Top positive review
26 people found this helpful
Well written, concise
on 29 December 2005
In this brief account, Karen Armstrong looks at the general changes in mankind's mythologising that have occurred over the Palaeolithic and Neolithic ages, the early civilisations, the 'Axial Age' (800 to 200 BCE), up to modern times. It is interesting to see how changes in the way we live have caused corresponding changes in our myths: Palaeolithic hunters were concerned with pacifying the spirits of the animals they killed, whereas Neolithic farmers' myths were more to do with the ground and the natural forces that affected their crop-raising.
In her introduction, Armstrong points out how mythical thinking is different from the rational or scientific-minded thinking that predominates today, though it is interesting to note that even the earliest men of the Palaeolithic period seemed to sense a gap in their lives, a separation from the world of their myths. The final chapter, The Great Western Transformation, looks at how art has come to replace sacred myth in our demythologised culture.