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Myth and Ideology

Edited By Cyril Levitt and Sabine Sander

This posthumously published work by Lawrence Krader surveys the study of myths from ancient times (in classical Greece and Rome, Egypt, Babylon, Akkad, Sumer, China), in the Biblical traditions, of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and Australia, and from Northeastern and Central Asia. It also covers the various approaches to the study of myth in Europe in the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Enlightenment, and the Romantic movement in the late eighteenth and early to mid-nineteenth century; it discusses evolutionist, structuralist, hermeneutic, and linguistic approaches. The book covers on the one hand the treatment of myth from the inside, that is from the experience of those committed to the myth, and on the other the perspective of those ethnologists, philosophers and other students of myth who are outsiders. Krader takes up the theme of esoteric and exoteric myths as he rejects some of the assumptions and approaches to the study of myth from the past while singling out others for approval and inclusion in his general theory of myth. The book includes a discussion of myth in science and in infinitesimal mathematics. It also considers the relationship between myth and ideology in the twentieth century in relation to politics and power. It both incorporates and broadens Krader’s theory of nature as a manifold consisting of different orders of space-time which he developed in his magnum opus Noetics: The Science of Thinking and Knowing.

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This book is about myth and the study of myth, a vast and complex subject on which thousands of books have been written. It has been studied for thousands of years, in all parts of the world, and in many languages. But that is not all there is to its complexity, for it has been studied from many points of view, by religious scholars, philosophers, students of the ancient civilizations, ethnologists and folklorists, by sociologists and students of political ideology, by psychologists, historians of art and literature, by the cultural critics of our society, by poets, essayists and novelists. At times, a writer coming to the subject from one field, looks about and adds the knowledge and perspectives of another. For example, sociologists in France early in the twentieth century studied the ethnological literature on myth, and classical scholars in England, who were their contemporaries, studied the findings of the French school; they brought out a notable theory of myth. The philosophers and historians in Germany during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries studied the myths of ancient Greece, whereby they developed theories of their own. Another powerful theory of myth was brought out by European historical schools which studied the myths of their own peasants. Certain ethnologists at the present time have studied psychology, others have studied linguistics, yet others have studied the myths of classical antiquity and Biblical history in ←lxi | lxii→bringing forth new theories of their own; psychologists have studied ethnology or literature to the same end...

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