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Occidental Mythology: The Masks of God, Volume III (Englisch) Taschenbuch – Rauer Buchschnitt, 1. November 1991

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  • Taschenbuch: 576 Seiten
  • Verlag: Penguin Books; Auflage: Reissue (1. November 1991)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 014019441X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140194418
  • Vom Hersteller empfohlenes Alter: Ab 18 Jahren
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13,8 x 2,4 x 21,4 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
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"I consider this, as his other books, of outstanding importance and scholarship, clarity and depth. I believe that anyone truly interested in the sience of man … will find these books a wealth of data, penetratingly analyzed and written in such a way that he has the chance of digesting them in his own manner."
—Erich Fromm


This volume comprises a comparison of the themes that underlie the art, worship and literature of the Western world.

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The geographical divide between the Oriental and Occidental ranges of myth and ritual is the tableland of Iran. Lesen Sie die erste Seite
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Ein Kunde am 28. November 1998
Format: Taschenbuch
I cannot overrate the depth & breadth of Campbell's insights.This book is at once visionary and scholarly, passionate and detached:in sum, it reveals the powerful (under)currents that helped to shape our minds and hearts into what we are. From Persia and Israel, from Greece and Rome, through the crucible of Norse and Irish mythologies of the Middle Ages-this book ends with Zarathustra's words "By my love and my hope I beseech you-do not forsake hero in your soul!"
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78 von 80 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Tells a Great Story! 18. August 2003
Von Jay A. Allen - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
Religion in the West is the story of the battle between immanence (God as present in and suffusing the existence of the world) and transcendence (God as removed from and greater than existence). OCCIDENTAL MYTHOLOGY, Volume III in Campbell's MASKS OF GOD series, tells this story: how Western mythology turned slowly away from polytheism, the transcending of duality, and God's immanence, and toward monotheism, the ontology of duality, and God's transcendence.
Before tackling Christianity, Campbell spends several chapters on its predecessor faiths. We see how Judaism emerges from the scraps of the so-called Jahwist (J), Priestly (P) and Elohim (E) texts, and how the priests who pooled these various tales together created a single mythology for the Hebrew people. Campbell spends a fair clip on the subject of Freud's MOSES AND MONOTHEISM: Did the Great Prophet really exist, and if so, was he Egyptian or Hebrew?
Campbell seems to detour when he takes up the Greek and Roman religions, but we soon realize that it's not as much of a detour as we have fancied. Campbell, following Jane Ellen Harrison's PROLEGOMENA TO THE STUDY OF GREEK RELIGION, argues that Greek mythology began as a group of Goddess-centric mystery cults (of which the Eleusinian, Orphic and Dionysian traditions became the last remaining vestages), and that beginning with Homer, the Greeks edged closer to a monotheistic, paternalistic religion; Zeus' slaughtering of the Titans, the children of the Earth Goddess Gaia, is symbolic of this conquest, and Campbell points out the parallels to the Babylonian God Marduk's slaying of Tiamat, and Yahweh's conquest of the sea-serpent Leviathan. This conquest of the Goddess is driven, Campbell argues, by the rise of the warrior-king - conquerers like Babylon's Hammurabi who used religion to give their invasions the imprimatur of Heaven, necessitating that their faith serve as man's "One True Religion". The Greeks, however, managed to avoid such dogmatism, their religion kept sober by the cool light of reason, bringing a detente between religion and science which has been repeated in few cultures since.
Campbell spends a number of pages on Zoroastrianism. Unlike the Jewish tradition, in which both good and evil flow from God, the prophecies of Zoroaster cast reality as a battle between Ahura Mazda's forces of Light and Angra Mainyu's forces of Darkness - a battle which would end in a single tumultuous war with the triumph of Ahura Mazda. Zoroaster set the stage for the Jewish doomsday cult of the Essenes, and for the foremost apocalyptic prophet of the era: Jesus of Nazareth. We see the message of Christ evolve as it flows through Paul, and then through the councils of the 3rd-5th centuries A.D. Along the way, Campbell delights us with more of his lateral thinking, detailing how the myth of the Disappearing God appears both in the stories of Jesus' resurrection as well as the sudden evaporation of Romulus, the founder of Rome.
In documenting the rise of Christianity, Campbell also shows us all the "heresies" that we lost: the Greek and Roman pantheons; Gnosticism, a "Buddhism for the West", with Christ assuming the role of Shakyamuni; the minor doctrincal differences regarding reincarnation and the bodily existence of Christ that were converted into high crimes. The book finishes with a chapter on Islam, in which Campbell brings the remarkable rise of Mohammed's prophecy to life, and shows how the tradition of immanence nearly lost with the suppression of Gnosticism and the Grecian mystery cults managed to live on in the works of the great poets of Sufism.
While I love the MASKS OF GOD books, and find them a gentle read, the pages upon pages of stone carvings, bas-reliefs and statues can quickly wear down the eyes and the mind. Campbell keeps the pace brisk, but this is still not a book you read in a single sitting. While Freud, Jung and Nietschze make their obligatory appearances, Campbell keeps the psychological theorizing in this volume to a minimum, content to let history tell its own story.
