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It occurred to me the other day that the ‘original’ myth-makers, i.e., the fashioners of Greek mythology, may have never understood their myths as ‘objective’ or straight-forward history.  While 18th, 19th and 20th Century scholars liked to mock primitive man for his naive stories and contrasted them with modern, scientific man, I wonder if this caricaturization does not say more about post-print scholars than the mythmakers.  Could the Enlightenment scientific quest have read the myths literally, assumed that the creators did likewise, and then denigrated their own straw man?  CS Lewis speaks of myths as metaphoric or metaphysical expressions of reality; could they have had a similar intent originally?

Is anyone aware of ancient sources which explicitly treat ancient interpretations of myths, beyond Euhemerus?

 Jason M. Silverman
25 June 2009
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