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Reply To: Why I Disagree with Joe Campbell

#73279
Participant

Hello,
I believe in this day and age it is recommended to weigh all pros and cons in areas we deem interesting. With the advent of the computer internet google and other search engines we don’t suffer from lack of information. In fact we now suffer from information overload. I believe this a good thing because it creates more discernible individuals. There are many critiques and criticisms of Joseph Campbell on the web. I enjoy reading them all. I also still enjoy Joseph Campbell after reading what the critics have to say. The rabbit hole that is the internet is also a honeycomb cave. I read all with no fear. I take all with as a grain of salt . I do like salt that Crystal clear Cubic mineral preservative essential for the proper function of life. I enjoy myth metaphor allegory etymology. I thank Joseph Campbell for flaming a spark in my active imagination and streams of consciousness. My life has been enriched for having read him along with many others. It has been and will continue to be Lots of Fun. I live my life as a Wake … as possible thanks to JC JJ et al …

I like to to think of Joseph Campbell as the reigning priest in the grove of popular myth. Aka the sacred grove of Diana at Nemi. Critics and contenders have challenged. Still none have toppled or conquered JC in this pop grove of myth. Yes there are more knowledgeable specialists in their respective fields. May they propagate harvest produce a bounty . But none come close to communicating with the flair of general knowledge the way JC does through his work and writing.  May  ”The Golden Bough” “Bloom” eternal !!! May the …,phrase you’re,… contemplating wax  wane  reign  forever poetic !!! All hail perennial Humanity !!!

May JC take his place as a leaf on the Tree of Life !!!

“In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”

 

from wiki article on Joseph Campbell.

“Academic reception and criticism
Campbell’s approach to myth, a genre of folklore, has been the subject of criticism from folklorists, academics who specialize in folklore studies. American folklorist Barre Toelken notes that few psychologists have taken the time to become familiar with the complexities of folklore, and that, historically, Jung-influenced psychologists and authors have tended to build complex theories around single versions of a tale that supports a theory or a proposal. To illustrate his point, Toelken employs Clarissa Pinkola Estés’s (1992) Women Who Run with the Wolves, citing its inaccurate representation of the folklore record, and Campbell’s “monomyth” approach as another. Regarding Campbell, Toelken writes, “Campbell could construct a monomyth of the hero only by citing those stories that fit his preconceived mold, and leaving out equally valid stories… which did not fit the pattern”. Toelken traces the influence of Campbell’s monomyth theory into other then-contemporary popular works, such as Robert Bly’s Iron John: A Book About Men (1990), which he says suffers from similar source selection bias.[73]

Similarly, American folklorist Alan Dundes is highly critical of both Campbell’s approach to folklore, designating him as a “non-expert” and outlining various examples of source bias in Campbell’s theories, as well as media representation of Campbell as an expert on the subject of myth in popular culture. Dundes writes, “Folklorists have had some success in publicising the results of our efforts in the past two centuries such that members of other disciplines have, after a minimum of reading, believe they are qualified to speak authoritatively of folkloristic matters. It seems that the world is full of self-proclaimed experts in folklore, and a few, such as Campbell, have been accepted as such by the general public (and public television, in the case of Campbell)”. According to Dundes, “there is no single idea promulgated by amateurs that has done more harm to serious folklore study than the notion of archetype”.[74]

According to anthropologist Raymond Scupin, “Joseph Campbell’s theories have not been well received in anthropology because of his overgeneralizations, as well as other problems.”[75]

Campbell’s Sanskrit scholarship has been questioned. Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, a former Sanskrit professor at the University of Toronto, said that he once met Campbell, and that the two “hated each other at sight”, commenting that, “When I met Campbell at a public gathering, he was quoting Sanskrit verses. He had no clue as to what he was talking about; he had the most superficial knowledge of India but he could use it for his own aggrandizement. I remember thinking: this man is corrupt. I know that he was simply lying about his understanding”.[76] According to Richard Buchen, librarian of the Joseph Campbell Collection at the Pacifica Graduate Institute, Campbell could not translate Sanskrit well. However, Buchen adds that Campbell worked closely with three scholars who did translate Sanskrit well.[77]

Ellwood observes that The Masks of God series “impressed literate laity more than specialists”; he quotes Stephen P. Dunn as remarking that in Occidental Mythology Campbell “writes in a curiously archaic style – full of rhetorical questions, exclamations of wonder and delight, and expostulations directed at the reader, or perhaps at the author’s other self – which is charming about a third of the time and rather annoying the rest.” Ellwood notes that “Campbell was not really a social scientist, and those in the latter camp could tell” and records a concern about Campbell’s “oversimpification of historical matters and tendency to make myth mean whatever he wanted it to mean”.[78] The critic Camille Paglia, writing in Sexual Personae (1990), expressed disagreement with Campbell’s “negative critique of fifth-century Athens” in Occidental Mythology, arguing that Campbell missed the “visionary and exalted” androgyny in Greek statues of nude boys.[79] Paglia has written that while Campbell is “a seminal figure for many American feminists”, she loathes him for his “mawkishness and bad research.” Paglia has called Campbell “mushy” and a “false teacher”,[80] and described his work as a “fanciful, showy mishmash”.[81]

Campbell has also been accused of antisemitism by some authors. In a 1989 New York Review of Books article, Brendan Gill accused Campbell of both antisemitism and prejudice against blacks.[82] Gill’s article resulted in a series of letters to the editor, some supporting the charge of antisemitism or accusing Campbell of having various right-wing biases, others defending him. However, according to Robert S. Ellwood, Gill relied on “scraps of evidence, largely anecdotal” to support his charges.[83] In 1991, Masson also accused Campbell of “hidden anti-Semitism” and “fascination with conservative, semifascistic views”.[84] Contrarily, the “fascist undercurrents” in Campbell’s work and especially its influence on Star Warshave been called “a reminder of how easily totalitarianism can knock at any society’s door.”[85]

The religious studies scholar Russell T. McCutcheon characterized the “following [of] the bliss of self-realization” in Campbell’s work as “spiritual and psychological legitimation” for Reaganomics.[86]”

 

Frazer = ,phrase you’re,