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Caroline

I find Pandora's story endlessly fascinating. the women are always punished for their curiosity.
You are right about creation myths. I did a fair amount of comparative religio/mythology studies and it's amazing how many similarities there are.

LauraC

I found myself skimming parts of this chapter,too many names and "forces" all at once. I left it to look into the idea of the Greek myths as religion or more of a "scientific" explanation of the world around the Greeks. I have a book called: "The Greco-Roman World of the New Testament" by James S. Jeffers, so I read the small section about Greek and Roman religions.

By the time of the N.T., belief in the myths (the worship of which were always more about the community or state, not the individual) was waning and the mystery religions were gaining converts. These had a more personal connection including the concept of salvation. Two of the earliest ones were those of Demeter and Dionysus about whom we read last week.

I also found it interesting, from the same book, that the Greek and Roman traditional religion (that we are reading about in the Hamilton book) had no moral code, but more a body of rituals and rules about actions to gain the gods' cooperation. As long as you performed the rituals correctly, you were free to believe anything you wanted. No wonder the religion died off! This lack of a moral code may be one reason that Hamilton said in her introduction that the myths were more explanation of the world around them, an early "science," and mostly entertainment.

I did return to the chapter and was interested in the flood story and the original lack of women part. Where would Zeus be without his women?!

Stefanie

Isn't it fun? I always feel sorry for Pandora, she gets a bad rap, like Eve always seems to.

catharina

I once started a small collection of creation myths from all over the world, you reminded me of that. I like these mythology posts very much.

Buried In Print

Did I already recommend Karen Armstrong's A Short History of Myth? My apologies if I have, but it echoes your first paragraph here; I found it tremendously helpful as a framework. And, um, it IS short. Which is nice when your library stacks are ever-growing.

litlove

Mister Litlove always calls me a misery guts because I think that hope is right in keeping with the other bad stuff that comes out of the chest. How many times have I felt that things would be so much better if I could give up hope? But ahem, maybe that's just me and my issues. :-) I do think creation myths are fascinating - how we imagine beginnings must surely say a great deal about us.

Danielle

Caroline--Your studies sound fascinating--do you miss it (not sure if your current job utilizes what you studied before?)? Or maybe you still read in the area. I'd not considered reading much about religion, mythology, psychology, but there's lots of interesting things to read about and so much of it is related. I'm fascinated, too, but the representation of women in these areas.

Laura--I'm looking forward to really getting more into the stories themselves, but this background info is good and I'm sure will be helpful. This chapter was certainly a survey of things and I didn't want to go into all of it and bore everyone to tears, though writing about it helps me set it more firmly in my mind. I should do a little extracurricular reading, too, since so much is related--thanks for sharing your other reading! Although I swear Hamilton said the Greeks didn't look at the gods as a religion, they certainly did worship them--I wonder when it started to change over--did the Jeffers book mention that? Humans do like to categorize and have some sort of rational explanation for everything. But I'm not surprised all the sacrifices died out--much like the Incas and Mayas from what little I recall studying them. I'm going to have to brush up on my religion I see--will have to look for the Jeffers in my library, too! Women often seem to be an afterthought, don't they? But then it's men writing the stories, so not so surprising I guess.

Stefanie--Pandora is a story I was familiar with, though not in the creation context, so that was new. I hadn't thought of her as being comparable to Eve until now--or that she was a 'bad' woman (only that she made a poor choice)--but I agree she does get a bad rap!

Catharina--I'm glad you like the posts and hope people don't get too bore by them. I am enjoying reading the Hamilton--writing something about them keeps me on track and helps me remember what I'm reading!

Buried In Print--You didn't actually, but I like the sound of it, so I'll be looking for it tomorrow! Short is good--especially alongside the Hamilton. I'm staying away from the public library this week as I don't have anything due until next week and the two holds that are waiting for me, won't expire for a full wee--that won't stop me from bringing home books from the library where I work...

Litlove--Creation stories really are fascinating--particularly since there is so many similarities. How did these stories migrate around the planet so long before anything was written down?!

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