An introduction to mythology (1921) by Lewis Spence PDF book

An introduction to mythology by Lewis Spence PDF book

An introduction to mythology

This volume is an outline of the principles of mythology, chiefly with reference to its more modern developments. Hand in hand with the sister sciences of folklore and comparative religion, it has advanced so rapidly within the last twenty years and altered so greatly from its ancient aspect that it seems an entirely new science. Thirty years ago, if a student of myth had been asked who Janus was, he would probably have replied: " A Roman god of origins." To-day he might see in his development of the ' kirn-baby.' So does the study of collected facts and analogies enable us to make broad generalizations?

Quite recently, for example. Dr. Rendel Harris advanced the theory that Aphrodite was originally a mandrake, while Professor Elliot Smith contends that her ' larval form ' was that of the cowrie-shell. Apollo, according to some writers, was originally an apple, Bacchus a sprig of ivy, and Zeus himself a flint-stone fetish. With such metamorphoses of the elder gods, a rather long-suffering public has become somewhat ruefully acquainted. But with the value of the new scientific machinery which has discovered these analogies, which has laid bare the true nature of myth, they are not so intimate. The purpose of this book is to provide them with a review of mythic science from its beginnings down to the latest guesses of contemporary authorities.

This plan may appear too ambitious, in the present chaotic condition of the science, but a real necessity exists for some such elementary study in order to cast light into the popular darkness on the subject.

Contents :
Introductory  ii the progress of mythic science 40 iii the evolution of the gods 102 iv the various types of deity 116 v the various classes of myth 138 vi the making of the world and of man (cosmogony) 158 vii paradise and the place of punishment 195 viii folklore and myth 221 ix ritual and myth 238 x the written sources of myth 245 xi the great mythic systems of the world 282 indexes 317

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