Do you have a conversation topic that doesn't seem to fit any of the other conversations? Here is where we discuss ANYTHING about Joseph Campbell, comparative mythology, and more!

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Post by Matte » Sun May 01, 2016 5:14 pm

Hello! This is my first time posting in this forum and I REALLY hope this is the right place to pose such a question.

So for some background, I am an undergraduate student at Western Washington University and I am writing a long research paper on Kali and Indian Goddess Mythology in Western Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy.
In a submitted bibliography to my professor I included some Jung books concerning Kundalini, and his other works, as well as Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces, Goddesses, Myths of Light, and some audio lectures concerning India and Psychoanalysis.
My professor wrote back saying:
"...I also do expect you to have some measure of critical thinking toward the ideas of Jung and Campbell. Neither psychology nor the study of mythology takes their ideas seriously anymore. Which is not to say that they have no value, but there are problems with them that one should be aware of."

Through my research online I have found some scholarly criticisms to Jung but as for Campbell, other than his affinity for Jungian archetypal and symbolic theory, the criticisms I have found are rather opinion based.

What do you think of this statement? I personally have a huge infatuation with Campbell and am quite privy to Jungs theories.
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Post by JamesN. » Sun May 01, 2016 7:08 pm

Hello Matte and a warm welcome to the JCF forums.

Although an associate and no authority on this subject I would strongly recommend starting with Indologist and Historian: "Heinrich Zimmer". Zimmer was a close friend of both Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell and was considered one of the world's most knowledgeable people in the west on Indian religion and philosophy before he died suddenly in 1943. Fortunately Joseph Campbell was able to edit much of his work for publication which you will find in the JCF bookstore linked below. (On the right of the page scroll down to the "Edited by Joseph Campbell" category link where you will find most of them on the second page.) Joseph Campbell's: "The Mythic Image" might also be one title worth looking into as an overview in relation to the larger aspect of this area of inquiry. There is a great deal more included within using the bookstore as a resource as well of course; and you are certainly encouraged to explore the many other great offerings; also your local or academic libraries may have access to some of these titles as well. These suggestions may not offer any opposing points-of-view your professor mentioned but it may give you some extra important background; (such as Zimmer as a source from which they developed some of their ideas); to start with on navigating towards at least some of the information you are seeking. (For instance in a Michael Tom's interview Joseph mentioned that he considered Zimmer as his mentor in understanding how myths could speak to him out of his own interpretation instead of just accepting what someone else had said.)

(I am also including a link to an article about the legendary "Bollingen Series" which bears special mention since it validates the academic standings of these particular published works and where you will also find more important valuable background history concerning Jung, Campbell, and Zimmer as well and may also be of some assistance for your research.) ... wanted=all

Also I would also highly recommend Joseph Campbell's biography: "Fire in the Mind" by Stephen Larsen; (also available in the bookstore); which chronicles much of this particular background as well as the rest of Joseph's life. I'm not sure if this will provide what you are seeking; and like I said I'm not as knowledgeable as some; but from what I understood from your request Zimmer and these inter-relationships of his between Jung and Campbell is where I would start as referenced within Larsen's biography.

At some point Clemsy; the forum's head moderator; may be able to pop in to say hello and be of some further assistance. Hopefully this will be of some help. As a last note; it should go without saying that you may already be aware of some of this information; and if so my apologies for any repetition.

Again best wishes and welcome aboard; glad that you are here.
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
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Post by tonyd » Mon May 02, 2016 11:59 am

Hi Matte,
Campbell was a rigorous scholar and all his formal texts are impeccably punctuated with his sources. Campbell's works are always my mainstay when writing on any matters of cultural history. I completed an MPhil thesis last year in Trinity College Dublin and the assessors had no issue with Campbell or Jung.

James is correct, Heinrich Zimmer's 'Philosphies of India' and 'Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilisation' (both edited by Campbell) are excellent texts for your area of interest. Equally parts of Campbell's Mythic Image and Oriental Mythology.

Your professor has issued a warning that needs to be heeded. This typically means reviewing all subjective commentary. I'm sure you have already picked a tool for bibliographic materials if not, I 'd recommend Zotero which is free.
Tony D.
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