong, or providing something better. there is absolutely no reason not to have this text here. it's good, and clear, and written by a well-known literature scholar. his deletions thusfar are justified only by ad hominem. Ungtss 18:21, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The quote you removed: "Dreamguy, i don't give a rip about you. ... small wonder i have a grudge against you."
that "..." contains the explanation for the comment. well done taking it out of context, as usual.
Please note that you never tried to contribute anything here, and admitted you had no knowledge of mythology itself
two things patently false. i just DID try to contribute something here, and i NEVER admitted i have no knowledge of mythology. where are you getting this?
until you called me uneducated about mythology at Deluge (mythology) talk and used a bad defintiion of myth to try to prove your point and then I responded totally proving you wrong.
in response to being told i was a religious fundamentalist who should not be permitted to contribute to wikipedia, i used a MAINSTREAM SOCIOLOGICAL definition of myth to prove that you don't know what you're talking about. Ungtss 17:57, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)
So you immediately pop over here and try to support yourself so you can further argue on other talk pages and try to put your religious beliefs into more articles.
Further, as explained on the Deluge (mythology) talk page recently to your compatriot in biased editing, assuming good faith DOES NOT MEAN ignoring countless examples of clear bad faith. You are essentially a vandal on these pages, with an anti-scholarly agenda sneaking biased and unknowledgable content in wherever you can.
i see that adding cited quotes from published works by literature scholars has become vandalism. good. Ungtss 17:57, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)
As already explained, CS Lewis is primarily a religious author. His brand of "mythology" is religious, and done so as apologetics for Christianity in general
his book "experiment in criticism" (from which this text was taken) had NOTHING to do with religion -- it was about learning how to read literature well. he was a literature professor who wrote on THAT topic extensively. on what basis Ungtss 17:57, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Mythology courses don't teach CS Lewis, scholarly mythology books don't reference CS Lewis, the only people who reference CS Lewis are those people who have him on their church-approved reading list.
that's a very cute pov. what does it have to do with anything? Ungtss 17:57, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)
As far as everyone else here goes, Please take a look at my contribution history (specifically with high-quality information on mythology topics) and take a look at Ungtss' (mainly Creationism) and give the person with prove competency a little credit here. I don;t have the time to endlessly justify every single last thing I do to vandals who never justify their own actions, my main point here is to try to do damage control to prevent someone with a proven bias from doing more damage.One of Wikipedia's great challenges is that people with agendas and no educational background can whine and complain about proving every last detail and harass competent people so that they give up.
DreamGuy 04:35, Feb 27, 2005 (UTC)
well done with the appeal to authority and ad hominem. but you STILL haven't explained why this text is harmful or inaccurate in any way, or provided a superior alternative. you are very explicitly cutting him out because he's a christian. that, sir, is disgusting. Ungtss 17:57, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Ungtss has a tendency to create new section headers constantly, I think because it makes it look like his side has more support if he starts most of the section headers or something. Anyway. Because they are all part of the same argument that was also above, I consolidated them into one. See above (09:19, Feb 27, 2005) where I point out that Ungtss claims for Lewis' expertise were unsupported and false. So now that that's over with... DreamGuy 09:30, Feb 27, 2005 (UTC)

section headings are for claity, dreamguy. they make articles readable. you've again proven by assertion without factual basis. he was a literature professor and wrote on the topic. why mustn't he be included? Ungtss 17:57, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)

for examples of my highly biased and low quality editing, consider my projects Influence of Hellenic philosophy on Christianity, Arguments for eternity, and Development of religion, and Liquefaction. yep. that's a man with nothing to contribute to wikipedia. a fundamentalist vandel. Ungtss 18:04, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I once again removed the pointless section headers Ungtss piut in to try to open more arguments on the same topics, and note that he just goes on repeating the same false claims. Fact: C.S. Lewis is not considered an expert in mythology. Fact: He wrote about religion, not mythology. Fact: Ungtss has yet to give any reason to believe otherwise, except for his word that he considers him an expert who wrote extensively on the topic. That doesn't cut it.

