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The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology (1964)

de Joseph Campbell

Sèrie: The Masks of God (Volume 3)

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1,77689,738 (4.17)14
A systematic and fascinating comparison of the themes that underlie the art, worship, and literature of the Western world.
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Het derde deel in Campbell’s monumentale vierdelige serie, The Masks of God, schetst de mythologische grondslagen van westerse religies: de verschuiving van op vrouwen gerichte naar door mannen gedomineerde mythologieën.

Er was eens in het Westen de centrale figuur van alle mythologie en aanbidding de overvloedige godin Aarde. Ze regeerde oppermachtig als moeder en voedster van het leven en als ontvanger van de doden voor wedergeboorte. Zoals Joseph Campbell hier uitlegt, was zij meer dan een symbool van vruchtbaarheid; ze was ‘een metafysisch symbool: de aartspersonificatie van de kracht van ruimte, tijd en materie, binnen wiens grenzen alle wezens ontstaan ​​en sterven.’

Hoe, wanneer en waarom veranderde dit? Campbell laat zien hoe ‘de mythologieën van de godin-moeder radicaal werden getransformeerd, geherinterpreteerd en voor een groot deel zelfs onderdrukt door die plotseling opdringerige patriarchale krijgersstamleden wier tradities vooral in het Oude en Nieuwe Testament en in de mythen van Griekenland tot ons zijn gekomen. ”

Vervolgens beschrijft hij de mythologische grondslagen van westerse religies – jodendom, christendom, islam, zoroastrisme – en hun historische invloed op elkaar. Niemand die zich bekommert om geschiedenis, mythologie, religie of vroegere of huidige gebeurtenissen in de westerse beschaving kan zonder deze eerbiedwaardige en toch altijd frisse analyse. ( )
  MaSS.Library | Sep 11, 2023 |
This was another great addition to Joseph Campbell's The Masks of God series. This was the strongest book, so far, in Campbell's series since Western ("Occidental") mythology, particularly Greco-Roman mythology, is universally studied and focused on. Campbell took the time to explain, clearly and in detail, the history of Western mythology, and what's included in that. Mythology has always been a love of mine. Therefore, reading Campbell's series about mythology and, as he phrases it, "the masks of god," has been a unique experience. I definitely feel like I've learned something through reading Campbell's work. I'm looking forward to finishing the fourth book, [b:The Masks of God, Volume 4: Creative Mythology|985519|The Masks of God, Volume 4 Creative Mythology|Joseph Campbell|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1609828547l/985519._SY75_.jpg|971014]. ( )
  historybookreads | Jul 26, 2021 |
This third volume of Campbell's expanded mythological examination starts out with a good grounding in Sumerian, Babylonian, and other Near East influences and pulls the themes effortlessly forward through Greek and Roman and all the way into the Christain. If that isn't enough, we also get a huge amount of exploration in the Jewish, Egyptian, Zoroastrian, and Muslim traditions.

We get a very thorough if not utterly exhaustive look into all of these. I enjoyed the rather obvious and fascinating connections between all of these. All these mythos travel, reincarnate and evolve.

While this may be rather obvious to the rest of us now, let's put this all in perspective: it's 1964.

Campbell is rocking the world to a very thorough Jungian analysis of all the world's mythologies and religions, breaking them all down to their fundamental archetypes and underlying similarities.

And he's DESTROYING EVERYONE'S RELIGIOUS TOYS.

And he's doing it with ruthless logic, impeccable research, and encyclopedic knowledge of all traditions. :)

Cool. Right?

Campbell ushered in a brand new world. :)
( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Librería 5. Estante 1.
  atman2019 | Nov 22, 2019 |
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 (not only the Judeo-Christian belief system I was raised in, but the Greek and Roman mythology that I've loved since I was a child), but for me, Occidental Mythology was the most accessible volume of this set for me so far.

In this third volume, Campbell talks about the mythology of the so-called Western World: Greek myth, Roman myth, ancient Arab/Hebrew myth, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Like in the previous volume on Oriental mythology, I'm side-eyeing this category fraud a little: Middle Eastern myth of the ancient world is much more closely related to Egyptian mythology than the Jewish religion that eventually developed, but he clearly doesn't want to break it up like that because it doesn't fit his thesis. But even with nonfiction, you have to accept that you're on the road the author is taking you on, even if you think you know a better route.

His Western bias isn't as obvious as it has been previously until the conclusion chapter at the very end...maybe he feels less of a need to editorialize on home turf, but he doesn't shy away from criticism of this tradition either. He points out factual and logical inconsistencies within texts like the Bible, and reminds the reader that their holy books were often written long after the facts alleged therein had taken place (or not actually taken place, as the case may be). He also touches on internal conflicts and differing interpretations, and the power struggles that went on behind what we today would consider long-settled matters. Even through his bias, he treats all world mythology (including the Judeo-Christian tradition) as, well, mythology, reminding us in the Western World that our dominant religious belief system is, at its heart, the myths of a nomadic tribe of desert sheepherders.

I won't pretend that I'm not happy that I'm almost done with this set. While it's been interesting and sometimes illuminating reading, it is, like I've said already with the other volumes, very dense and challenging to read as a pleasure exercise. ( )
  ghneumann | Feb 12, 2016 |
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++++++++ Introduction ++++++++
Myth and Ritual: East and West
The geographical divide between the Oriental and Occidental ranges of myth and ritual is the tableland of Iran.
ON COMPLETION OF
The Masks of God
Looking back today over the twelve delightful years that I spend on this richly rewarding enterprise, I find that its main result for me has been the confirmation of a thought I have long and faithfully entertained: of the unity of the race of man, not only in its biology but also in its spiritual history, which has everywhere unfolded in the manner of a single symphony....
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A systematic and fascinating comparison of the themes that underlie the art, worship, and literature of the Western world.

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