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Reply To: Myth in Pop Culture

Toby Johnson

Hi Priscilla, you wrote that you are interested in contemporary pop culture myths. Are you familiar with the work of Jeffrey J Kripal?

Kripal is a professor of Comparative Religions at Rice University. He is a very prolific writer. He writes a lot about how the study of religion and myth necessarily changes how one understands the nature of religious/mythological truth (i.e., into a kind of neo-gnosticism). I think these discussions resonate with Joseph Campbell’s thoughts about “the new myth.”

Kripal also writes about comic book heroes and character in pop culture. One of his titles, for instance, is Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal.

He has also written a (very thick) definitive history of Esalen Institute. Of course, Campbell has a place in that discussion, both as an historical character who presented at Esalen but also as a contributor to what Kripal calls “the religion of no religion” (quoting Frederic Spiegelberg).

I’ve read a number of Kripal’s books and have learned from them all.