Re: Evaluating Joseph Campbell

Rick Cook (
Thu, 06 Apr 1995 22:04:11

As a non-professional with a considerable interest in the subject, I'm
going to stick my opinion in here.

I am no fan of Campbell's largely because what he is doing is interpreting
myths in terms that are congenial to modern Western culture. His results
are interesting and perhaps useful in terms of what these myths can tell
us about ourselves, but his results tell us little or nothing about how
the people who told these stories felt about them, or the lessons they
drew from them or anything else.

That said, in my opinion the people you're arguing with are wrong about
Campbell's motives or personal beliefs. Deducing what Campbell was from
his study of myth is like accusing Malinowski of believing in witchcraft
because he studied the phenomenon and saw that the belief and practices had
social utility in the societies he was studying.

==Rick Cook