Many Christian authors have accused Campbell of blaming Judaism and Christianity for all the world's ills. But Campbell does the exact opposite: He shows how these religions were part of an inexorable - and, perhaps, inevitable - shift in the religious thinking of the West. This won't satisfy Christian traditionalists bent of proving the "uniqueness" of Christianity, but it will delight students of comparative mythology who seek to understand how religion became a tool of oppression.
53 von 56 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Complex and rewarding read...... 16. Mai 2004
Von Dianne Foster - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
When Joseph Campbell died, we lost a treasure. Campbell spent years building his vast knowledge of myths and thankfully, committed much of his distilled knowledge to writing. OCCIDENTAL MYTHOLOGY is one of three major works the author compiled about the history of the myth and is part of the THE MASKS OF GOD series. In OM Campbell reinforces the compelling case he made to Bill Moyers and through his writing, that we need to look beyond the masks if we would truly know `the thing that stands behind'. In the`Masks of the Gods'series, Campbell synthesizes much of the archeological, linguistic, and theological material discovered and analyzed in the 20th Century, to elaborate and modify many themes found in Sir James Frazier's GOLDEN BOUGH written almost a century earlier.
Campbell organizes his series historically across space, showing how the beliefs of one age and place influenced those of another. In OM he discusses in great depth and with scholarly wisdom how the religions of the Levant were shaped by internal and external forces, and how in turn religious movements that originated in the Middle East interacted with the beliefs of the various peoples of Europe. Religious beliefs apparently do not travel one-way. Among other aspects of religious transmission, Campbell discusses the process of `mythological defamation' the priests of newer religions employ to attempt to demonize the old religions. Using art forms such as statuary and painting, Campbell also demonstrates how themes and ideas from older religions survive in the guise of the newer religion as elements of the older religion become incorporated into the newer religion (if you can't demonize it, incorporate it). Some of the more interesting transformations in the West involve the snake, the Goddess, and the risen Lord, which have an ancient history.
After revealing how the attributes of one religion after another became incorporated in a succeeding religion (Christianity and Islam are covered), Campbell summarizes his thesis. It seems a core theological issues is this: If a Higher Power exists, is it (he/she) transcendent or immanent? The transcendent God is "out there" while the immanent God is "down here". In other words is God, part of his or her creation? Thousands of people have died fighting over this and other difficult questions.
46 von 50 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The Passion of the Western Soul 28. November 1998
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
I cannot overrate the depth & breadth of Campbell's insights.This book is at once visionary and scholarly, passionate and detached:in sum, it reveals the powerful (under)currents that helped to shape our minds and hearts into what we are. From Persia and Israel, from Greece and Rome, through the crucible of Norse and Irish mythologies of the Middle Ages-this book ends with Zarathustra's words "By my love and my hope I beseech you-do not forsake hero in your soul!"
20 von 22 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A fitting conclusions 3. Oktober 2003
Von Avid Reader - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
Occidental mythology developed into the three major monotheistic religions that dominate the West - Islam, Christianity and in particular, Judaism. The role of the divine in the Western psyche has evolved from the Primitive, flirted with the multi-dimensional gods and goddesses of the East before settling down to a one God belief. (Although one would have question how the idea of a Trinity fits in with that belief.)
The notions of sacrifice and redemption are heard throughout the saga, with many religions, lost sects and heresies sharing a similiar prophecy - that a Messiah would come who would lead them to victory. But before this was another belief-the eternal battle between good and evil. Perhaps the hardest idea for Monotheists is the notion of singular God and the presence of evil. This required the invention of yet another divinity - one that is evil.
Campbell traces the origins of Christianity, its strains and morphing theology. Along the was and from an Arian strain of Christianity (which virtually rejected the oneness of a Trinity) arose Islam, a warrior religion that originally worshipped a desert rock. The Kaaba, this rock, is still an object of adoration for Muslims and is circled by pilgrims annually. The ideas of sacrifice and atonement by at first an animal, then a person, had ancient origins - the sacrifice of the one for the many - well before Christian times.
Campbell continually tries to show the parallels between our modern religions and the now-forgotten rituals and beliefs that became universally imbedded in the Occidental mind.
6 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The role of myth in the history of the Middle East and Europe 19. September 2006
Von K.S.Ziegler - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
One topic from PRIMITIVE MYTHOLOGY, the first volume of the MASKS OF GOD, that is especially prominent in the beginning of this volume concerns the mythology of the Earth Goddess reaching back to the Bronze Age. Primitive agriculture spread within the broad zone but first developed in the Middle East, and the myths that come out of that time represent an endless cycle of life and death, growth and decay, in which everything is renewed as in the obvious phases of the moon, in the endless reappearance of the sun. The force of this growth and renewal is necessarily female, of the goddess, and the items that appear in the artifacts dating from this time concern the serpent, the tree, the moon, and include signs of both human and animal sacrifice for the purpose of ensuring fertility.

