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Rivers

Dr. Peterson and Biblical Archetypes

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I'm talking about Dr. Jordan Peterson.  Not Dr. Daniel C. Peterson.  He's become a controversial figure over the last couple of years.  I am assuming some of you are familiar with him.

  I am curious if anybody here is familiar with his Bible lectures.  He's done some rather long lectures on the major stories of the Book of Genesis and one about Christ.  He looks at all the Bible stories from a psychological and archetypal perspective.  I've listened to most of them and I found them to absolutely fascinating.  Much of what he says fits nicely into the Latter-day Saint worldview IMO.

https://jordanbpeterson.com/bible-series/

 

 

 

Edited by Rivers

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my fiance really likes dr. peterson. he watched a few of his online videos and then bought a couple of his books. at first i didnt think much of it, just one of those self-help books or something. 

looking back im really grateful for it. i dont know about anyone else, but my fiance seems drawn in to his ideas and ive seen him trying to apply them in his life. hes changed, at least from my viewpoint. he treats me different and its helped me change too. i think we are more ready for marriage now.

you know them by their fruits and i think dr peterson has been given a healthy portion of the light of christ.

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6 hours ago, Rivers said:

I'm talking about Dr. Jordan Peterson.  Not Dr. Daniel C. Peterson.  He's become a controversial figure over the last couple of years.  I am assuming some of you are familiar with him.

  I am curious if anybody here is familiar with his Bible lectures.  He's done some rather long lectures on the major stories of the Book of Genesis and one about Christ.  He looks at all the Bible stories from a psychological and archetypal perspective.  I've listened to most of them and I found them to absolutely fascinating.  Much of what he says fits nicely into the Latter-day Saint worldview IMO.

https://jordanbpeterson.com/bible-series/

 

 

 

I have not heard his Bible lectures but many of his debates and commentaries are on youtube. He interviews with Joe Rogan quite frequently and has discussed some of his views on the "person of Christ"....and I agree that his take is fascinating! 

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A lot of is stuff arises out of Jung. I'm deeply skeptical of Jungian archetypes though.

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11 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

A lot of is stuff arises out of Jung. I'm deeply skeptical of Jungian archetypes though.

What do you make of Lord Raglan and of Joseph Campbell?

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-wWBGo6a2w  (Biblical Series I: “Introduction to the Idea of God,” Toronto, May 16, 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdrLQ7DpiWs  (Biblical Series II: “Genesis 1: Chaos & Order,” Toronto, May 23, 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_GPAl_q2QQ  (Biblical Series III: “God and the Hierarchy of Authority,” Toronto, June 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifi5KkXig3s   (Biblical Series IV: “Adam and Eve: Self-Consciousness, Evil, and Death,” Toronto, June 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44f3mxcsI50  (Biblical Series V: “Cain and Abel: The Hostile Brothers,” Toronto, June 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNjbasba-Qw  (Biblical Series VI: “The Psychology of the Flood,” Toronto, June 26, 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gFjB9FTN58  (Biblical Series VII: “Walking with God: Noah and the Flood (corrected),” Toronto, July 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoQdp2prfmM  (Biblical Series VIII: “The Phenomenology of the Divine,” Toronto, July 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmuzUZTJ0GA  (Biblical Series IX: The Call to Abraham,” Toronto, July 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Y6bCqT85Pc  (Biblical Series X: “Abraham: Father of Nations,” Toronto, Aug 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKzpj0Ev8Xs   (Biblical Series XI: “Sodom and Gomorrah,” Toronto, Aug 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yUP40gwht0  (Biblical Series XII: “The Great Sacrifice: Abraham and Isaac,” Toronto, Aug 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9JtQN_GoVI  (Biblical Series XIII: “Jacob's Ladder,” Toronto, Oct 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRJKwDfDbco  (Biblical Series XIV: “Jacob: Wrestling with God,” Toronto, Nov 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7V8eZ1BLiI   (Biblical Series XV: “Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors,” Toronto, Dec 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPIanlF6IwM&index=17&list=PLxrHXN_dGw5_rze2tdaHZzPZhMN15PCjl   (“The Death and Resurrection of Christ: A Commentary in Five Parts,” April 2018)

