LLT 321 Final Guide: the final consists of (I) matching; (II) identification; (III) outline or short essay.
I. Review topics (related to Burkert’s discussion)
1) Creation stories (esp. Succession Myth): Review in detail the Greek and Hittite versions (a-b)
a) Hesiod's Theogony:
Gaia + Ouranos (Heaven) >> Titans 12, Ocean, Themis, etc.
led by Cronos and Rhea
Castration of Ouranos (and offspring: Aphrodite and Furies)
Offspring of Cronos and Rhea: elder Olympians
Poseidon, Hades, Demeter, Hera, and Zeus
Zeus overthrows Cronos
challengers to Zeus: Giants, Typhoeus; lesson of Metis
Prometheus and Man (trick of sacrifice, theft of fire, Pandora)
b) Hittite Kingship in Heaven
Alalu vs. Anu vs. Kumarbi vs. Teshub vs. Ullikummi
+ Storm God vs. Iluyanka
Also outline the chief reversals of 2 other ‘succession struggles’
c) Babylonian Enuma Elish
d) Theogony of Dunnu
e) Egyptian version: esp. Shu v. Geb; Osiris v. Seth; Horus v. Seth
2) Parallels to Heracles’ quest
Ninurta and Imdugud
Odysseus and Cyclops
3) Inanna and Dumuzi:
Jacobsen’s theory of numinous nature
Descent of Inanna
Egyptian tale of 2 bros. (Bata & Anubis)
as another ‘Potiphar’s wife’ tale
4) Myths of destruction (with Burkert ch. 6)
Atrahasis and Greek 'Ages of Man'
Egyptian Cataclysm (Hathor as Sakhmet the lioness)
II. Key terms from Burkert:
Propp--catalogued Russian folktales Quest pattern,
all follow regular sequence of 'functions' of typical turns of action.
Malinowski--explained myth and ritual as rooted in 'social charter';
myth explains social institutions, such as marriage and lawcourts.
C. Levi-Strauss--pioneer of structuralism,
explained Oedipus and Theban saga as a clash of 'binary oppositions'
such as man/monster, kinship/ conflict.
K. Lorenz--study animal 'ethology' with human implications:
ritual is a pattern of behavior adapted for communication
(no longer serving survival or reproduction)
like the triumph greeting of geese adapted from attacking intruders.
Burkert's 'biological perspective' proceeds on from Lorenz's premise,
that human ritual evolves in the same way.
In myth, 'programs of action'--the sequence of figures and events—
have a powerful appeal because they are rooted in our evolution,
parallel behavior that was once essential to survival.
Key features are: 'crystalization'--"interplay of multiple structures"
such as contrast and symmetry;
and 'collective importance'-- myth is about something that matters
to the community (as in “Girl’s tragedies” with birth of founding fathers).
Herms (from stone heap to square statue of Hermes-with-genitals)
thus derive from primitive instinct for marking territory;
phallic imagery originated in demonstration that 'males are at home,'
to scare off intruders.
Sacrifice ritual, both first-fruits (of harvest) and animal sacrifice
originated in behavior to defuse the conflict that would otherwise
arise over division of the food (don't fight; god gets his first).
Scapegoat ritual involves driving out an animal victim or human outcast (pharmakos)
to carry away disease or evil besetting the community.
B. suggests this originates in giving up one (marginal) member of the group
to save the others when threatened by predators or enemies.
Much of the Heracles saga (and heroic quest stories like it)
develop from the paleolithic quest of the shaman
to find the lost herds, esp. to recover them from the Mistress of Beasts.
Burkert challenges 'Frazerism'--the theory that much of the myth and ritual
surrounding dying gods and the Great Goddesses who attend them
(such as Inanna/Ishtar and Dumuzi/Tammuz)] find resurrection
in the cycle of vegetation; such is Jacobsen's approach.
B. points out, the most ancient versions have little to do with resurrection
or the vegetation cycle (more with ecstatic ritual lament).
B links this pairing of the Great goddess and doomed hunter with early hunting societies.
III. For one of the following topics organize an Outline or short Essay comparing two or more traditions:
1) Compare Norse Mythology with other traditions. Include aspects of ritual and myth, exploits and
attributes of Odin, Thor, Loki, Freyr, Balder, and others. How do these beliefs correspond to Greek or
Near Eastern tradition? Cite specific parallels. You may take a theoretical perspective:
Consider Burkert's model of animal sacrifice, shaman, scapegoat, etc.;
Jacobsen's theory of numinous awe evolving into personal gods;
or Dumezil's model of competing classes (Aesir and Vanir)
2) Apply Burkert's theory of the Shaman's Journey Beyond (as an explanation for such quests as Heracles')
to other materials: Gilgamesh? Odysseus? Norse Saga?
3) Compare Volsunga Saga with similar heroic tales: Gilgamesh? Odysseus? (Bros.) Bata and Anubis
4) Contrast Burkert's theory with Jacobsen's in regard to Dumuzi and the Great Goddess (=Inanna, etc.).
Remember that Jacobsen sees the wedding ritual (pictured on the Uruk Vase) as a magic rite to ensure
prosperity; the death of Dumuzi represents the cycle of fertility. Burkert sees the relationship differently
(esp. ch. 5). Compare the two theories on parallel material (Aphrodite and Adonis? Freyr and Balder, etc.).