The official description of this book having the author postulating 2 souls is wrong. Here is a quote from the conclusions at the end of the book: "In...moreThe official description of this book having the author postulating 2 souls is wrong. Here is a quote from the conclusions at the end of the book: "Instead Greek soul belief might best be characterized as multiple. The Greeks separated where other traditions do not and a unitary soul can only be found in the period after the Archaic Age."
At the time of Homer the Greek "psyche" was in transition from meaning "life force" based upon its root meaning "breath" to a unitary soul. Other "souls" at that time were "thymos" meaning spirit, "phrenes" meaning the willful heart, "Noos" meaning mind, and "menos" meaning passion.(less)
First of all this book is by James P. Allen, it is edited by Peter Der Manuelian. The "Pyramid Texts are older than the more famous "Book of the Dead"...moreFirst of all this book is by James P. Allen, it is edited by Peter Der Manuelian. The "Pyramid Texts are older than the more famous "Book of the Dead" texts and belong to the Old Kingdom (2300 to 2100 BC). Yet both were concerned with re-uniting the dead person's personality soul (Ba, the sound of a baby babbling) with his life force (Ka, possibly the sound of the Bennu bird which may have originally been a crow instead of a water bird) so he could live forever with the gods. The Egyptian religion of the time was much more nature based and simpler than later. The Sun (the god Ra, Re, or Atum) was the source of all earthly life while the god Osirus regenerated the Sun's own life throughout the night so it could appear again the next morning. As the ruler of the day the Sun was identified with the Pharoah's personal power god Horus. Significantly, and unlike almost all other mythologies the sky was considered feminine (the goddess Nut) while earth was considered masculine (the god Geb). (less)
This book first published in 1932 describes the legends of the Australian aborigines located in the southeast corner of Australia near the Murray Rive...moreThis book first published in 1932 describes the legends of the Australian aborigines located in the southeast corner of Australia near the Murray River. It covers the complete range from creation, through witchcraft, through explanations for landmarks. We now know that Australian mythology is unique since it developed in isolation from other human cultures from the time the first modern humans settled in Australia 50,000 years ago.
Some unique features is that the sun as a life giver is considered feminine in contrast to most other mythologies. During creation the male spirit spent time with each animal giving each some measure of his intelligence and gaining in return some animal spirit. In contrast woman was created out of a beautiful plant giving her a plant based spirit.
They do have a flood story meant as an explanation of why the platypus has some features in common with the more normal animal species. It is because the actions of the other animals caused the flood and being slow they were not all able to escape. They blamed the other animals and sought to rid themselves of features they had in common leaving them a hybrid.(less)
Mithraism was a mystery religion. In the Roman world the cults collectively labelled "mystery religions" had one thing in common and that was the beli...moreMithraism was a mystery religion. In the Roman world the cults collectively labelled "mystery religions" had one thing in common and that was the belief that knowledge derived from the gods represented power, usually the power to gain everlasting life. This book is a great piece of detective work which shows how scholars pieced together the core beliefs of Mithraism from its archaeological remains. Mithraism originated out of the discovery by the great Greek astronomer Hipparchus around 128 BC that the earth wobbles around its axis of rotation in a process known as precession (in the same way a spinning top wobbles). It completes a cycle once every 25,920 years.
In the world view of the time precession meant that the sphere of the stars, the 7th sphere or the 7th heaven (lower spheres were the sun, moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) moved whereas previously it was thought to be immovable. Because all motion at the time was thought to be accomplished by some god or spirit (each sphere represented a god) the discovery of the motion of the star sphere thus meant that some new god existed, one previously unknown and more powerful than all the others. This god came to be identified with the Persian (Zoroastrian) god Mithra, the god of contracts and justice, the all seeing eye of truth, the guardian of cattle and harvest. Mithra was often depicted as a bull slayer and this religion was popular among the Roman soldiers.
The Roman historian Plutarch mentions Mithraism for the first time as existing is 67 BC in his "Lives of the Roman Emperors" as a religion being practiced by a short lived pirate empire in the province of Cilicia when the Roman general Pompey began a campaign against them. Interestingly the city of Tarsus was the capital of Cilicia, located in southeastern Asia Minor, and this is the same city where the Apostle Paul grew up 70 years later so he must have been very aware of Mithraism.(less)
This book proposes a fascinating thesis that the world's flood stories all originated with breaking open of the Bosporus and the sudden flooding of th...moreThis book proposes a fascinating thesis that the world's flood stories all originated with breaking open of the Bosporus and the sudden flooding of the Black sea. While possible the odds are very much against this being true. The actual number of people displaced was small, Egypt does not have a flood story (the claims for such depend on one late, nearly destroyed "book of the Dead" papyrus dating to between 1500 and 1350 BC which can only be paraphrased and thus open to wide interpretation), the flood stories in Asia all deal with river flooding, much different from the upwelling flooding context of the near eastern stories. Still this book is a great read just for the view of ancient times and the discovery of catastrophic flooding in both the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.(less)
This is one of those books written to impress other scholars in the same field instead of written to educate the general public. As such it is long on...moreThis is one of those books written to impress other scholars in the same field instead of written to educate the general public. As such it is long on commentary and commentary about commentary with little actual flood myth translation.(less)