Sunday, February 22, 2004


I found this passage in Richard Cavendish's An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Mythology

. . . myths are stories, not histories. The events related in them did not really happen, yet they may contain truth of a different and deeper kind. Few people still believe, for example, that the human race is descended from Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, who lived in the beautiful garden of Eden and were tempted by a devious serpent. The story is generally agreed to be fiction, but fiction which is full of meaning. No longer accepted as literally true, as it once was, the story is felt to be poetically true. It says something profound about the human condition, something which cannot be stated as effectively in any other way. It is this which distinguishes the story from the mass of trivial fictions and entitles it to be called a myth. . . a way of telling a sacred truth.

"Few people still believe?" "Generally agreed to be fiction?" This was written in 1980 (in England). Could Cavendish have imagined that so many of the U.S. would NOT believe or agree today?

Still, it's a wonderful way of looking at myths.

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