Edited by Robert F. Smith

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5 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-wWBGo6a2w  (Biblical Series I: “Introduction to the Idea of God,” Toronto, May 16, 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdrLQ7DpiWs  (Biblical Series II: “Genesis 1: Chaos & Order,” Toronto, May 23, 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_GPAl_q2QQ  (Biblical Series III: “God and the Hierarchy of Authority,” Toronto, June 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifi5KkXig3s   (Biblical Series IV: “Adam and Eve: Self-Consciousness, Evil, and Death,” Toronto, June 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44f3mxcsI50  (Biblical Series V: “Cain and Abel: The Hostile Brothers,” Toronto, June 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNjbasba-Qw  (Biblical Series VI: “The Psychology of the Flood,” Toronto, June 26, 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gFjB9FTN58  (Biblical Series VII: “Walking with God: Noah and the Flood (corrected),” Toronto, July 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoQdp2prfmM  (Biblical Series VIII: “The Phenomenology of the Divine,” Toronto, July 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmuzUZTJ0GA  (Biblical Series IX: The Call to Abraham,” Toronto, July 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Y6bCqT85Pc  (Biblical Series X: “Abraham: Father of Nations,” Toronto, Aug 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKzpj0Ev8Xs   (Biblical Series XI: “Sodom and Gomorrah,” Toronto, Aug 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yUP40gwht0  (Biblical Series XII: “The Great Sacrifice: Abraham and Isaac,” Toronto, Aug 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9JtQN_GoVI  (Biblical Series XIII: “Jacob's Ladder,” Toronto, Oct 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRJKwDfDbco  (Biblical Series XIV: “Jacob: Wrestling with God,” Toronto, Nov 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7V8eZ1BLiI   (Biblical Series XV: “Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors,” Toronto, Dec 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPIanlF6IwM&index=17&list=PLxrHXN_dGw5_rze2tdaHZzPZhMN15PCjl   (“The Death and Resurrection of Christ: A Commentary in Five Parts,” April 2018)

Thanks Robert!

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9 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

What do you make of Lord Raglan and of Joseph Campbell?

I'm pretty skeptical of structuralism. I think the danger is that you divorce patterns from context and often "force them" to justify a particular archetype. That ends up distorting the original texts a fair bit. That's especially true of Campbell who's explicitly coming out of that tradition. Raglan was writing so long ago that there's not a lot of explicit theoretical scaffolding for his ideas. But the same problems apply. That's not to say we can't talk about hero patterns or the like. But I think we have to be careful not to treat it as a clear entity of its own. Rather a very loose pattern we find popping up. 

The problem with Jung and others is that they treat these as pretty strong substantial entities. That's as true of those who perhaps embrace more of an evolutionary psychology approach rather than the more platonic approach of Jung. I'm just really skeptical of that. It can be useful but one has to be careful not to push it too far. The danger is that once you have a structure you think in terms of the structure rather than the lived experience within a particular place and time and how it varies from that structure. 

Edited by clarkgoble
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9 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

What do you make of Lord Raglan and of Joseph Campbell?

I've got two copies of Raglan's little book, The Origins of Religion, and am very fond of it, and particularly like the logic and knowledge displayed in comparison to other thinkers of his day, such as Freud, Russell, and Frazer.  (Raglan differed from them in that he had personal experience living among tribal peoples in Africa, and learned to respect them.)  I can see why Nibley liked it enough to refer to it several times as one of his favorite books.  The typography is a bit strange, and it has been out of print for a long time.  I used bookfinder to get mine, after once xeroxing the one at BYU.   I've read a few other things as well.

