Karen Armstrong’s a Short History of Myth

Learning Goal: I’m working on a humanities test / quiz prep and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.

  1. In Armstrong’s book and in our discussions, we have been trying to define
    the question, “What is myth?” How does Armstrong distinguish it from
    religion it? 
  2. Armstrong gives five functions of myth: what are they?
  3. What is your understanding of myth? How is it shifting since beginning this
    class? Please use examples from class discussion and the book.
  4. The Paleolithic age had some extraordinary spiritual beliefs. What were
    some of the aspects of their spirituality that stood out to you? How did myth
    play a part in these early traditions? 
  5. What was the most significant development in the Neolithic Age for
    humans, and how did this appear in their mythology? What was the most
    interesting myth for you in the Neolithic Age? Explain.
  6. Describe the conditions of the Early Civilization: How did this lead us into
    the Axial Age in contrast? How did our relationship to the gods shift during
    this time period?
  7. Why was the axial age important? What happened in China? What
    happened in India?  What happened in Greece? What happened in the
    Middle East? What role did compassion play in all of these traditions? 
    Why do you think they are or aren’t still significant today?
  8. Define Mythos and Logos. Please use quotes from Armstrong. How did
    they come into paradox during the Axial Age? What was the result?
  9. What was the cause of the Great Western Transformation?  How did
    Mythos fall to Logos? What are some of the things we lost? What have we
    gained? What are the consequences of living the way we do now?
  10. What does Armstrong say is the role of the artist/writer in relation to
    mythology? Why might creating art be necessary for cultivating
    compassion? We find ourselves in the most extraordinary of times. If you
    were to create a myth for today, a sacred story, what would it be?

Requirements: 8 to 10 sentences per question.

Style: APA

Word Count: 8 to 10 sentences per answer.


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