LLT 321.... Comparative Mythology..... Spring 2005

Edwin Carawan ----Craig 390A---- Office Hours: 1 M-F.....phone: 836-4831.....edc113f@missouristate.edu ... http://courses.missouristate.edu/edc113f

Objectives: This course is an investigation of the common patterns and social causes of myth-making. The guiding theme of our study will be Violence and Order: we focus on the way myth seems to justify the practices of religion and early law as originating in some 'killing-in-exchange' (sacrifice or retribution).

Readings are divided into two units: (1) Creation and the Cosmos; and (2) the Hero's Quest.

With so wide a scope, we shall have to be selective. For primary material, Greek myth is central because it is so fully preserved. For comparison we focus first upon the most ancient sources, Sumer and Babylon, with a brief look at Egypt; we then turn to the relatively recent but remarkably primitive remains of Norse saga and related Germanic legend.

Parallel to this last set of readings we will sample and discuss a representative work of modern mythography: Walter Burkert's Structure and History,  an influential model tracing the roots of mythmaking back to defining violence in early human society.

Reqirements: The course grade will consist of 3 components: (1) Quizzes and in-class exercises (total 40%), (2) essays (2 @ 20 % each) and a Final Exam (20). The quizzes are largely short answer, matching and brief identification (Practice for Quiz 1 linked below).

Readings should be completed for the assigned date, and basic comprehension will be measured by in-class exercises. The essays reflect upon common and contrasting elements in two or more traditions; 4-5 pages suggested. Essay guides are linked to this syllabus.

The Final is largely review: short answer on basic terms, discussion of broader themes.

Integrity: Any request for make-up or rescheduling of tests should document reasonable need. Any academic dishonesty will be subject to sanctions (as listed in Student Academic Integrity, p.4) proportionate to the work: zero on quiz; course F on essay; XF on Final.      

   Special considerations: We strongly support University policies to accommodate students with disabilities and to prevent or remedy discrimination of any kind. If you have a concern or special need, please advise the instructor.   In regard to disabilities, you may also contact Disability Services (836-4192) http://www.missouristate.edu/disability; regarding discrimination, the Equal Opportunity Officer (836-4252) or go to http://www.missouristate.edu/human/eoaa.htm.

Texts:   Thorkild Jacobsen, The Treasures of Darkness (1976 = TD);     Gilgamesh Epic, Foster ed. (Norton edn)...    Lombardo, The Essential Homer (2000); ......   

J. Lindow, Norse Mythology (2002 =NM).....W. Burkert, Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual.  . . . Additional materials provided in class (hndt) and online.


































Jan. 10...Intro: Comparative Myth and Culture.
Goddess and Shaman
online: A thumbnail sketch of Creation stories
Unit I  Creation and the Cosmos	 

Jan. 12....TD 3-25:  Sumerians and discovery of the Sacred 
    a very rough timeline for Greece and Near East	
  Uruk Vase (for a closer look)        Mesopotamia 
Jan. 14 ...  TD 26-73:  Inanna and Death of Dumuzi ...	
Jan. 19 . . . TD 77-91: Gods as Rulers  Enki World	
Jan. 21-24 . . .TD  95-143: The Sumerian Pantheon  Rising
...'Enlil and Ninlil'  ..... 'Enki and Ninhursag (in Dilmun)'
Jan. 26  . . .  TD 146-64, Rise of Personal Religion
Jan. 28 . . . . . .Quiz 1	

Jan. 31 ...TD 167-191 = Enuma Elish	         

Feb. 2-4 ... Hesiod, the Greek Theogony  (online)
Hittite and other parallels; study qq. for Theogony	  
Succession Myths compared ...Zeus vs. Typhon
Feb. 7 ...Egyptian Myths of Creation (hndt)   
Feb. 9-11 ...  Egyptian Cataclysm, Greek  'Ages of Man'  
and Atrahasis (TD 116-21); Parallel Myths of Man's Doom
Lot's Daughters (another Cataclysm survived)  
Feb. 14 .... Review and Perspective    ...Horus vs. Seth
Feb. 16 . . .  Quiz 2. 	
Feb. 18-25 ... Gilgamesh & Co.	(Guide 1)
 Feb. 23-25...  Quest for Immortality and Aftermath 
  Egyptian Tale of Two Bros.    Summary of 'Two Bros.'
Mar. 7... Essay 1: Creation-- Violence and Order
Unit II. The Hero's Quest
Feb.28-Mar.2 ...End of the Iliad (16-24)= Homer 153-240
Mar. 4-7 ... Odyssey  9-13
Mar. 9 . . .Odyssey  Bks. 16-18 
Mar. 11-14 ... Odyssey  19-24 
Mar. 16  ...  Review and discussion
Mar. 18 ...Quiz 3
Mar. 21- Apr. 8... Norse Myth 
Mar. 21 ...  Read Lindow's Introduction (1-42)
Mar. 23 ...  Basic terms     Kvasir's Blood
 Gylfaginning  (unabridged)
***  Mar. 24-Apr.1, Spring Break ***
Apr. 4 ... Identify Basic terms in Gylfaginning 1-34  
cf. Otter's Ransom ....   Thor and Thrym   Outline/Guide
Apr. 6 ... Gylfaginning 38-50; outline the major stories, 
 Siring of Sleipnir, Journey to Utgard, Baldr & Ragnarok
Apr. 8 ...Readings in the Edda, cont.  Thor & Loki
Apr. 13 ...Essay 2:  the Journey Beyond 
Apr. 11-15... Volsunga Saga cf.  Niebelungenlied)
            5th c. Background: Volsungs and Burgundians
 Apr. 11 . . . Volsunga Saga 11-15... 16-18 .....(Guide) 
 Apr. 13 . . . Volsunga Saga 19-22...23-27...(Guide2)
Apr. 15 ... Volsunga Saga 28-32
April 18 . . Quiz 4  Norse gods & Germanic Saga
April 20 ....Burkert ch. 1. Defining Myth  
Apr. 22-25 ....Burkert chh. 2-3, Ritual and Scapegoat.
Apr.27-9...Burkert chh. 4-6, Goddesses & their Guys.
May 2 ...Review and Discussion  Telepinus & Friends
May  4 . . . Final Guide--Summary of Recent Reading

May 9 (Mon.) ....Final Exam (11 am)  
Special hours for Finals	Evaluations