I've also read several things by Campbell, (Hero with a Thousand Faces, Power of Myth, Primitive Mythology, and a few others) and have DVDs of The Power of Myth.  I enjoy him.  He has an essay given at BYU that is quite interesting.   I'm also fond of several essays I have read drawing on Campbell to look at Nephi's encounter with Laban in light of the hero's journey (in JBMS) and one on Joseph Smith's life and death in light of the hero's journey (Utah Historical Quarterly).

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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51 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

I'm pretty skeptical of structuralism. I think the danger is that you divorce patterns from context and often "force them" to justify a particular archetype. That ends up distorting the original texts a fair bit. That's especially true of Campbell who's explicitly coming out of that tradition. Raglan was writing so long ago that there's not a lot of explicit theoretical scaffolding for his ideas. But the same problems apply. That's not to say we can't talk about hero patterns or the like. But I think we have to be careful not to treat it as a clear entity of its own. Rather a very loose pattern we find popping up. 

You might want to take a look at Clifton Jolley, "The Martyrdom of Joseph Smith: An Archetypal Study," Utah Historical Quarterly, 44 (Fall 1976):329-350; and his "The Sublime, the Mythic, the Archetypal and the Small," doctoral dissertation (BYU, August 1979).  Jolley applies Lord Raglan's classic 15 points of the mythic hero to Joseph Smith, which leads to some startling conclusions, not least of which is that Joseph Smith could not possibly have existed in real life, and that he was merely an archetypal, mythic solar hero.  Prof. E. M. Butler, The Myth of the Magus (1948), likewise presents 10 characteristics of heroes with which Joseph ought to be compared.  So also Edgar C. Snow, Jr., “One Face of the Hero: In Search of the Mythological Joseph Smith,” Dialogue, 27/3 (Fall 1994):233-247, in light of Joseph Campbell, Hero with a Thousand Faces, 2nd ed., 30 (cf. 10 n.10).  Blake Ostler manages to tie the vision in 1 Nephi to the typology of Joseph's visions as well in BYU Studies 26/4 (Winter 1986):67-95 (with typology addendum).  I could go on with a dozen more citations, but the question comes up whether this is all based on sheer imagination, or is there actual substance here?  And is it ultimately connected with Nibley's beloved myth-ritualism?

Quote

The problem with Jung and others is that they treat these as pretty strong substantial entities. That's as true of those who perhaps embrace more of an evolutionary psychology approach rather than the more platonic approach of Jung. I'm just really skeptical of that. It can be useful but one has to be careful not to push it too far. The danger is that once you have a structure you think in terms of the structure rather than the lived experience within a particular place and time and how it varies from that structure. 

Where would psychoanalysis be without all those case study books -- from which useful patterns have been derived?  What of the studies on the highly patterned approach to math by savants?  As though pattern and structure has some actual, proven utility.  

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29 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

You might want to take a look at Clifton Jolley, "The Martyrdom of Joseph Smith: An Archetypal Study," Utah Historical Quarterly, 44 (Fall 1976):329-350; and his "The Sublime, the Mythic, the Archetypal and the Small," doctoral dissertation (BYU, August 1979).  Jolley applies Lord Raglan's classic 15 points of the mythic hero to Joseph Smith, which leads to some startling conclusions, not least of which is that Joseph Smith could not possibly have existed in real life, and that he was merely an archetypal, mythic solar hero.

I think you miss the point of the criticism which was directed towards psychology (whether a platonic shared mind or structures in individual brains). That is psychologists take the supposed archetypes and see them as universal structures operative in all human psychology.

I'm certainly not arguing there may not be narratives where the structures fit. Those using the archetypes even in non-psychological settings sometimes, who may force the structure on a narrative are the problem. Merely finding an example narrative where it works is largely beside the point. The question is more the function of the archetype. Further I think it relatively uncontroversial that in the ancient world people did look to archetypes and wrote narratives with them. The danger there though is the same thing. That the authors distorted the actual history to make it fit the structure. So for instance there's reasons to distrust Livy's history of Rome in places because it seems like he's making the history fit the structure he wants. You see this in histories with competing structures the authors see as valuable. You typically end up with quite different histories. That's characteristic of history in the ancient world of course but is a huge problem.