In contrast with the female element in primitive agriculture is the masculine emphasis of the tribesman and herdsman of the Iron Age. With weapons newly acquired, pastoral warriors sought to extend their power. The ascent of the Mesopotamian god Marduk, in his victory over the goddess-mother Tiamat, parallels the rise of the invader Hammurabi. The patriarchal society that now evolves includes such people as the Hebrews, wanderers of the desert.

As much as the Hebrews have been a center of attention, life did not originate with them and the Old Testament. First came a long history leading up to their arrival, in which civilization began in the Middle East, including a goddess centered mythology and, notably, the foundation of the written word. Scholarship reveals that there were multiple texts that first existed from which the Old Testament was constructed, and two mythologies can clearly be discerned that were blended together to form the creation myth in Genesis. The ancient symbols of the serpent and the tree appear, but here, instead of a divinity that encompasses the force that is in all nature, the divinity is seen as being totally separate and apart, transcendent and at the same time omniscient; and by man's deeds and woman's temptation, human kind is rendered into an alienated, sinful state, in which everything is either a blessing or a curse from God.

Contrary to the Old Testament, the goddess and nature were not reduced to insignificance by the Greeks and Romans. The forces of nature are clearly apparent in Greek myths, and the goddesses, though overshadowed by Zeus and the heroic male, played prominent roles. Rather than having the effect of denigrating nature as being corrupt, the Greek myths encouraged those with an inquiring mind to seek knowledge about the world and ask fundamental questions about life. As a result, at the time of the Greeks, there was a flowering of philosophic inquiry and great strides made in mathematics and science, some of which would not be resumed for almost another two millennium.

With the advent of Christianity, the theology of immanence, as evident in the Roman pantheon or Gnosticism or the mystery cults, falls by the wayside. The author explains three major views that contended for the orthodoxy of the early Christian church: the view of the Jewish Christians that the Messiah meant a restoration and glorification of Israel; the view of the Gnostics that took an entirely different line from the Jewish tradition and emphasized knowledge; and the Marcion view that held that the Old Testament God had created evil and Jesus was the saviour sent by a higher God. What won out as set down by the powers of the early Church made the New Testament a fulfillment of the Old, and stirred in among other elements the Zoroastrian idea of the final judgement day. Rather than incorporating many different views, the early Church, starting with Paul, took a narrow view of rigid consensus and eventually everything else was considered a heresy.

All the elements of Islam, according to the author, continue in the Zoroastrian-Jewish-Christian legacy. His statement - "The mask of God named Allah is a product of the same desert from which the mask Yahweh had come centuries before" - is very interesting in light of the ongoing turmoil in the Mideast. Both Jewish law and Islamic law derive from the same place and both come from a transcendent God of the same forebears. In Islam, the consensus of the clergy in determining laws was derived from the Word of God and became rigid doctrine that had no basis for dissent or change. There were three principle derivations of law: Sunni, Shi'a and Sufi.

The goal in this study (in my reading and in what I see as Joseph Campbell's pursuit) is to gain a sober assessment of the origins of religious and philosophic views of the Occident; to see its mythology for the metaphor that it is and not to grasp it tightly as if it were simply factual. The myths of the ancient world never seem transparent; they open up a study of surprising depth. Reading them is like being confronted with a puzzle in which the solution is never unarguable or definite. The comparative part of mythology helps in this regard. In this book the author draws heavily and enlarges on material from the previous two volumes. There is much to consider in comparing the Occident with the Orient.
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