From: "Andrew Bollen"
Subject: Re: (urth) RTTW Chras writings Date: Wed, 8 Jan 2003 22:20:49 +1100 Crush the sleuth writes: A quick scan of the introduction to "The Greek Myths" did not find this one. Nor did I find it in Graves' introduction to Bullfinch's "The Fabled Age." The more I think about it, the less it sounds like something Graves would say. I didn't find it in Frazer's "The Golden Bough," albeit I was only scanning - still, it is surely post-Jungian considering the "psychology" reference. I really really wanted to find it in C.S. Lewis' "Myth Became Fact" but it's not there. But Lewis talks a lot about the meaning, purpose, and value of myth so there is a lot of places to look there. Hmmm, I didn't check Tolkien's essay introducing "Leaf by Niggle." ------------------ Those were the kind of places I'd been thinking of, too & I agree - *please* let it not be Campbell! I think C.S. Lewis is a good bet. The second sentence starts: "It [myth] is wholly other ..." That "wholly other" phrase is suggestive, being apparently a common term in in theology for the Godhead. It seems to be most closely associated with the writing of Rudolf Otto, esp. "Idea of the Holy". This is a work which influenced C.S. Lewis, who of course saw Christianity as being a myth of the same kind as the classical myths, except for being *true*. For Lewis et al, and maybe Wolfe, it would seem that the territory of myth is the same numinous, wholly other realm inhabited by the Godhead. This from a commentary site on Otto: "The Natural mystery indicates a secret or a mystery that is alien to us, incomprehensible, and unexplained. Like Sherlock Holmes, we may clear up this level of natural mystery. Religious mystery is of a higher order. It can never be solved, cleared up or otherwise resolved. It is in some sense Wholly Other, something "which is quite beyond the sphere of the usual, the intelligible, and the familiar, which therefore falls quite outside the limits of the 'canny', and is contrasted with it, filling the mind with blank wonder and astonishment." One frequent response is the human attempt to rationalize or explain away the Mystery with theories. This transforms Mystery into a problem. Otto points out that this is invalid: "The truly mysterious object is beyond our apprehension and comprehension, not only because our knowledge has certain irremovable limits, but because in it we come upon something inherently 'wholly other', whose kind and character are incommensurable with our own, and before which we therefore recoil in a wonder that strikes us chill and numb." Mystery is something we can feel, "without being able to give it clear conceptual expression." And this brief commentary on a work by John Crossan (of all people) kind of ties things together: Myth ... is rooted in extra-ordinary encounters with that which is Wholly Other than the world as we know it. When we read of the Paradise that is in Eden from which we are barred by "the cherubim and a perpetually revolving, flaming sword" (Gen 3:24), we know that the writer speaks of a realm that is Other, the Garden of God from which man has been expelled. By definition, this place cannot be found in our world. This does not say, however, that Paradise is not actual; merely that it does not exist in the world of objects around us the way women baking bread do --