The problem with Campbell is that he wants universal structures that apply to all cultures rather than seeing archetypes relative to a particular culture with the understanding of those archetypes evolving as the culture evolves. In his desire to explicate what he sees as the structure he simply distorts his sources somewhat. Likewise, while not dealing with archetypes, you see the same thing happening in other examples of structuralism such as Foucault's various histories dealing with sex and mental illness. He distorts the history often in big ways in order to make it fit the structure he wants. I think there's something to Foucault's basic insight, but the arguments he makes about sex and madness are completely undermined I think by his distorted history.

If you find a narrative that actually fits a structure, that's fine but tells us nothing about the universality of that structure.

29 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Where would psychoanalysis be without all those case study books -- from which useful patterns have been derived?  What of the studies on the highly patterned approach to math by savants?  As though pattern and structure has some actual, proven utility.  

The question often is how accurate the case studies are. Is Freud, for instance, fitting the person to match his theories or is he in an unbiased way producing a relatively objective account of the person in question? Further, for those theorizing on the basis of case studies how much attention do they pay within the case study to what doesn't fit the theory? To even write a case study you include what is important and exclude what is irrelevant. However to make that judgment you have to already have a theoretic structure determining what is or isn't important. Thus many would say that case studies can't avoid being distorted by structure. This is why a careful double blind experiment produces far more psychological insight and theories that actually are confirmed over time.

 

Edited by clarkgoble
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2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

You might want to take a look at Clifton Jolley, "The Martyrdom of Joseph Smith: An Archetypal Study," Utah Historical Quarterly, 44 (Fall 1976):329-350; and his "The Sublime, the Mythic, the Archetypal and the Small," doctoral dissertation (BYU, August 1979).  Jolley applies Lord Raglan's classic 15 points of the mythic hero to Joseph Smith, which leads to some startling conclusions, not least of which is that Joseph Smith could not possibly have existed in real life, and that he was merely an archetypal, mythic solar hero.  Prof. E. M. Butler, The Myth of the Magus (1948), likewise presents 10 characteristics of heroes with which Joseph ought to be compared.  So also Edgar C. Snow, Jr., “One Face of the Hero: In Search of the Mythological Joseph Smith,” Dialogue, 27/3 (Fall 1994):233-247, in light of Joseph Campbell, Hero with a Thousand Faces, 2nd ed., 30 (cf. 10 n.10).  Blake Ostler manages to tie the vision in 1 Nephi to the typology of Joseph's visions as well in BYU Studies 26/4 (Winter 1986):67-95 (with typology addendum).  I could go on with a dozen more citations, but the question comes up whether this is all based on sheer imagination, or is there actual substance here?  And is it ultimately connected with Nibley's beloved myth-ritualism?

Where would psychoanalysis be without all those case study books -- from which useful patterns have been derived?  What of the studies on the highly patterned approach to math by savants?  As though pattern and structure has some actual, proven utility.  

Over the years I have come to ponder the significance of a phrase in the D&C where the Lord says "I give you a pattern in all things...." and elsewhere "all things which are given of him are the typifying of Christ."  Indeed, it seems to me that one of the things that makes an intelligence what it is, is the capacity for self-awareness, agency, and pattern recognition.  So whether the patterning is fashionable or not, I remain impressed and enlightened.  And I like writers like Campbell, Raglan, Frye, Alter, Eliade, and Nibley, and others, who can work and think at that level.  William Blake does it.

Jolley's essay on the Martyrdom and more is remarkable reading, a classic, I think.   I wish it were more readily available.  I xeroxed it years ago.  Come to think of it, It is online here:

http://digitallibrary.utah.gov/awweb/awarchive?type=file&item=34921

The JBMS essay that uses Campbell and Hero with a Thousand Faces that I was remembering is by Tod Harris:

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1393&index=4

I think it is particularly good on explaining the encounter with Laban.

