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Newly Published: The Meaning of Myth in World Cultures

New on our bookshelf:

The Meaning of Myth in World Cultures
Michael Buonanno

Mythology—circulated in sacred stories (myths) and their reenactments (rituals)—is the basis of any society’s religion, and religion is an essential key to identity. Mythology’s meaning depends on the elaboration of identity in cultural metaphors that are at the same time ecological (arising from a society’s environmental exploitation), sociological (based on indigenous social relations) and ideological (couched in terms of a society’s worldview). But tellingly, these metaphors are embodied in anthropomorphic spirits, fostering a deep sense of identification with those spirits as well as with individuals who share in one’s spiritual devotions.

This study examines mythology from a global perspective, citing case studies in cultural traditions from Africa, Europe, Oceania, Native America and elsewhere.