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Hero With a Thousand Faces Cover

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  • #72753

    I enjoy the cover of The Hero with a Thousand Faces.  However, I’m confused by the choice (which I assume was Campbell’s) to use the face of Jesus on the cover’s mosaic if Campbell was not Christian and this book (and his works, in general) did not focus on Christianity, to my knowledge. Please provide thoughts. Thanks.


      Thanks so much for the question!

      Hero with a Thousand Faces cover

      So, the main face on the cover is definitely not Jesus’ — if you look on cover (the back flap), it’s described as “Detail of a bronze statue of a young man, possibly by Phidias (460bc)” So it was created almost five hundred years before the Nativity!

      However, your question in fact makes Campbell’s point, I think: the hero of the title is every hero, including Greek heroes like Odysseus and Heracles, Gilgamesh and Innana, Finn Mac Cool and the princess from “The Frog Prince,” each of us in our own dreams… and, of course, Jesus,  Gautama, and many more. As we were creating the cover, the idea was to have a main image that felt mythological, but that wasn’t too identifiable (not Michaelangelo’s David, for example) — and then to have that image made up of hundreds of portraits of “ordinary” people (which Campbell would have said was an oxymoron).


        Oh — and the cover is from the 2008 edition, published some thirty years after Joseph Campbell’s death. So no, he had no say in the cover art.

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