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When they severed earth from sky : how the human mind shapes myth

Author: E J W Barber; Paul Barber
Publisher: Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, ©2004.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"This book shows that myths originally transmitted real information about real events and observations, preserving the information sometimes for millennia within nonliterate societies. Geologists' interpretations of how a volcanic cataclysm long ago created Oregon's Crater Lake, for example, is echoed point for point in the local myth of its origin. The Klamath tribe saw it happen and passed down the story - for  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Myths
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: E J W Barber; Paul Barber
ISBN: 0691099863 9780691099866
OCLC Number: 54692579
Description: xv, 290 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents: Time capsules --
The memory crunch : how long a pipeline? --
The silence principle : of Lethe and the golden calf --
More silence : movie reels from snapshots --
Analogy : our brain's best talent --
Willfulness : the atom or thou --
Multiple aspects : the more the merrier --
Multiple viewpoints : ear, trunk, or tail --
Views though biased lenses --
Metaphoric reality : magic and dreams --
Compression : Methuselah and the eponymous heroes --
Post hocus ergo pocus : space aliens mutilate cows! --
Restructuring : new patterns for old --
Mnemonics : behind the silliness --
The spirit world : a realm reversed --
Of sky and time --
Prometheus --
Fire-breathing dragons.
Responsibility: Elizabeth Wayland Barber and Paul T. Barber.
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Abstract:

Why were Prometheus and Loki envisioned as chained to rocks? What was the Golden Calf? Why are mirrors believed to carry bad luck? This book shows that myths originally transmitted real information  Read more...

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The authors provide not only a compelling and highly readable collection of mythic interpretations but also a framework through which to decode those stories and uncover seismic, geological, Read more...

 
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    schema:reviewBody ""This book shows that myths originally transmitted real information about real events and observations, preserving the information sometimes for millennia within nonliterate societies. Geologists' interpretations of how a volcanic cataclysm long ago created Oregon's Crater Lake, for example, is echoed point for point in the local myth of its origin. The Klamath tribe saw it happen and passed down the story - for nearly 8,000 years." "We, however, have been literate so long that we've forgotten how myths encode reality. Recent studies of how our brains work, applied to a wide range of data from the Pacific Northwest to ancient Egypt to modern stories reported in newspapers, have helped the Barbers deduce the characteristic principles by which such tales both develop and degrade through time. Myth is in fact a quite reasonable way to convey important messages orally over many generations - although reasoning back to the original events is possible only under rather specific conditions."--Jacket." ;
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