Book review: The Power of Myth

by Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers


Why do we need our folk tales, anyway? Why can’t our religious icons be accepted at face value, instead of lifting them up higher than life? How do phrases like “Son of God” spring so easily and meaningfully from our lips? Why must we idolize our heroes, why do we embrace our rituals?

Journalist Bill Moyers interviews Joseph Campbell to learn why mythology is so important to us. This is sort of a compilation of Campbell’s work. Says Campbell, mythology is the “song of the universe, the music of the spheres.” It is what turns each little cluster of believers, with their own heritage, into the world’s Chosen People. From Dante’s Divine Comedy to Native American rituals, Campbell has plenty of opinions. He’s an intellectual who is simply fun to read…he’s got a way of just making sense, like a sort of Feynman for philosophers, that leaves you feeling like maybe you finally understand something.

This isn’t a new book, but it’s one of those must-reads that we shouldn’t forget. I don’t think Campbell means to trivialize religion, culture or customs; rather, I dare say, you might even find God in these pages.

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