Stefan Stenudd

Stefan Stenudd

About me

I'm a Swedish author and historian of ideas, researching the thought patterns in creation myths. I've also written books about Taoism, the Tarot, and life force concepts around the world. My personal website: stenudd.com

Creation Myths Around the World
How stories of the beginning began

The Meanings of Mythology
Theories through history about myth and fable

Creation in Rig Veda 10:129
The paradox of origin

Genesis 1
The first creation story of the bible

Enuma Elish
Babylonian creation myth

Xingu Creation of Man
Insoluble solitude

Archetypes in Myths
Meanings of mythological symbols

The Logics of Myth
Patterns of creation

Psychoanalysis of Myth
Freud and Jung

Myth of Creation
An introduction

Cosmos of the Ancients
What the Greek philosophers believed

Contact




My Other Websites:

Life Energy

The many ancient and modern life force beliefs all over the world explained.


Taoistic

Taoism, the ancient Chinese philosophy of life explained. Also, the complete Tao Te Ching online.


My Books:

Cosmos of the Ancients. Book by Stefan Stenudd.

Cosmos of the Ancients

The Greek philosophers and what they thought about cosmology, myth, and the gods. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.


Life Energy Encyclopedia. Book by Stefan Stenudd.

Life Energy Encyclopedia

Qi, prana, spirit, ruach, pneuma, and many other life forces around the world explained and compared. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.


Sunday Brunch with the World Maker. Novel by Stefan Stenudd.

Sunday Brunch with the World Maker

Fiction. A brunch conversation slips into the mysterious, soon to burst beyond the realm of possibility. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.



The Meanings of Mythology

The council of gods, the Olympians receive Psyche. Raphael and pupils, 1517-18.

Theories through History about Myth and Fable



Ever since the time of Ancient Greece, people have speculated about mythology - its meaning, origin and to what extent it should be trusted as true account of past events. Here I present the major theories about it through the centuries.



Mythology and Fable

The term myth comes from the Greek mūthos, meaning a word or a saying also as in a narrative, mainly spoken. Homer and Hesiod used it in the sense of story, without thereby implying anything about it being fiction or fact.

       Actually, they as well as several pre-Socratic philosophers used it interchangeably with logos, a term later strongly connected to the idea of rational thought. Not until Plato is there evidence of the opposition between the two words, common thereafter. [Gerard Naddaf, 'Allegory and the Origins of Philosophy', Logos and Muthos: Philosophical Essays in Greek Literature (ed. William Wians), Albany 2009, 101.]

       In Ancient Greece, Plato was the first to use the word muthologia, and did so with several meanings to it: the myths of a culture, collecting myths, telling them, making them, and studying them critically. [Naddaf 2009, 102.]

       It was not until the 19th century the word myth was being used in literature, but the word mythology was widely used in previous centuries. [The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology, edited by T. F. Hoad, Oxford 1986, 307.]

       Instead of myth, the term fable signified the same, though mainly referring to the Greek myths as did the term mythology before the 19th century.

       Samuel Johnson's Dictionary from 1755 has no entry for myth, but for mythological, mythologically, mythologize, and mythology. The word myth is not even mentioned. Instead the word fable is used, as in the definition of mythology:

       System of fables; explication of the fabulous history of the gods of the heathen world. The modesty of mythology deserved to be commended: the scenes there are laid at a distance; it is once upon a time, in the days of yore, and in the land of Utopia. ['Mythology' in Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language, London 1755, vol. 2, p. 1345.]


NEXT

Mythology and fable in the first encyclopedia: Louis de Jaucourt.


© Stefan Stenudd 2015

Mythology Meanings Menu

  1. Introduction

  2. Mythology and Fable in the First Encyclopedia: Louis de Jaucourt

  3. Thomas Blackwell: Instruction by Fable

  4. Antoine Banier: Mythology as Idolatry

  5. Eusebius: Myths as Heathen Remnants

  6. Plutarch: Battle of Daemons

  7. Euhemerus: Myth as Actual History

  8. A Scientific Revolution of Mythology

  9. Andrew Lang: Rational versus Irrational

  10. Max Müller: Disease of Language

  11. Edward B. Tylor: Animism Turned Personification

  12. James G. Frazer: Myth as Ritual