Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Metaphor

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9781577312024: Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Metaphor

Thou Art That is a compilation of previously uncollected essays and lectures by Joseph Campbell that focus on the Judeo-Christian tradition. Here Campbell explores common religious symbols, reexamining and reinterpreting them in the context of his remarkable knowledge of world mythology. According to Campbell, society often confuses the literal and metaphorical interpretations of religious stories and symbols. In this collection, he eloquently reestablishes these metaphors as a means to enhance spiritual understanding and mystical revelation. With characteristic verve, he ranges from rich storytelling to insightful comparative scholarship. Included is editor Eugene Kennedy’s classic interview with Campbell in The New York Times Magazine, which brought the scholar to the public’s attention for the first time.

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About the Author:

Perhaps most responsible for bringing mythology to a mass audience, Joseph Campbells works rank among the classics in mythology and literature: Hero with a Thousand Faces, the four-volume The Masks of God, The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers, and many others. Among his many awards, Campbell received the National Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Contribution to Creative Literature and the 1985 Medal of Honor for Literature from the National Arts Club. A past president of the American Society for the Study of Religion, Campbell was professor emeritus at Sarah Lawrence College in New York until his retirement in 1972 at which time he devoted himself to his writing. He died after a short struggle with cancer in 1987.

From Publishers Weekly:

This collection of essays, lectures and discussions will delight both avid Campbell disciples eager for more of his thoughts and newcomers to his work on comparative mythology and religion. It is also a quick refresher course on some of Campbell's ideas about the Judeo-Christian tradition for those who have encountered him in his well-known Hero with a Thousand Faces or in his popular television series on the power of myth with Bill Moyers. This is not the polished writing of a scholar systematically presenting an argument. Rather, editor Kennedy urges the reader to approach this collection "as one would the classroom, or the study" in order to better enjoy the more energetic and spontaneous "master teacher" side of Campbell. The effect is to take the reader on a romp through the Judeo-Christian tradition a lightning-paced tour with an extremely knowledgeable and provocative guide to illuminate some intriguing, untrammeled paths. The most abiding theme of this collection is that Western religious traditions have suffered from taking their stories and symbols literally instead of metaphorically. Some chapters are dense with ideas and call for careful reading, while other sections are breathtakingly clear in describing mind-opening concepts. In either case, this is a book that will stretch readers to reconsider their interpretation of the stories and symbols of faith and the relationship between personal spirituality and institutional religion. (Oct. 15)Forecast: Although Campbell died in 1987, there is still tremendous interest in his work, which bodes well for this title, the first in New World Library's Collected Works of Joseph Campbell series. The book will have a 25,000-copy first printing and will be advertised in Utne Reader, New Age, Tricycle, Shambhala Sun and elsewhere.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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