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Proposal: Mythology

What should Mythology be about? How can we make sure it stays on topic?

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  • Can we not leave it to the community to define what is on-topic as the site evolves? – Chenmunka Dec 2 '13 at 12:43
  • @Chenmunka That would probably not be smart to start a proposal that has no boundaries. That's like saying ArQAde can include board games. – Young Guilo Dec 2 '13 at 20:39
  • I should have given more detail. It is true that initial guidelines should be defined. I doubt if the site will be created otherwise. I just feel that, once in beta, the members will start to ask questions that may at first be considered off-topic, but may cause the site to evolve to something wider. That is not a bad thing. The site will be more vibrant for it. My point was just that the definition of Mythology is different for different people, viz the discussion over Mythology v Religion v Folklore. The community will be a living thing, let it decide. – Chenmunka Dec 3 '13 at 9:08
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Citing wikipedia:

According to Alan Dundes, a myth is a sacred narrative explaining how the world and humankind assumed their present form

so it should be about any such sacred narrative, no matter if it belongs to dead cult or to the current world religion.

On topic should be questions about the plot of the myths, as well as the questions about their origins, range, local variations, available written sources etc.

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  • By "current world religion", do you mean Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, etc.? Because those aren't generally referred to as myths, and that could lead to some ugly religion discussions if we aren't careful. – kuwaly Aug 7 '13 at 13:11
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    @kuwaly ugly religion discussions should be closed as not constructive - not based on objective facts – Donaudampfschifffreizeitfahrt Aug 7 '13 at 18:46
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    The term Sacred Narrative implies religion - Not Mythology. Restricting discussion to something that is or was sacred would be a mistake. However, I agree wholeheartedly with the last paragraph of the answer. – Judith Dec 3 '13 at 19:32
  • I don't see sacred equaling religion. Sacredness is tied to the value given to something by people. My family is sacred to me, that is not a religion. The site should focus more on the underlying stories and themes that have shaped humanity rather than comparing the merits/demerits of modern religions. – James Jan 31 '14 at 19:42
  • According to Google dictionary, Merrian-Webster, All-reference and Oxford Dictionaries, Myth refers to a FALSE collective belief. Given that (a) Stack Exchange shouldn't be taking sides in a religious debate, and (b) religious SE sites are already handling issues related to current world religions, I have to disagree with your answer. – Twilight Sparkle Feb 23 '14 at 17:51
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    @TwilightSparkle That meaning of myth as used in "urban myth" and "Mythbusters" is not the dictionary definition that is relevant to mythology. I'm sure if you look at those sources again, you'll find that there are multiple senses listed, one of which will be something like "A traditional story, esp. one concerning the early history of a people or explaining some natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events" (Google Dictionary, sense #1). That's the sense that's relevant to mythology as a subject of study, and is religiously inoffensive. – SevenSidedDie Jun 13 '14 at 6:17
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This site should cover the histories, stories, oral and written traditions etc that have helped shape the world be it at a local folklore level(Haunted castles maybe), cultural history level (Greek and Roman Mythology), or global phenomenon (Sacrificial hero) level.

The types of topics (obviously not an exhaustive list) I can see fitting in well would include:

  • Comparative Mythology
  • Resource for people looking for inspiration (Writers looking for a character)
  • Discussions on the development of Myth over time
  • Discussions on the spread and cultural influence of Myth
  • Human versus divine in myth
  • Discussions on literature tied to mythology

I am sure there is a whole lot more.

This site in my mind would include a discussion on Joseph Campbell's "A Hero with a Thousand Faces", a comparison of historic war deities, a discussion on human involvements in Greek myths (heroes), lineages, maybe a discussion on what the more mortalized (greek and roman for example) deities says about humanity.

Could be very interesting.

As far as staying on topic goes...this site would in my mind have to be far more conversation/discussion oriented than say superuser or stackoverflow, specific questions would of course be welcome as well.

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