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When They Severed Earth from Sky: How the Human Mind Shapes Myth Hardcover – 17 Jan 2005

2.8 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (17 Jan. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691099863
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691099866
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 1.9 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,940,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


"The authors provide not only a compelling and highly readable collection of mythic interpretations but also a framework through which to decode those stories and uncover seismic, geological, astrological, or other natural events that preceded written history. . . . When They Severed Earth from Sky provides an intellectually challenging and parsimonious new framework. It not only sheds light on the planet's natural history but also offers alluring insights about human cognition."--Abigail A. Baird, Science

"In their highly engaging, thoroughly researched analysis of the meaning of myths, When They Severed Earth from Sky, [the authors] build a strong case that historical facts can be extracted from the mists of our mythic past. . . . I think the Barbers are on to something here. Any student of myths ignores this important work at his or her peril."--Michael Shermer, American Scientist

"The Barbers take us back some 100,000 years to the beginning of storytelling. . . . When They Severed Earth from Sky is timely and engaging."--Books in Canada

From the Inside Flap

"A fascinating read. This book points the way to how truths can be found even in myths."--Michael S. Gazzaniga, author of The Mind's Past"A fascinating read. This book points the way to how truths can be found even in myths."--Michael S. Gazzaniga, author of The Mind's Past"Rarely have I read a book so avidly and with such pleasure. The Barbers have captured the vital signs of the mythmaking process, in a revolutionary study. This is a novel and convincing way to look at mythology."--Adrienne Mayor, author of The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times"I read this idiosyncratic and engaging work in its entirety in just two sittings, finding it nearly impossible to put down. The Barbers give intriguing explanations of how and why we construct and transmit myths and how we may unpack these 'off-the-wal'' stories to reveal essential information about such natural phenomena as volcanic eruptions."--Joshua T. Katz, Princeton University"This book offers a comprehensive account of why myths are the way they are. Drawing in part on cognitive science and on historical evidence as to real events, it presents a broad and informative selection of the myths themselves, raising questions and suggesting answers that cognitive scientists will find interesting."--Michael C. Corballis, author of From Hand to Mouth

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Top customer reviews

14 June 2005
Format: Hardcover
0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
28 February 2005
Format: Hardcover
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
8 January 2011
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse

Most helpful customer reviews on 4.4 out of 5 stars 28 reviews
Thorstein Olafson
3.0 out of 5 starsIt was an interesting read, however, it was ...
22 October 2015 - Published on
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2 people found this helpful.
Elizabeth A. Gibson
5.0 out of 5 starsVery interesting book
26 March 2013 - Published on
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
One person found this helpful.
5.0 out of 5 starsGreat book.
23 January 2016 - Published on
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J. Nelson
5.0 out of 5 starsA wide-ranging exploration of myth development
14 October 2005 - Published on
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase
13 people found this helpful.
5.0 out of 5 starsThis is an amazing book that establishes new perspectives from which to further ...
5 August 2014 - Published on
Verified Purchase
One person found this helpful.

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