Campbell, as I recall, talks a lot about culturally specific aspects of myth, as well as archetypal aspects.  For example, the difference between the gregarious Chinese dragons and hoarding bitter European dragons who hoard both gold and virgins despite being unable to use either.

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

FWIW

Kevin

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13 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

What do you make of Lord Raglan and of Joseph Campbell?

Both of them created as much as collected. Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces is pretty obviously constructed to show Christ as the ultimate archetype. As with any collection that relies on parallels, it can be difficult to extract the actual parallels from those artificially created. 

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2 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

 So whether the patterning is fashionable or not, I remain impressed and enlightened.  And I like writers like Campbell, Raglan, Frye, Alter, Eliade, and Nibley, and others, who can work and think at that level. 

Alter and Eliade though seem different from what Campbell, Raglan, Frye and even Nibley are doing.

Alter sees types as literary devices but also sees them as shifting through time. So he emphasizes quite strongly different textual traditions and argues against unity of structure in the human mind. That said in the past he's explicitly seen literature in terms of New Critical and structuralist views. (See his comments in Literary Guide to the Bible although that was way back in 1990) Of course one can allow for pluralism without embracing some of the post structuralist approaches like deconstruction that he's critical of. But I think his thought is very much caught up in historical concerns and not structuralism.

Eliade is interesting since he's in that structuralist tradition but also is quite influenced by Heidegger and others who end up undermining that tradition. There's definitely elements of structuralism in Eliade but also a hermeneutic not as bound to them as we see in the figures more properly structuralist. As such he's often seen as having a foot in both the structuralist and post-structuralist camps. However certainly Eliade's attempts to see religion as a structure in all minds ends up being very much in the structuralist camp and exactly the sort of thing I'm criticizing. I just think that for various reasons he's a more complex case.

 

2 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

Campbell, as I recall, talks a lot about culturally specific aspects of myth, as well as archetypal aspects.  For example, the difference between the gregarious Chinese dragons and hoarding bitter European dragons who hoard both gold and virgins despite being unable to use either.

My copy is in storage so I can't look it up, but I seem to recall him doing this only in a very limited fashion. The basic issue though is the human psychology aspect in his thought. He's deeply influenced by Freud and Jung and that's the problematic part.

Edited by clarkgoble

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3 hours ago, Brant Gardner said:

Both of them created as much as collected. Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces is pretty obviously constructed to show Christ as the ultimate archetype. As with any collection that relies on parallels, it can be difficult to extract the actual parallels from those artificially created. 

The evidence is overwhelming that biblical stories (for example) share much in common with ancient Near Eastern myth generally, whether we are speaking of Creation, Flood, or other primeval accounts, while the history of the Patriarchs and Israel generally repeat well-known tropes and themes from neighboring cultures.  The names are changed, but the details remain much the same (even if demythologized), as though the tradents/editors were shaping the stories to fit a set of pre-existing assumptions.  This occurs throughout the Book of Mormon as well.  This may be taken as evidence of plagiarism, or of the influence of an archetypal, universal human consciousness.  Of course Nibley would interpret it via the norms of myth-ritualism (suggesting the constant hand of God in human affairs).

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6 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

....................................

The question often is how accurate the case studies are. Is Freud, for instance, fitting the person to match his theories or is he in an unbiased way producing a relatively objective account of the person in question? Further, for those theorizing on the basis of case studies how much attention do they pay within the case study to what doesn't fit the theory? To even write a case study you include what is important and exclude what is irrelevant. However to make that judgment you have to already have a theoretic structure determining what is or isn't important. Thus many would say that case studies can't avoid being distorted by structure. This is why a careful double blind experiment produces far more psychological insight and theories that actually are confirmed over time.

Much of modern psychological analysis and theorizing is data-driven, as in the case of the controversial conclusions drawn by Jordan Peterson.  He combines many years of clinical practice with real data to draw some breathtaking conclusions.

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Much of modern psychological analysis and theorizing is data-driven, as in the case of the controversial conclusions drawn by Jordan Peterson.  He combines many years of clinical practice with real data to draw some breathtaking conclusions.

