The Mythology of the Meme: Tracing the Body and Soul in Philosophical and Theological Mythmaking 公开

Taylor, Mary Rachel (2009)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/xd07gt59s?locale=zh
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Abstract

Abstract
The Mythology of the Meme:
Tracing the Body and Soul in Philosophical and Theological Mythmaking
By Mary Rachel Taylor
Mythology serves as both a guiding principle and the form of the narrative of humanity
as well as a viable and mutable representation of the human condition extended through
time. When remapped onto mythology, Richard Dawkins`s conception of the ever
changing yet resilient cultural meme provides a lens through which to examine the
consistency of myth and perhaps reconcile its seemingly different manifestations from
antiquity to Christianity. Further clarity is achieved when narrowing the investigation to
the cultural and philosophical manifestation of the body and soul in each respective time
period. As reflected in myths of origin, the relationship between the body and soul serves
as the access point to the divine as well as the center for understanding human
experience. The discussion is furthered by examining paradigmatic texts from before and
after the advent of Christianity. Plato`s Timaeus provides a classical understanding of the
cosmos and Augustine`s City of God facilitates an investigation of the Christian notion of
man in relation to his origin.
The trajectory of the contentious yet unified relationship between the body and the soul
has not been broken from antiquity`s conception of the self in relation to the divine.
Rather, the form of conveyance and the characters to which the ends are directed change,
but remain recognizably consistent. The aim of this essay is to elucidate the eternal quality of myth, its cultural function and its evolution with respect to the body and soul. Mythological discourses are inextricably tied to one another and representative of a fundamental or basic need of humanity to
eventually terminate in the eternality of myth, in this case, by means of philosophy.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Introduction...................................................................................................... 1
I. Beginning in Myth and its Cultural Construction .................................................... 4
II. Myths of the Origins of Mortals and Immortals Embodied in Poetry ......................... 12
III. The Mythology of Love examined through Plato ................................................. 19
IV. The Mythology of Plato's Body and Soul ........................................................... 22
V. Out of Mythology into Poetry, Approximating Wisdom ........................................... 31
VI. Plato's Cosmology Examined through the Timaeus ................................................35
VII. Entering into Christianity and Medieval Thought .................................................47
VIII. Within The City of God .................................................................................52
Out of Augustine, to Conclude ..............................................................................62
Works Cited and Consulted ...................................................................................65

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