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Occidental Mythology (Masks of God) Paperback – November 1, 1991
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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.Read more ›
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).Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Perhaps I'm just getting more used to Joseph Campbell's writing style, perhaps it's just that The Masks of God has shifted to a religious tradition with which I am very familiar... Read morePublished 5 months ago by 500 Books
It is very hard to understand all but one of the questions asked about this book, which is why I only answered one of them. Amazon.com, this isn't a novel. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Alan Lewis
It is a must-have book for all who is interested in history of art, religion, folklore.Published 7 months ago by Andrei Nikonov
The book was not quite what I expected. To me it was more a book on anthropology than anything else. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Andrew Whalen
Talk about clearing up His-Story! This book sure crumbles the myths. It's very dense reading but well worth it
If you can get it, get it. Read more
The Masks of God, volume 3.
Campbell turns his eye to the Western portion of the Old World, to Classical, Celtic, Norse, Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian and Islamic... Read more