Using At Least One Example From The Tutorial Readings, Describe The Relationship Between Myth Or Ritual And The Maintenance And Recreation Of Soci

1421 words - 6 pages

Myth, and the maintenance and recreation of the socio-cosmic order, is a seemingly paradoxical occurrence in religion, yet their relationship to one another becomes established as the evolution of belief flourishes and the intricate understanding of the cosmos coupled with the allegory of myth become increasing interlinked.

Boas, a pioneer and a dominant influential figure in the discipline of anthropology stated that, ‘mythology reflect[ed] culture, implying something of a one–to-one relationship’ (Boas, 1910, pp. 371- 384), insinuating that mythology placed upon a culture, exists not as a single consciousness, but rather different people holding distinguishable myths, and socio-cosmic ...view middle of the document...


This understanding and relationship of myth and the socio-cosmic order can be found in many religions around the world, with references to the Earth-Diver myth, as is found in the chapters of Genesis.

Fromm (1951, pp. 234), points out the woman’s creative role is denied. It is the man who creates and, in fact, it is the man who gives birth to a woman. Eve is created from the substance [rib] taken from the body of Adam. Moreover, if one were inclined to see the Noah story as a gestation myth, it would be noteworthy that it is the man who builds the womb-ark. It would also be interesting that the floodwaters abate only after a period roughly corresponding to the length of a human pregnancy (Cf. Schwarzbaum 1960: 52, n. 15a.)

The symbolism with the chapters of Genesis points to man, with the masculine personification of God, as the soul creator of life, coupled with an embodiment myth of male gestation. Furthermore, it was hypothesized by Elli Kongas, that ‘dualism takes the form of a contest between God and the devil, the devil associated with the body, where as God is concerned with the spiritual element’ [socio-cosmic order] (Kongas, 1960: pp. 160-161).

The idea that God created a pure body for man, and the devil defiled it in Gods absence (Campbell, 1956, pp. 234), was a emerging theme by Plato in 360 B.C.E in the formulation of Phaedo, which stated that

The body is the tomb or prison of the soul and that only by disentanglement from the body and all things worldly can the soul unify itself unimaginable different world of the divine. (Plato, 350 B.C.E, Phaedo)

This directly links to the idea of a comic order, implying that the body, which houses the soul, travels through life to obtain the goal of the soul returning to its rightful place with the creator.

It is stated in Genesis as well as Greek, Chinese and Egyptian mythology that man was made from clay, yet the creation of life from excrement, as was Freud’s conceptualization in 1953, has had a rife existence in religious mythology today, Freud stating that

Children were united … in the belief that the birth of a child takes place by the bowel, that is to say, that the baby is produced like a piece of faeces. (Freud, 1953, pp. 238)

In India, the elephant-headed God Ganesh is derived from excrement of his mother (Berkeley-Hill 1921, pp. 330). Robert N. Bellah and his paper on Religious Evolution confirms this and annexes that in India there is radical versions of world rejection (Robert N. Bellah, 1964, pp. 359), ‘culminating in the great image of Buddha, that the world is a burning house and mans need to escape it’ (Robert N. Bellah, 1964, pp. 359)

As Bellah explains this comes from the ‘conviction that the world is hell’ (Robert N. Bellah, 1964, pp. 360). In Comparison,

The Gadaba myth, Larang the great Dano devoured the world, but Mahaprabhu caught hold of him and squeezed him so hard that he excreted the earth he had devoured…. From the earth that Larang...

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