And, it's funny actually, the articles Ungtss points to to try to prove his worth on Wikipedia go a long way toward proving my point: that he has no knowledge about mythology and that he is only here to slip his Creationist beliefs into the encyclopedia. For anyone unfamiliar with him, you might also check out Creationism, Flood geology and Deluge (mythology), where he is engaged with wars on multiple fronts to add pseudoscience everywhere under the guise of true knowledge that arrogant scholarly types refuse to admit, and so forth and so on. There is a long strong of people who are sick to death of his pitbull antics and blatant bias. DreamGuy 03:50, Feb 28, 2005 (UTC)

Please refrain from commenting on User:Ungtss here. If you have a problem with user's behaviour go to Wikipedia:Requests for comment#General user conduct. Hyacinth 04:28, 28 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Hello, Hyacinth. I understand the sentiment, but since Ungtss's first comment here was to personally attack me and the edit being discussed was a result of an argument on another article talk page, explaining the situation seemed relevant. But then since the other editors here making changes to the article or adding comments since the controversy started have not reverted back to Ungtss' version since I more fully explained C.S. Lewis' lack of credentials, by our actions it looks like we are agreeing that his edits do not belong here, which I guess is all that matters at this point. DreamGuy 11:35, Feb 28, 2005 (UTC)
There is no excuse for personal attacks, even personal attacks. Hyacinth 01:33, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)

It isn't there, because it never happened. He [Lewis] wrote about religion, and he wrote children's fiction that featured a few creatures from Greek mythology. That does not make someone an expert on mythology, unless you think JK Rowling should also be quoted here as the other major "expert" in the field. The only people who think of him as an expert in the field are those people outside of it, like Ungtss here.

You must refrain from commenting on any editors, including Ungtss.
Please Wikipedia:Sign your posts on talk pages. Hyacinth 01:33, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Actually, I have been signing posts, somewhere in the constant editing, it got removed. See Revision as of 03:19, Feb 27, 2005 for the signature I put there. DreamGuy 01:54, Mar 1, 2005 (UTC)
No problem then, it happens. Sorry. Hyacinth 06:15, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)


