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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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2 Myth of the Law in the Book of Daniel


The myths are particular in form and substance to a human social group, in a given period of its history. Some are well represented by symbolism, others not so; some have stronger causal chains than others. Some have to do with analogy, or metaphor; some are prosaic and some poetic; some are intricate cycles of myth of vast compass; some are serious, given as laws, but some have paronomasia, other verbal tricks, and playfulness; There is no one general form of myth. As to its substance, it may deal with the origin of the world, or its end, or its midcourse, or a mythic present; it may deal with events which took place before the world began, or it may deal with occurrences of our daily lives, giving them a meaning other than or beyond the meaning of our ordinary, concrete experience; or it may reinforce that meaning by our commitment to it.

The question of our separation of form and substance in our social life, and of their non-separation in myth can be discussed in relation to the law in social reality and in myth. In certain of its aspects the law has its origin in myth; the Decalogue and the most ancient Roman law (of the XII Tables), while socially real, have mythic roots. They are real in another sense. There, the form and the substance of the law are inseparable. The law in social reality introduces a time factor, is changing and changed. Thus, the...

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