Theorizing Myth: Narrative, Ideology, and Scholarship

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In Theorizing Myth, Bruce Lincoln traces the way scholars and others have used the category of "myth" to fetishize or deride certain kinds of stories, usually those told by others.

He begins by showing that mythos yielded to logos not as part of a (mythic) "Greek miracle," but as part of struggles over political, linguistic, and epistemological authority occasioned by expanded use of writing and the practice of Athenian democracy. Lincoln then turns his attention to the period when myth was recuperated as a privileged type of narrative, a process he locates in the political and cultural ferment of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Here, he connects renewed enthusiasm for myth to the nexus of Romanticism, nationalism, and Aryan triumphalism, particularly the quest for a language and set of stories on which nation-states could be founded.

In the final section of this wide-ranging book, Lincoln advocates a fresh approach to the study of myth, providing varied case studies to support his view of myth—and scholarship on myth—as ideology in narrative form.
 

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Contents

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Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Bruce Lincoln is the Caroline E. Haskell Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of the History of Religions in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago, where he also holds positions in the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and on the Committee on Medieval Studies, with affiliations in the Departments of Anthropology and Classics. Recent books include Between History and Myth: Stories of Harald Fairhair and the Founding of the State and Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars: Critical Explorations in the History of Religions, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

Bruce Lincoln is the Caroline E. Haskell Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of the History of Religions in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago, where he also holds positions in the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and on the Committee on Medieval Studies, with affiliations in the Departments of Anthropology and Classics. Recent books include Between History and Myth: Stories of Harald Fairhair and the Founding of the State and Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars: Critical Explorations in the History of Religions, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

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