dreamguy's arguments thusfar have been SOLELY ad hominem, against me and against lewis, but NONE of them have gone to the content of the passage. dreamguy, what is WRONG with that text? is it not accurate? is it not true? are there others who would say he was wrong? who? why? are there BETTER sources you can cite who give "characteristics of myth?" your attacks on me are irrelevent. your attacks on lewis are groundless (the quoted book was EXCLUSIVELY about literary criticism and myth, and NOTHING about religion, and if you read any lewis, you'd realize he was an atheist for the first 30-odd years, and wrote a LOT of non-"religious" material about literary criticism, and myth). you have DELETED a good piece of text that provides information provided nowhere else. to justify your deletion, please either show why the information is WRONG, or provide a BETTER SOURCE. your feelings about me are irrelevent. this is about the text. Ungtss 13:45, 28 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Concerning the C.S. Lewis "characteristics", my impression is that at the point in the article where they are presented, they seem a non-sequitur, as if they were just plopped into the beginning of the article. If the six characteristics are intended as the necessary and sufficient conditions for a narrative to be a "myth" -- as the definining characteristics of "myth" -- I find them perplexing and unhelpful. They seem at best to be six miscellaneous observations about myths, and not so self-evidently true that they can be presented without supporting examples and argument. Why these six particular characteristics, anyway? Are all myths supposed to have them? Is any narrative with these six characteristics a "myth"? They do not strike one as the intutive, fundamental, "axioms" of a theory of mythology. As for whether, as observations, they are even true, I do not know, but I have no reason to think so: one would have to check them against a very wide set of examples from many different cultures that are agreed to be "myths". If C. S. Lewis is not an recognized expert on myths, I would not take it on his authority that they are true. And, if he is not a recognized expert, the six characteristics don't merit this degree of prominence in the article, or perhaps any mention at all. --BM 18:44, 28 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I am curious by what standard an Oxford professor of literature cannot be considered an authority on myths. Snowspinner 19:30, Feb 28, 2005 (UTC)
Oxford professors of literature probably know more about myths than Oxford professors of physics do, but literature is a broad subject, and mythology is a specialty. Lewis' academic specialty was late medieval and Renaissance literature, and later in his career he was a Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge. But he is known mainly for his fiction (where, in some works, he borrowed from mythology), and his religious writings. --BM 20:03, 28 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Since medieval and renaissance literature has a fairly high mythological content, I'm having trouble with the removal - particular with several editors arguing for inclusion. Lewis is certainly a valid POV to represent. If there are other views you want represented, particularly opposition to Lewis... add them. Snowspinner 20:18, Feb 28, 2005 (UTC)
So any *literature* professor is considered important enough to be listed as *defining* what *mythology* is? That doesn't sound like a reasonable standard. Being familiar with mythological allusions in Renaissnce literature in no way makes him capable of defining what myth is and is not. DreamGuy 02:16, Mar 1, 2005 (UTC)
As I argued above, the case against the quote is not only Lewis' status as an expert, or lack thereof, but that the quote is a non-sequitur in the context where it was placed. An article needs to be a bit more coherent than a series of quotes about myth from any professor with some claim to authority on the subject, until we get to the 32K limit. What is the significance of these six so-called characteristics of myth? And what role do they play near the introduction to the article? This article was already not very coherent before the Lewis quote was plopped into the beginning of it for who knows what reason. --BM 20:37, 28 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Incidentally, in rereading this Talk page, I don't see any other editors arguing for inclusion of Lewis' six characteristics, besides Ungtss. I do see that Hyacinth has requested DreamGuy for a source regarding his claims concerning Lewis' authority. Incidentally, regarding this request, I think Hyacinth has it the wrong way round. If challenged (as he has been), the burden is really on Ungtss to produce citations establishing Lewis as an authority on mythology. The burden is not on people protesting his inclusion to prove that he is not an authority. And I'm afraid I'm not impressed with your argument that being an expert on medieval and renaissance literature necessarily makes Lewis such an expert on mythology that others are compelled to take his sweeping generalizations about myths on authority. --BM 20:58, 28 Feb 2005 (UTC)
BM is correct, I have not argued for the inclusion of the material. However, I feel BM is incorrect that the burden of proof falls to an editor that has contributed content, however poor and whatever that editors intentions, and not on someone who removes that uncited content, as is most content on Wikipedia, and gives as reasons personal attacks against the first contributor.
I find it distressing that a contributor who has provided a source would now be required to provide three more regarding the first while being personally attacked by someone who has contributed no sources to the dispute. Hyacinth 01:26, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Thank you. It means a lot to hear you say that. However, I'll leave the fate of this text in the hands of you and the other editors of the page, because I've decided to leave wikipedia after 6 months of unending conflicts of this type. I wish you all the best. Ungtss 01:29, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
What, I find distressing, Hyacinth, is your repeated claim that Ungtss has proivided a source and that I haven't. Ungtss has not provided a source. I showed the C.S. Lewis article, in which Lewis lacks any expertise on myth. I asked you to name the source (somewhere above and your talk page, I believe) and you haven't explained. Further, Ungtss is asking me to prove a negative... that someone is not an expert. As I explained on your talk page, it's not like I can just show you 100 books and point out that CS Lewis is not in the bibliography. So, the ball is in your court. If you don't personally feel that's enough of a clear indication of Lewis' lack of note and reliability, make a suggestion on how someone can prove to your personal satisfaction. It's not a matter of not willing to provide source, it's amatter of already having done so and willing to do more but being ignored to this point. DreamGuy 02:01, Mar 1, 2005 (UTC)
I was hoping for a source which contradicted Lewis. This would make the issue of whether or not he is notable negligable because the content would be proved inreliable.
Given my requirement for you to prove a negative (though it would be a simple case of establishing credentials for notable sources on myths and showing that Lewis lacked them, such as a degree in myths, or a strange myth-studies apprenticeship, or certificate stating one is mythknowledable, I obviously have no idea), and the mounting consensus, I would support the deletion of the material. However, since the argument is also related to the presentation of the information and had nothing to do with its accuracy, I would ask for a rewrite, by any editor, which A) makes the section flow with the article, B) indicates CS Lewis' relation to myths. Barring this rewrite, I support its deletion.
Regarding the CS Lewis article as a source for this one, Wikipedia is not an appropriate "source" for itself. Just because a Wikipedia article doesn't say something doesn't mean its not the most important fact about that article's subject. The opposite may be true: I come across articles which discuss the topic in detail without any introduction or explination of what it is.
For future disputes, what are appropriate ways to prove a sources notability? Surely to be allowed as a source for "myth" on Wikipedia one need not be a professor of mythology? This would ban even Freud, who is a notable and entertaining source. See: Wikipedia talk:Importance#Sources. Hyacinth 03:17, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I don't know if there is amn easily defined standard, but if the purpose is quoting someone on the definition of the term, that individual ought to be highly respected and sourced by other scholarly published references in the field. To use your example, Freud, although he may be entertaining, certainly would not count as notable for defining a field other than psychoanalysis and its offshoots (say, dream analysis or something along those lines). DreamGuy 03:32, Mar 1, 2005 (UTC)
See my response at Wikipedia_talk:Importance#Sources. May I copy your comment (directly above) there? Hyacinth 06:12, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Feel free (and feel free to switch the "amn" to "an" as well). DreamGuy 08:20, Mar 1, 2005 (UTC)

