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jackm's avatar

What stories in mythology seem to be repeated?

Asked by jackm (6198points) February 11th, 2010

I have heard that Jesus’ story is a repeat of older pagan myths. Is this true? Are there other examples of stories being repeated in different myths?

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11 Answers

janbb's avatar

All of them; read Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces for the definitive discussion.

laureth's avatar

Besides what @janbb said…

A lot of the Bible is a repeat of older Pagan myths. The finding of Moses in the river, and Noah’s flood spring to mind immediately.

faye's avatar

Misrith stories and Jesus stories are pretty similar.

phoebusg's avatar

Great question, before the systematic ‘unholy’ destruction of written word came in, one could very easily reference and see how a story is borrowing elements from other stories to be. The bible is one big patchwork of borrowed works. Without accreditation or reference to its sources. In a sense, if the authors thought all is a manifestation of god, then in their thinking god did ‘manifest’ it through the writing of others.

I think there is a lot of academic works with a huge breadth of work devoted just to that topic. One favorite is the series called ‘the criminal history of christianity’ by karlheinz Deschner. The original is in German but it’s slowly being translated.
http://www.deschner.info/index.htm?/en/work/kg/criminalhistory.htm

Very meticulous, what’s astonishing is that there are 7 lengthy volumes – and he’s not done yet.

Jeruba's avatar

Yes. Many myths and themes are consistent or very similar across different cultures.

Sir James Frazer’s The Golden Bough is a compilation and comparison of myths of religious traditions from ancient times forward, around the world. It is organized around big themes such as “the birth of the god” (virgin birth appears in many traditions), “the killing of the god,” and “the eating of the god”—all of which are familiar in Christian mythology but hardly began there. (The eating of the god is, of course, “holy communion” to the Christians.)

Haleth's avatar

I’ve always been fascinated with the idea that some stories are archetypes that we see again and again because they come from humanity’s collective unconscious. If you think about it, a lot of our stories can be boiled down to simple plots like the hero’s quest and the tragic downfall. The Flood is one story that seems to appear many times in mythology.

phoebusg's avatar

@Haleth there are more cultural connections than apparent however. We take for granted most of what comes down to us by culture thinking often we invented it. It can take as little as a generation of no reading and blind belief to bring us back to 0, unless we stumble upon the scratchings of the past again. Starting a-new is always possible, but it will take a very long time.

JimmyG's avatar

Every writer is a plagiarist. It is impossible to write a completely original work.

Jeruba's avatar

There’s a long, long gap between complete originality and plagiarism, which is a reprehensible act. Complete originality may be impossible because everyone writes within a cultural and linguistic context, but only thieves of the work of others are plagiarists.

phoebusg's avatar

If the bible was an academic paper, and I was marking it the person would be expelled. But maybe I’m too harsh. I wouldn’t mind so much if it was referenced/crediting previous work.

TehRoflMobile's avatar

The Flood story seems to pop up everywhere.

As for mythological beings, dragons and Bigfoot-like beings seem to end up all around the globe as well.

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