$84 – $104

World Mythology: Grand Narratives and Mythologies in the Western Tradition

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Artmakers Trust

2 Seddon Road

Hamilton, Waikato 3240

New Zealand

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Our 2020 Term 3 “World Mythology” series provides an in-depth look at the Western Mythological Traditions

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Have you ever wondered what the grand old narratives and myths of the Odyssey, Exodus or the Arthurian legends are all about but never had the time to study them? This course offers the opportunity to find out more!

Some great narratives and mythologies have strongly influenced the self-construction and imagination of the West. These include legendary stories and mythologies of the Bible, ancient Greek and Roman narratives, as well as Celtic, Germanic and Slavic mythologies.

In this class we’ll read and discuss some of the core texts of the Western tradition together. Based on a few exemplary texts, we’ll also look at later up-takes of mythological elements and the long-term effects of these narratives, which sometimes endure to the present day, especially in contemporary novels, films and art work, for example.

Applying close and critical reading, we will try to understand which fundamental philosophical, religious and historical questions the mythology is addressing. Additionally, we’ll discuss why myths and narratives have come to be considered seminal, which narratives have gained global appeal, and what they may still mean to us today. Finally, we’ll consider how the texts contributed to the construction of a ‘Western’ tradition and what possible parallels there may be with other, non-Western stories.

This eight-week course provides a detailed introduction to the Western mythological traditions. It will be taught in a seminar style, with each class introduced by a short (~10 minutes) talk, followed by a close and critical reading of the texts, followed by discussion, and group reflection.

Individual sessions focus on:

  • Week 1: Biblical Mythology: Genesis, Exodus, Abraham: Three visitors. Cosmology, creation, anthropology, imago dei, liberation theology, encounter, mystery, humour.
  • Week 2: Biblical Mythology: Birth of Jesus, Death of Jesus, Apocalypse. Revolution and mysticism, metaphysical hope and ecclesiastical formation, eschatology, end time.
  • Week 3: Ancient Greek Mythology: Odyssey, Sisyphus, Orpheus and Eurydice. Male heroes/lonesome men, life journey, alienation, absurdity, eros and thanatos, power of poetry and music, creation of art.
  • Week 4: Roman and Early French and Italian Mythology: Ovid: Metamorphosis (Pygmalion, Pyramus and Thisbe) Chanson de Roland, Dante: Purgatorio. Gender and education, ageing, chivalry, narrativity and retribution.
  • Week 5: Celtic Mythology: Arthurian Legend, Tristan and Isolde. Round Table: search for the summum bonum, fellowship, betrayal, redemption.
  • Week 6: Germanic Mythology: Loki and Baldur, Peer Gynt, Grimm’s Fairy Tale (The Seven Ravens). Good and evil, vita activa and vita contemplativa, gender balance (archetypical).
  • Week 7: Slavic Mythology: Baba Yaga, The Princess who never smiled. Otherness, eccentricity, coming of age.
  • Week 8: (Meta-) Reflection, conclusion. Cosmology, foundation myths, myths of liberation, myths concerning mysteries of life and death, human relationships, life of heroes, archetypes, modern up-takes. Theories about myths and mythology: myth and functionalism (Eliade, Barthes), myth as condensed history (euhemerism), myth and archetypes (Freud, Jung), myth and ritual, myth as poetry/narrative, comparative mythology.

Class meets on Tuesday evenings from 7:00-9:30pm, beginning on Tuesday 28 July runing for 8 weeks ending on Tuesday 15 September 2020.

Distance-learning options are available for those unable to attend classes and those living oitside the Waikato. Learners can choose to either attend our live-streamed classes via the free Zoom software, or watch the video-recorded sessions at a more convenient time.

All classes are taught from an historical/objective point of view and do not involve theology.

For more information on our classes visit our website: www.earthdiverse.org.nz/classes

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Artmakers Trust

2 Seddon Road

Hamilton, Waikato 3240

New Zealand

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Refund Policy

No Refunds

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