Myth and Origins: Men Want to Know

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Starting with a personal definition of “myth”, this paper seeks to substantiate the claim that every myth is essentially etiological, in the sense that myths somehow express a cosmogony or an eschatology, whether particular or universal. In order to do that, this study reassesses Classical and Judeo-Christian mythologies to revisit and contrast the narratives of origin—of the cosmos, of the gods and of men—found in ancient polytheism and in Judeo-Christian monotheism. Taking into consideration how these general and particular cosmogonies convey a specific understanding of the passage of time, this article does not merely recount the cosmogonies, theogonies, and anthropogonies found in the Bible and in the works of authors from Classical Antiquity, but it also incorporates a critical commentary on pieces of art and literature that have reinterpreted such mythical tales in more recent times. The result of the research is the disclosure of a sort of universal etiology that may be found in mythology which, as argued, explains the origins of the world, of the gods, and of men so as to satisfy humankind’s ambition to unveil the mysteries of the cosmos. Myth thus functions in these cases as a vehicle that makes it possible for man to return the fullness of a primordial age, abandoning the fleeting time that entraps him and entering a time still absolute.