Would be nice to have an article about a heroic myth. --Eleassar777 09:32, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

Explanation of latest tweaks

From folklorists' perspectives, the term myth has very defined criteria, including the fact that myths are sacred and believed as true. There were some sloppy uses of terms like "legend" and "secular mythology" in this article that I have tried to alter. I need to go back and compare this to the mythology entry. There's much more discussion to be added here, not only about different genres of myths, but about schools of thought. Campbell is highly controversial, as are Freud and Jung who are not even mentioned here (and myth played a big role in psychoanalysis and the early days of dream analysis in psychoanalytic thought). The other thing I want to echo in the discussion from above here, is that all sacred traditions have myths. The major religions would use the word pejoratively, as in "they [usually colonized peoples] have their myths, we [usually colonizing peoples] have our religion," but the processes of sacred traditions and narrative in that sense are the same whether cultures are "preliterate" (as the article used to read) or complex. That's why the variable about how much people believe in the truth of their sacred narratives becomes critical, and threatening when one attacks another tradition by dismissing it as a mere myth. Also, I added links to folklore and folkloristics, and removed social psychology. I've studied both, and there's no study of myth in social psychology, although there was (and may still be) a great deal in other subfields of psychology, such as clinical and analytical. Bruxism 23:59, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Believed to be true

Do myths need to be belelieved by the people telling the myth, the people listening to the myth, or both? Cites please. Hipocrite 18:06, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

People telling the myth, it's the academic definition. We already went over this on the Mythology article. Try Webster's or any academic book on the topic, for starters. If they don't believe it's true then it's just fiction, which is a completely different animal and we might as well not even talk about myths. DreamGuy 18:15, August 23, 2005 (UTC)

Cite please. If I go look at Webster's, and it's not in there, can we take it out of the article? I want something that ends the discussion, cold. Hipocrite 18:17, 23 August 2005 (UTC)


JDR 21:36, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

Dictionaries' attitude to "myth"

I would think it is a bit unfair to claim the "most" or "nearly all" dictionaries actively support the rather narrow idea that a "myth" is essentially just a "non-truth". Oxford, who produce "the world's most trusted dictionaries", gives that definition as secondary, and the primary one is "a traditional story concerning the early history of a people or explaining a natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events". Webster Online says first "a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon" and gives as a minor, secondary sub-definition of the second definition "an unfounded or false notion". I think if we said that some dictionaries make reference to this rather colloquial notion that a myth is basically a false belief, it would be acceptible. I do not want to become involved in yet another edit war over the definition of the word "myth[ology]", so I will see what others think here before making the necessary changes. elvenscout742 19:45, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

lead section

I have changed the definition of mythology in the lead section. My sources are as follows:

According to the Encyclopædia Britannica article Mythology:

In the distant past, however, before any sciences existed, the beginnings of the world and of society were explained by mythology. /…/ How comprehensive a developed mythology could become was given written expression in Greece by Hesiod. [3]

According to the MSN Encarta article Mythology:

Mythology, the body of myths of a particular culture, and the study and interpretation of such myths. /…/ The term mythology might include all traditional tales, from the creation stories of ancient Egypt to the sagas of Icelandic literature to the American folktale of Paul Bunyan. [4]

According to H. R. Ellis Davidson in Gods and Myths of Northern Europe:

A mythology is the comment of one particular age or civilization on the mysteries of human existence and human mind …

According to the American Heritage Dictionary:

Mythology 1. a. A body or collection of myths belonging to a people and addressing their origin, history, deities, ancestors, and heroes. b. A body of myths associated with an event, individual, or institution: "A new mythology, essential to the . . . American funeral rite, has grown up" (Jessica Mitford). 2. The field of scholarship dealing with the systematic collection and study of myths. [5]

According to the Merriam-Webster:

Mythology: 1 : an allegorical narrative 2 : a body of myths : as a : the myths dealing with the gods, demigods, and legendary heroes of a particular people b : mythos 2 <cold war mythology> 3 : a branch of knowledge that deals with myth [6]

--Salleman 08:59, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

Well, good. I approve wholeheartedly of this change. elvenscout742 23:33, 1 October 2005 (UTC)