I've just not listened enough to say much about breathtaking conclusions. I know the standard critique is that he's either using Jung in odd ways or else he's just referencing fairly mundane mainstream psychology findings. That's not to say it might be interesting to people not already familiar with such studies. And clearly he's putting it in a form that at least a significant number of people find appealing even if others find problematic.

1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The evidence is overwhelming that biblical stories (for example) share much in common with ancient Near Eastern myth generally, whether we are speaking of Creation, Flood, or other primeval accounts, while the history of the Patriarchs and Israel generally repeat well-known tropes and themes from neighboring cultures.  The names are changed, but the details remain much the same (even if demythologized), as though the tradents/editors were shaping the stories to fit a set of pre-existing assumptions.  This occurs throughout the Book of Mormon as well.  This may be taken as evidence of plagiarism, or of the influence of an archetypal, universal human consciousness.  Of course Nibley would interpret it via the norms of myth-ritualism (suggesting the constant hand of God in human affairs).

Nibley seemed to switch between a diffusionary explanation for common patterns and a more platonic conception (such as in the second half of The Ancient State) I'm not sure I buy Nibley's more platonic inclinations but diffusion of memes always was appealing to me so long as one pays attention to how they evolve. I'm not sure plagiarism is a terribly useful term in an ancient context. However clearly there's borrowing and intertextuality at play. (As we see in the OT which borrows from both Egyptian and Canaanite texts)

 

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2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The evidence is overwhelming that biblical stories (for example) share much in common with ancient Near Eastern myth generally, whether we are speaking of Creation, Flood, or other primeval accounts, while the history of the Patriarchs and Israel generally repeat well-known tropes and themes from neighboring cultures.  The names are changed, but the details remain much the same (even if demythologized), as though the tradents/editors were shaping the stories to fit a set of pre-existing assumptions.  This occurs throughout the Book of Mormon as well.  This may be taken as evidence of plagiarism, or of the influence of an archetypal, universal human consciousness.  Of course Nibley would interpret it via the norms of myth-ritualism (suggesting the constant hand of God in human affairs).

There are similar stories in regions--the more closely connected the cultures, the more borrowing. That is what we see in the Ancient Near East. There are clearly parallels. What Campbell did was universalize that kind of similarity and expand to larger regions. So, yes there are legitimate themes that fit certain ideas, but it is the widespread application that leads to too much simplification. A good article is: Dundes, Alan. “The Hero Pattern and the Life of Jesus.” In In Quest of the Hero. Introduction by Robert A. Segal. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1990, 179–223.

Dundes does suggest that there are some literary themes, and points out how Lincoln's biography fits into the Hero Pattern--unconsciously. See also Propp, Vladimir. Morphology of the Folktale. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1977 for themes in Russian folktales--which do not fit the Hero theme, but are nevertheless regional tropes.

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5 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

I've just not listened enough to say much about breathtaking conclusions. I know the standard critique is that he's either using Jung in odd ways or else he's just referencing fairly mundane mainstream psychology findings. That's not to say it might be interesting to people not already familiar with such studies. And clearly he's putting it in a form that at least a significant number of people find appealing even if others find problematic.

He became well-known initially for his regular lectures at Univ of Toronto, which he put on Youtube.  He previously taught at Harvard.  He has been debunking postmodern and Marxist interpretation, in addition to insisting on academic rigor in the humanities.  He is particularly opposed to political correctness and to efforts to prevent free speech and free inquiry.

5 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

Nibley seemed to switch between a diffusionary explanation for common patterns and a more platonic conception (such as in the second half of The Ancient State) I'm not sure I buy Nibley's more platonic inclinations but diffusion of memes always was appealing to me so long as one pays attention to how they evolve. I'm not sure plagiarism is a terribly useful term in an ancient context. However clearly there's borrowing and intertextuality at play. (As we see in the OT which borrows from both Egyptian and Canaanite texts)

True enough, but the reductionist hoi polloi see everything in terms of plagiarism, completely unaware that there was no such concept anciently.

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