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Mythos II: The Shaping of Our Mythic Tradition

4.8 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In this PBS series hosted by actress Susan Sarandon, one of the most influential thinkers of our time sums up his life's work. Those enchanted by what The Power of Myth introduced will find even more the savor in these remarkable lectures, the second title in a series posting robust sales. Campbell examines the core myths of the great Asian religions, with special focus on Buddhism, yoga, enlightenment, and transcendence. Programs include The Inward Path, Enlightened One, Our Eternal Selves, The Way to Illumination, and The Experience of God .

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Joseph Campbell, the late mythologist who became a household name among public television viewers in the 1980s, embarked on a series of final lectures for TV audiences before his death. Joseph Campbell: Mythos II is part of that effort, with a special emphasis on the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. Campbell begins the five programs on this two-disc set by reminding us that the purpose of myths is to relate human beings to their world. Early myths, says Campbell, connect humans to their place in the plant and animal world; later myths relate human society to the workings of astronomical cycles. It's an evolving process. When we're in accord with nature, says Campbell, we reap nature's bounty. Hinduism and Buddhism are both efforts to relate people to their place in a cycle of existence that does not end until one transcends that cycle. Hinduism, Campbell says, is to Buddhism as Judaism is to Christianity: the older religions are traditions, while Buddhism and Christianity are "credo religions," i.e., newer, "I believe" faith systems. Campbell spends some time discussing the development of Buddhism from monastic beginnings to its later appeal to millions of people, from an era of no images of the Buddha to the creation of beautiful sculptures of him immersed in transcendent consciousness. Campbell goes on to discuss, at length, the workings of yoga and their connection to increasingly sophisticated orders of love. (He also explains why the lowest cakras--pronounced "chakras"--are ruled by Dharma.) Finally, Campbell explains why the moment of death is the moment of illumination in Buddhism, and why the Boddhisatva of Compassion (i.e,, the Dalai Lama to some people) is so important. This is a wonderful collection underscoring how unique Campbell was to a Western understanding of the role of myths in our lives. --Tom Keogh

Special Features

  • The programs: The Inward Path, Enlightened One, Our Eternal Selves, The Way to Illumination, The Experience of God

Product Details

  • Actors: Joseph Campbell
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Acacia
  • DVD Release Date: April 29, 2008
  • Run Time: 282 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0013F60G4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,176 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mythos II: The Shaping of Our Mythic Tradition" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This second set is, in my opinion, more interesting than than vol 1. His lectures on chakras and the tibetan book of the dead or just wonderful stuff. Too bad the JC foundation has no lectures of his perseptions of james Joyce on film or video [they do have a good book however] but his A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake: Unlocking James Joyce's Masterwork ranks as one of the finest "translations" on that tome and the last volumn of the Masks of God is incredable. You will not be dissapointed in this series and since less than a year ago the set was going for as high as 100.00, its a bargan!! Susan Saraden does an good job in her seques. This is not the place to blab about JC and his thoughts but I find that I go back and watch this series often and hear something new as I grow through the stages of my life- a constant source of thought provoking and inspiration and a remarkable look at human consciousness. If you have an open mind, this will expand it.
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I first encountered Joseph Campbell on the PBS series The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers in 1988, as did many people. I was questioning my protestant upbringing and that series was like a thunderbolt coming out of the blue for me. What impressed me the most with The Power of Myth was the reaction of Moyers, a longtime Baptist minister, to Campbell's analysis. He was at first shocked, then disbelieving and finally accepting of Campbell's views. Unfortunately that DVD is no longer in print, but I still have the book.
The Mythos DVD set is a series of lectures given just before Campbell's death. Mythos I is a good introduction to mythology, but Mythos II gets right to the heart of comparative religion.
Campbell's main point is that religious ideas are valuable as myth, but when they are turned into doctrines they are harmful. For example, when Christian fundamentalists deny Darwin and evolution because the bible says the Earth was created in 6 days, they are turning a myth into doctrine and in the process are denying the best scientific theory we have. As myth the creation story is valuable, but as doctrine it is a disaster.
In Mythos II Campbell examines Buddhism and Hinduism in depth and compares them with Judaism, Christianity, and other religions. This is a set, released last year in HD, that is worth watching many times.
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As I watch this very engaging group of lectures, I am amazed at how much Joseph Campbell brings to his subjects that is of his own experience. For example, his lectures on Kundalini Yoga are, as far as I know, unique and unprecedented. I went back and read Sir John Woodroffe's classic works on Tantra and Kundalini Yoga, and nowhere in those texts is there the symbolic and psychological understanding and elucidation that Campbell exhibits in his discussion, all of which is so valuable to Western individuals. He does this by referring to our Western systems and correlating them appropriately with some of the major aspects of the Indian experience-system. This comparative method sheds enormous light on what perhaps would otherwise be a very cryptic and obscure set philosophical ideas. Even Carl Jung in his seminar on this topic did not achieve the sort of comprehensive point of reference that Campbell does. So we ought to appreciate Campbell's contribution to Western spiritual development, for a highly understandable, accessible and meaningful translation of Eastern ideas. All the lectures in this series are packed with his experience-based insights, and therefore I strongly recommend this DVD set.
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I have to concur with other reviewers - I found Campbell's lecture very interesting, but the interludes by Susan Sarandon were just plain annoying.

Campbell's lecture was unscripted and "off the cuff", but years of oration shows in a compelling delivery. Susan's sounded liked she was reading a children's book to the viewer.

Perhaps the producers thought they needed to "dumb-down" the content while featuring some celebrity talent to help sell the video.

Nothing against Susan Sarandon, people! A lovely lady and a fine actress. But her inclusion in this video seemed awkward and unnecessary to me.
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This ia an outstanding compilation of mythological concepts that explore the very nature of our own humanity.
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Everyone should listen to his understanding of mythology and our human journey to using myths to express what is in truth - a reality that can never be encapsulated into words. Words can only point to this reality. The only way this reality can be expressed is the way it is expressing - as you, me, and the universe.
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I seen this about a 100 times, but I bought it so I could hear Mr. Campbell over and over again. Knowing he is there, and I can listen to him anytime I want is priceless. I will make sure I buy all his DVD's on Amazon.
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I love Joseph Campbell. I didn't give this DVD 5 stars mainly because I found the constant intrusion by Susan Sarandon to be extremely annoying. I'm assuming it's the script she is reading, but she comes across as very condescending. It would be a much much better video without her.
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