Joseph Campbell Foundation - The Collected Lectures

From the Star Wars trilogy to the Grateful Dead, Joseph Campbell has had a profound impact on our culture, our beliefs, and the way we view ourselves and the world.

Provocative and exhilarating, the approx. 90 titles that will ultimately comprise The Collected Lectures of Joseph Campbell offer a glimpse into one of the great minds of our time, drawing together his most wide-ranging and insightful talks.

Always at his best as an impromptu speaker, Campbell shines in these recordings, both as a scholar and as a master storyteller.  

What's Old Is New Again!


Though the thirty lectures that comprise the bulk of Series I were previously released on cassette and CD, we are working with Roomful of Sky Records to digitize and remaster these classic recordings, optimizing them for today's higher quality consumer audio equipment.

At the same time we are preparing for the staggered release of Series II & Series III, featuring previously unavailable recordings of sixty additional lectures! Though the Collected Lectures are designed so that offerings fit within the context of a themed volume, each selection is able to stand alone.

Each talk purchased through this page generates income that helps maintain JCF programs.

Lecture Details

Lecture I.2.3 -
Confrontation of East and West in Religion
by Joseph Campbell
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Lecture Description

"Just as for the American Indian the buffalo dropped away, and with it their public social mythology, so for us: the world has moved past, and our mythology has dropped off, and we are turned inward, and [the gurus and zen masters] are the ones who are teaching us how to turn inward in this adventurous quest of finding again those images in ourselves which the society can no longer render to us." -- Joseph Campbell

Observing that the "West" is increasingly disenchanted with traditional religious beliefs and practices, Campbell argues that the time is ripe for the cross-fertilization of Eastern and Western cultures. He presents an illuminating analogy to our present situation in the plight of the Plains Indians near the end of the nineteenth century when the old ways were disappearing with the buffalo and their old wisdom was no longer effective. For Campbell, the response of these people of the Plains is a vivid metaphor for what modern people must do. Their adoption of the peyote religion encouraged inward visionary experiences and was an example of how a people can find the sacred even when it has been lost to the society.

Track Listing
1. Oswald Spengler: The Decline of the West
2. Frobenius: the Three Stages of Human Development
3. The East Speaks to Us Today
4. The Plains Indians and the Extermination of the Buffalo
5. Mythological Symbols: Turning You On
6. The Four Functions of Mythology
7. Martin Buber: an Anecdote
8. A Hindu Perspective on the Bible
9. The East: Identification with the Divine
10. The West: Relationship to the Divine
11. The Problem of Churches and Temples
12. Bhagavad Gita: the Yogas of Philosophy and Psychological Transformation
13. Bhagavad Gita: the Yoga of Devotion
14. Bhagavad Gita: the Yoga of Action
15. The Guru in the West
16. We Dance: Getting Through the Concept System
17. The Face of Glory: Shiva and the Nature of Life
Lecture Details
  • Date: March 11, 1970
  • Venue: The Cooper Union
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Archive Number: L309
Previous Release History
  • Previously Issued as part of: The Joseph Campbell Audio Collection, Vol. 2
  • Publisher: HighBridge Audio
  • Editor: Mark Watts
  • Release Date: 1997 (cassette); 2002 (CD)

Go to the Collected Lectures Main Page  |  See the other lectures in Volume 2