What is A MYTH?
A myth is a traditional story, typically one concerning the origins of a people or explaining a natural or social phenomenon. They usually involve supernatural beings or events.
Myths are a type of non-cognitive, symbolic language that evoke a response in the reader/listener. The aim of a myth is to bring that person to a deeper level of understanding by pointing them towards objective truths (truths that always hold; they are true for everyone).
Myths are supposed to convey lots of information at once. They are more like models. They answer ultimate questions, e.g. ones concerning creation, the problem of evil, and will often have a teaching point.
Myths are very often used in religion. Many people (non-fundamentalists, etc.) would interpret parts of the bible as myth, e.g. the creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2. Creation myths are known as aetiological myths.
Other examples of myth include:
- Greek myths, e.g. Pandora's Box, Narcissus, Perseus and Medusa
- Various creation myths from around the world, e.g. China and the cosmic egg
NOTABLE SCHOLARS ON MYTH
- He believed that religious language was rooted in the language of mythology and that myths were a way of trying to explain a more complex idea/set of ideas through storytelling.
- According to Macquarrie, myths are evocative and move us forward into significant development as persons.
- He recognises that there are different types of myth in the bible alone, e.g. creation myths, good vs evil myths.