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Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Metaphor Hardcover – October 10, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
This collection of essays, lectures and discussions will delight both avid Campbell disciples eager for more of his thoughts and newcomers to his work on comparative mythology and religion. It is also a quick refresher course on some of Campbell's ideas about the Judeo-Christian tradition for those who have encountered him in his well-known Hero with a Thousand Faces or in his popular television series on the power of myth with Bill Moyers. This is not the polished writing of a scholar systematically presenting an argument. Rather, editor Kennedy urges the reader to approach this collection "as one would the classroom, or the study" in order to better enjoy the more energetic and spontaneous "master teacher" side of Campbell. The effect is to take the reader on a romp through the Judeo-Christian tradition a lightning-paced tour with an extremely knowledgeable and provocative guide to illuminate some intriguing, untrammeled paths. The most abiding theme of this collection is that Western religious traditions have suffered from taking their stories and symbols literally instead of metaphorically. Some chapters are dense with ideas and call for careful reading, while other sections are breathtakingly clear in describing mind-opening concepts. In either case, this is a book that will stretch readers to reconsider their interpretation of the stories and symbols of faith and the relationship between personal spirituality and institutional religion. (Oct. 15)Forecast: Although Campbell died in 1987, there is still tremendous interest in his work, which bodes well for this title, the first in New World Library's Collected Works of Joseph Campbell series. The book will have a 25,000-copy first printing and will be advertised in Utne Reader, New Age, Tricycle, Shambhala Sun and elsewhere.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Any book by Campbell must attract the attention of a broad public, given not only the continued success of his Hero with a Thousand Faces but also his series of televised interviews with Bill Moyers. This volume has been rather carefully assembled from his notes and concludes with a brief interview with Eugene Kennedy. While there are no revelations here, Campbell continues his forays into archetypal and Jungian readings of the motifs of world religions. For most collections.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book brings mysticism into scientific Atheism and helps people accept religion as mythology. Joseph explains how religions share similar archetypes, while being completely different. The source of these religions entered man's imagination from the same infinite mystery; the way the religions where interpreted was based on the persons scientific understanding of that time and place.
Joseph Campbell teaches that the insistence upon believing any religious metaphor is to confuse the purpose of a myth. Instead of putting our beliefs in the denotation (the factual truth) we are meant to realize the connotation (the transcendent truth to which the myth points). As the Buddha reportedly said, pointing to the Moon, "My hand is not the Moon." Myths are pointers to the truth. The stories they tell are not the truths themselves. In Thou Art That, Joseph Campbell illuminates the myths of the Judeo-Christian tradition to reveal their place among myths from all cultures and times, and give guidance toward realizing the truths to which the myths point.
Highly recommended to anyone wondering how to realize the spiritual truth hidden beneath a dull religious life.