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Oriental Mythology: The Masks of God, Volume II Paperback – Nov 1 1991

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; New edition edition (Nov. 1 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140194428
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140194425
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 2.3 x 21.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #133,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"It is impossible to read this startling and entertaining book without an enlarged sense of total human possibility and an increased receptivity—'open-endedness' as Thomas Mann called it—to the still living past."
—Robert Gorham Davis

About the Author

Joseph Campbell was interested in mythology since his childhood in New York, when he read books about American Indians, frequently visited the American Museum of Natural History, and was fascinated by the museum's collection of totem poles. He earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees at Columbia in 1925 and 1927 and went on to study medieval French and Sanskrit at the universities of Paris and Munich. After a period in California, where he encountered John Steinbeck and the biologist Ed Ricketts, he taught at the Canterbury School, then, in 1934, joined the literature department at Sarah Lawrence College, a post he retained for many years. During the 1940s and '50s, he helped Swami Nikhilananda to translate the Upanishads and The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. The many books by Professor Campbell include The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Myths to Live By, The Flight of the Wild Gander, and The Mythic Image. He edited The Portable Arabian Nights, The Portable Jung, and other works. He died in 1987.

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First Sentence
The myth of eternal return, which is still basic to Oriental life, displays an order of fixed forms that appear and reappear through all time. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Format: Paperback
In this second volume of the "Mask" Trilogy, Campbell has moved from the perhistorical to historical. There is and has always been a great divide between the Occident and the Orient on matters of faith and Campbell thinks this has a lot to do with the mythical origins underlying all cultures and religions. Oddly, he begins in Egypt which eventually approached the Occidental viewpoint. But it is in the deserts of that ancient land that we begin with the ideas being set by the changeless seasons and the Nile.
Next a study of Buddhist, Hindu and other Oriental religions is undertaken. Somewhere along the line, East and West diverged on the issue of religious thought. One might say that Oriental belief systems harken back to the primitive in that multiple gods, representing various emotions, objects or ideas, were the norm. This was the way of ancient Greece and Egypt but both societies soon "evolved" toward a semi-monotheism or gave life to sects (ancient Judaism) that adopted the single god notion.
Of the three, this book was the hardest to comprehend, perhaps due to the foreign names. Still, it is a testament to the monumental research and innovative ideas of the author.
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By Mir Harven on Feb. 17 2002
Format: Paperback
In this book Campbell has covered the entire field
from Ancient Egypt via pre-Buddhist, Buddhist & post-Buddhist
India to China, Japan & Tibet.
Apart from a multitude of references, citations and amusing
legends illustrating his nominal concern (Mythologies)-the
center of this book (a part of "The Masks of God" tetralogy)
lies elsewhere. Essentailly, all Campbell's work (and "Oriental
Mythology", with its chapter 1 "Signatures of the four great
domains", is a particularly good example) is a predominantly
Jungian (with a few Freudian insights assimilated) comparative
analysis of the dominant traditional mindsets.
For instance, he sharply differentiates between two
"Western" archetypes (Jung again) & "loyalties":
1.Promethean hero-the Greco-Roman legacy
of ever-expanding and conquering being
2.Job-the Levantine legacy transmuted into Christianity
Or, "Eastern" loyalties of:
3.Yogi- ascetic absorbed in transcosmic cataleptic trance, as the "trademark" of India
4.Sage-essentially the Chinese ideal of harmony ("flowing" with Tao, or realizing
one's tao in society (Confucians))
Be as it may, this is a treasure trove of ideas, associations & insights.
I haven't encountered any richer or profounder work of late.
And, as a ghastly surprise, book ends with factual report on Chinese
communist invasion of Tibet (mutilations, castrations, sterilizations,
public executions & humiliations), as all the horrors from the "Bardo Thodhol"
have descended on our earthly reality. A horrendous reminder that
mythologies are not dead, dated nor irrelevant.
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Format: Paperback
Campbell's Masks of God series is,I think, the finest version of world history ever written. He exposes the choices, stages, tragedies and breakthroughts in an unfolding chorus of consciousness, expressed through art, story, and vision, that represents the real power and glory of the human adventure.
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Format: Paperback
This is the most impressive book I've ever read about mythology.Just buy it, and let it introduce you in a new world,full of spiritual knowledge.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Doris Mae Honer on April 8 2011
Format: Paperback
Joseph Campbell writes with wisdom and understanding. His comprehension of his subject and his writing style make the book an interesting read, informative, and enjoyable as well. It shows also that ancient mythology in different countries has many common denominators. Doris Mae Honer..Author, A Tale of Spirit: Yours, Mine, and Lessons from the Universe.
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