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Death Through Myth


I wrote this paper, Death Through Myth, for Comparative Cosmologies in Spring 2008. In it, I examine three creation myths: the Maya Popol Vuh, the Andean Huarochiri, and the Japanese Kojiki. Through a close reading of the text, I sought to understand each culture’s view on death, with particular emphasis on the soul and its connection to the body. It is my belief that through reading these texts, we as modern interpreters may begin to understand each culture’s concept of death, and perhaps even better understand our own. This paper, despite its esoteric focus, does have broader implications for the human understanding. Death is one of the great questions of the human condition, and these myths show that it has been so since the dawn of history, if not humanity itself. In reading the three disparate creation myths, I believe that I found some common threads of belief, and I definitely found similarities in the more specific concerns about death. Through reading these myths and others, perhaps we as modern, scientific observers, can begin to understand more the psychology which has driven thousands of generations of humans to question something that may well never be understood.

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