What are some good starter books?

Who was Joseph Campbell? What is a myth? What does "Follow Your Bliss" mean? If you are new to the work of Joseph Campbell, this forum is a good place to start.

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David_20
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What are some good starter books?

Post by David_20 » Sun Sep 09, 2007 9:23 pm

I'm new to this forum and I want to learn more about Joseph Campbell's works, but what book would be good to start with, I've heard people talk about 'Hero with a thousand faces' (I think that's the title?), but is that one I should get first or are there better beginner books?.

Thanks for any help, and from the topics I've already read, I think I like this place.

David.
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Post by Clemsy » Mon Sep 10, 2007 12:30 am

Hi David, and welcome to the JCF Forum.

Yes, Hero is a great book to start with. Power of Myth, the transcript of Campbell's interview with Bill Moyers, is also a great starter book. If you haven't seen the video of that interview I highly recommend it. You get to know Campbell as more than the the great writer he was.

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Post by Martin_Weyers » Mon Sep 10, 2007 7:30 am

Hero is one of my favourites, but I met many people who found it difficult and circumstantial.

Power of Myth is, in my judgement, still the best introduction because it introduces in all aspects of Campbell's work through an entertaining conversation. If you are interested in Christian religion and mythology, you will probably enjoy Thou art That.

If you are looking for something with a rather psychological self-help flavour: A useful book with brief transcriptions from a workshop in Esalen for the night table, for long train rides and whenever you only have four minutes or so to read: Reflections on the Art of Living. A Joseph Campbell Companion. A similiar book, but more systematic, drawn from lectures and workshops: Pathways to Bliss (edited by David Kudler).

A good starting point: David Kudler's amazon page. David is publishing director of the JCF and presents a beginner's approach, an advanced approach and a book list about Campbell the man:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/syltgu ... 19-6079216
Works of art are indeed always products of having been in danger, of having gone to the very end in an experience, to where man can go no further. -- Rainer Maria Rilke
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starter books?

Post by jim baird » Mon Sep 17, 2007 1:52 am

David,

I had a copy of Occidental Mythology gathering dust on my shelf for years till I picked it up looking for a bone to chew on.

I had been participating in some "meditation" meetings that had little format or focus, and thought I needed to stake out some ideological turf. I had already written off all forms of organized religion as being too shrouded in cobwebs etc.

Campbell's voice was suddenly very clear to me. I read Occidental, and began rounding up the other parts of the four-volume "Masks of God".

Along the way I picked up "Hero", as it had the widest reputation.

I simply could not digest it, however. Too rich for my taste I guess.

I spent about 2 1/2 years reading the Masks of God. Then I picked up "Hero", and it suddenly was not only digestible, but delicious!

I spent most of a year reading it, and still have not synthesized the whole thing.

Bear in mind, "Hero" was written in 1949, and the "Masks" came later.

I also saw a DVD that was a biography, sorry I can't remember the name.

My recommendation, based on my experience, is to slog through Masks of God if you want a grand and broad picture of what Campbell called his "natural history" of mythology.
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Post by Tao Jones » Wed Nov 07, 2007 10:28 am

You could do worse than to start off with The Power of Myth DVDs. All the key themes are there and you really get a feel for the man. It might even give you an idea of where you want to follow up.
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Joseph Campbell's personal religeous tradition

Post by Alan j. » Sun Mar 02, 2008 4:24 am

I know Joseph Campbells parents were Roman Catholic. Whenever I heard him talk about the bible he seemed to infer that it was written solely for the 2000 generation. He also said that Adam and Eve never existed therefore there was never a fall from grace. Subsequently there was then no need of the redemptive mission of Jesus Christ. Based on these statements as well as others I have heard him say, it seems safe to assume that Cambell did not embrace the tenits of the Catholic church.

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Post by Tao Jones » Sun Mar 02, 2008 6:16 am

JC wasn't too fond of the the Western dualistic outlook or the notion that nature was evil, much preferring Eastern ideas. All is One and Thou art That.
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Post by Alan j. » Sun Mar 02, 2008 2:18 pm

Evil does not exist? I wonder what we would call a terrorist illegally entering our borders, getting on a commercial jet, killing the crew and over 3000 souls in the NYC towers. We live in a culture of death and there is no denying that. The opposite should be happening if the hypothesis of reincarnation were valid. the antithesis is happening. It's not working. In fact we are even killing the very planet that we live on. Years ago neighbors didn't even lock the doors of their houses. Today thugs brake into your house in the middle of the night. Is reincarnation working?

We have one life here on earth and it will determine where we will spend
forever. With every beat of our heart we draw closer and closer to that moment when time and space will give way to eternity.
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Post by A J » Sun Mar 02, 2008 4:50 pm

The Inner Reaches of Outer Space: Metaphor as Myth and as Religion might be helpful to those concerned with the religious aspect. It does a beautiful job of explaining the need to look at religion as symbol and metaphor rather than literalism and dogma.

AJ
"Sacred space and sacred time and something joyous to do is all we need. Almost anything then becomes a continuous and increasing joy."

A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living
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Post by jim baird » Sun Mar 02, 2008 5:29 pm

Alan J,

One thing I remember Prof. Campbell said more than once was a warning not to confuse any teaching's scripture with history.

To say Adam and Eve didn't exist may be valid in the narrow view of historical events, but the figures of Adam and Eve are likely contained, in some degree or configuration or representation, in many teachings.

I would hazard a guess that Campbell's mind may have been spurred to seek a broader perspective by the narrowness and rigidity of Catholic doctrine.
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Post by Alan j. » Sun Mar 02, 2008 5:38 pm

Over 1 million people in Egypt saw the Marian apparitions some time around 1980 I believe The incorruptability of the body of Catholic saints dead for centuries, Eucharistic miracles where consecrated hosts have actually turned into human heart tissue before the disbelieveing eyes of a doubting priest. Millions of pilgrims have gone to the Chapel in San Luciano , Italy to observe this and countless other Miracles of the Eucharist. A woman living on nothing but the Eucharist for 14 years. No other water or food.

But as AJ says we should not take religeon literally but metaphorically.
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Re: What are some good starter books?

Post by deus_ex_machina » Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:54 pm

David_20 wrote:I'm new to this forum and I want to learn more about Joseph Campbell's works, but what book would be good to start with, I've heard people talk about 'Hero with a thousand faces' (I think that's the title?), but is that one I should get first or are there better beginner books?.

Thanks for any help, and from the topics I've already read, I think I like this place.

David.
David,

A good "first taste" might also be Reflections on the Art of Living: A Joseph Campbell Companion, by Diane K. Osbon (a former student of his who compiled it from various lectures and writings of his).
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Post by chloemarie » Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:07 pm

A really great one is "Mythic Image" it's like a picture book almost but with each illustration there is an in-depth analysis! :P
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