Criticism about Bliss or Joseph Campbell

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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bodhibliss
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Post by bodhibliss » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

On 2006-07-23 04:41, ShantiSong wrote:
I agree that Robert Segal is an outstanding critic, extremely intelligent and direct. Segal best exemplifies the critique from academia....<< >>SNIP<< >>...

There’s a book titled Uses of Comparative Mythology Edited by Kenneth L. Golden (1992)

The third essay is written by Robert A. Segal; a classic Campbell critique from academia. The fourth chapter and essay is by Gregory Salyer. It is an answer to Segal. And, for me, it is the - best – single - essay - I have ever read on Joseph Campbell’s work. For anyone concerned about the response from academia this essay must be read ...
Thanks for turning me on to Golden's book and Salyer's essay - i will track that down post-haste.

And, frankly, every time i reference or re-read Joseph Campbell: An Introduction, i soften toward Robert Segal a bit. I'm much more favorably disposed toward him than i was when it first came out - not that i'm not still frustrated by some of his arguments, but i have a better sense of what he's trying to do (especially after having read some of his other work), which is introduce Campbell to academics already familiar with some of the specialized terms Segal employs.

However, the book was popularly marketed as an introduction to Campbell, so someone unfamiliar with his work might read Segal and think Joe was constantly bandying about terms like "dualism," "monism," "radical dualism," "radical monism," and "radical radical monism" - gee whiz!

As an academic, though, Segal is among the best - he clearly has a handle on his field.

Another mythologist at the university level i find i enjoy is William G. Doty (recently retired, i believe, as Professor of Humanities and Relgious Studies at the University of Alabama). Doty has published a large body of work - primarily several dozen essays published in journals and anthologies. I have his volume on the trickster, and recently persuaded him to autograph my copy of his comprehensive Mythography: The Study of Myths and Rituals (published in 2000, i couldn't find it for less than $60!).

Doty is no blind Campbell-phile - but neither does he ignore Campbell. He places Joe's work in context, as one of many brilliant theorists in the field. Doty doesn't seem to dismiss any mythologist, but points out how each approach successfully interprets/engages mythic material, given that approach's perspective. Instead of "either/or" contradictory positions, Doty seems to suggest these are overlapping views that often provide some contrast, but are also a function of where one happens to be standing at the time

(e.g., the Empire State Building looks very different from street level, versus from an office window inside, but it's still the same building).

I like that approach ...

namaste
bodhibliss


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Raphael
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Post by Raphael » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Doty doesn't seem to dismiss any mythologist, but points out how each approach successfully interprets/engages mythic material, given that approach's perspective. Instead of "either/or" contradictory positions, Doty seems to suggest these are overlapping views that often provide some contrast, but are also a function of where one happens to be standing at the time...
Bodhi and Shanti is this not another confirmation that everyone from their own perspective, using their own set of life experiences can potentially benefit from what myth has to offer.
Is this not one of the strengths of 'good' myth, that it offers everyone a piece of the pie to digest in their own time?

So Bodhi it seems my overlapping views do indeed serve a function...

namaste

Raphael

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bodhibliss
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Post by bodhibliss » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

On 2006-07-29 14:01, Raphael wrote:
Is this not one of the strengths of 'good' myth, that it offers everyone a piece of the pie to digest in their own time?

So Bodhi it seems my overlapping views do indeed serve a function...
Absolutely - no doubts there!
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Post by ShantiSong » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Creekmary, Bodhi, Raphael,

The subject of myth is so large – the number of authors seems endless. When I decided to investigate Campbell’s work in depth, I very quickly came to the realization that he was not always being ‘scholarly’. His work was not heralded by academia. In Robert A. Segal’s The Myth and Ritual Theory (1998) there are 29 chapters, each written by a major voice on myth theory and Joseph Campbell is not one of them.

If I was going to be spending a great amount of time researching myth I had to answer this question of why Campbell is so appealing if he is not one of the best scholars in the field. If I’m not in it for the scholarship – then what am I in it for?

That’s why I came up with this theory of Campbell straddling Academia and Religion. There’s a tension between the two. People I know fall into one camp or the other. And it has nothing to do with a how well read or intelligent a person may be. It has to do with something deeply rooted – something Campbell would call the myths that they live by.

One example I heard of was of a Professor who taught the philosophy of theology. He was raised in an extreme Christian environment but had later abandoned the ‘fundamentalism’ of the Christian teaching. But he still went to church with his family. One day before the service he met the Preacher and told the Preacher who he was and what he did. The Preacher, in the service prayed to the Lord for this and that and then said, ‘ …and protect our children, Lord, from people like this.’ (Pointing to the Professor.)

Open hostility among decent, intelligent, well-meaning people.

The Gregory Salyer essay in Uses of Comparative Mythology Edited by Kenneth L. Golden (1992) expresses my sentiments clearly and concisely. That’s why it’s my favorite.

I realize, many people don’t worry about Campbell’s place in academia. They just read his books and listen to his lectures because they enjoy them and go on with their merry lives. But I like to understand myself. I don’t enjoy the very scholarly works such as Segal’s Myth and Ritual Theory as much as playful books on myth such as J.F. Bierlein’s Parallel Myths.

I enjoy reveling in myth more than analyzing it.

Shanti
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Post by nandu » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Maybe, we should revisit this thread...

http://www.jcf.org/new/forum/viewtopic. ... 27&start=0

Nandu.

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