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What Is Mythology?

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What Is Mythology?. Write your definition on a piece of paper. Before the video. As you watch the short film, think about the following: What seems to be the theme or message of the myth? Why do you think it’s still popular? What place does it seem to have in our culture today?. Mythology.

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what is mythology
What Is Mythology?
  • Write your definition on a piece of paper.
before the video
Before the video
  • As you watch the short film, think about the following:
    • What seems to be the theme or message of the myth?
    • Why do you think it’s still popular?
    • What place does it seem to have in our culture today?


All videos referenced in this presentation are on my YouTube Mythology playlist.

To find the playlist, go to my website, then to Links, then look for YouTube.

some definitions of mythology
Some Definitions of Mythology
  • A set of stories or beliefs about a particular person, institution, or situation, esp. when exaggerated or fictitious.
  • A sacred narrative explaining how the world and humankind assumed their present form. (Alan Dundes).
  • Ideology in narrative form (Bruce Lincoln).
  • Any traditional story.
how myths are used
How Myths Are Used
  • To convey religious experience
  • To establish behavioral models
  • To teach
  • Myth is a modern social practice
    • Fantasy novels
    • Science fiction
    • Manga
    • Urban legend
1 mystical
1. Mystical
  • Enables human beings to accept the burdens of life.
  • Purpose: to inspire a sense of awe and reverence to the great mystery of existence.
    • To stand in complete awe of the absolute mystery of the universe and the self.
2 cosmological
2. Cosmological
  • Purpose: to explain birth, death, life, time, space, energy.
  • This function explains the unknowns of the universe by providing a framework to know them. Both science and religion do this.
3 sociological
3. Sociological
  • Mythologies help maintain social norms.  
    • Example: in society
      • women have their roles (cooking, cleaning, raising children);
      • men have their roles (earning a living, providing for his family, head of household).
  • The sociological function allows for consensual agreement on what is and is not allowed(i.e., you can’t murder, steal, etc.).
  • Taught by parables and fables (Jesus, Socrates, Plato, Aesop)
4 psychological
4. Psychological
  • Myths support us through changes in life. Provides rites of passage from one stage to the next.
  • Provides guideposts to serve as a reminder that there is a purpose. This comforts us in the entire process, as the individual remembers that he is neither the first nor last to embark upon this Hero’s Journey.
  • Probably accounts for the most similarities between different myths.
  • Assignment: Plan, script, film, and produce a documentary that compares and contrasts two different mythologies.
    • Explain the function or functions of the myth (see notes).
    • Describe their similarities and differences.
    • Conclude with a summary of how they are (or were) important to the cultures that created them. 
  • Can be a video or PowerPoint
    • Video finished length: 6 - 8 minutes
    • PowerPoint finished length: 12 slides minimum, inclusive of titles, credits, and sources
some possibilities
Some Possibilities
  • Science fiction 
    • StarTrek
    • Star Wars
    • Doctor Who
    • Superheroes
    • Japanese monster movies (Godzilla)
  • Urban legends
    • Ghosts
    • UFOs
    • Zombies
    • Vampires
  • Ancient myths:
    • Greek
    • Roman
    • Norse
    • Egyptian 
    • American Indian