Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Metaphor

Overview

Thou Art That is a compilation of previously uncollected essays and lectures by Joseph Campbell that focus on the Judeo-Christian tradition. Here Campbell explores common religious symbols, reexamining and reinterpreting them in the context of his remarkable knowledge of world mythology. According to Campbell, society often confuses the literal and metaphorical interpretations of religious stories and symbols. In this collection, he eloquently reestablishes these metaphors as a means to enhance spiritual ...
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Overview

Thou Art That is a compilation of previously uncollected essays and lectures by Joseph Campbell that focus on the Judeo-Christian tradition. Here Campbell explores common religious symbols, reexamining and reinterpreting them in the context of his remarkable knowledge of world mythology. According to Campbell, society often confuses the literal and metaphorical interpretations of religious stories and symbols. In this collection, he eloquently reestablishes these metaphors as a means to enhance spiritual understanding and mystical revelation. With characteristic verve, he ranges from rich storytelling to insightful comparative scholarship. Included is editor Eugene Kennedy’s classic interview with Campbell in The New York Times Magazine, which brought the scholar to the public’s attention for the first time.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This collection of essays, lectures and discussions will delight both avid Campbell disciples eager for more of his thoughts and newcomers to his work on comparative mythology and religion. It is also a quick refresher course on some of Campbell's ideas about the Judeo-Christian tradition for those who have encountered him in his well-known Hero with a Thousand Faces or in his popular television series on the power of myth with Bill Moyers. This is not the polished writing of a scholar systematically presenting an argument. Rather, editor Kennedy urges the reader to approach this collection "as one would the classroom, or the study" in order to better enjoy the more energetic and spontaneous "master teacher" side of Campbell. The effect is to take the reader on a romp through the Judeo-Christian tradition a lightning-paced tour with an extremely knowledgeable and provocative guide to illuminate some intriguing, untrammeled paths. The most abiding theme of this collection is that Western religious traditions have suffered from taking their stories and symbols literally instead of metaphorically. Some chapters are dense with ideas and call for careful reading, while other sections are breathtakingly clear in describing mind-opening concepts. In either case, this is a book that will stretch readers to reconsider their interpretation of the stories and symbols of faith and the relationship between personal spirituality and institutional religion. (Oct. 15) Forecast: Although Campbell died in 1987, there is still tremendous interest in his work, which bodes well for this title, the first in New World Library's Collected Works of Joseph Campbell series. The book will have a 25,000-copy firstprinting and will be advertised in Utne Reader, New Age, Tricycle, Shambhala Sun and elsewhere. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Any book by Campbell must attract the attention of a broad public, given not only the continued success of his Hero with a Thousand Faces but also his series of televised interviews with Bill Moyers. This volume has been rather carefully assembled from his notes and concludes with a brief interview with Eugene Kennedy. While there are no revelations here, Campbell continues his forays into archetypal and Jungian readings of the motifs of world religions. For most collections. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
“[A] romp through the Judeo-Christian tradition — a lightning-paced tour with an extremely knowledgeable and provocative guide to illuminate some intriguing, untrammeled paths.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“It is Campbell the armchair speaker who shines through, buoyant with life and with comments that are eerily relevant to current times.”
Parabola

“The work confirms the commonality of the human experience. A much-needed prescription in today’s world.”
San Francisco Chronicle

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Joseph Campbell (1904–1987) is widely credited with bringing mythology to a mass audience. His works, including the four-volume The Masks of God and The Power of Myth (with Bill Moyers), rank among the classics in mythology and literature. Eugene Kennedy, PhD is a psychologist, syndicated columnist, and a professor emeritus of Loyola University Chicago. A laicized Catholic priest, he has written over fifty books on psychology, religion, the Catholic church, and the psychology of religion.
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2001

    Theology for the Spiritual Humanist

    I grew up in a totally secular Jewish home, and have always felt far more connected to the panreligious humanism explored by Joseph Campbell in his books and lectures than I ever did with the Torah. Or with Christianity, certainly. SO this book really opened my eyes to the spiritual symbols that I grew up with--with their greater mythic meanings. What a beautiful book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2002

    Thou Art What Connects Us All

    Joseph Campbell, the foremost authority on mythology, shows us that symbolism is the key to understanding and experiencing religious mystery. Along the way he criticizes the clergy for not enlightening followers to this fact, and more significantly he shares his own interpretation of many Judeo-Christian symbols. I especially enjoyed the last chapter titled 'Question Period.' It is a collection of Campbell's responses to various questions taken after many of his lectures over the years. He seems to shine in this type of forum and demonstrates a depth of knowledge and a clarity that sometimes gets buried in the preceding chapters. The Appendix is a reprint of 'Earthrise - The Dawning of a New Spiritual Awareness,' which was a Campbell interview that appeared Easter 1979 in the New York Times Magazine. Chapter notes, a bibliography, and an index are also included in this wonderful little book.

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    Posted January 13, 2011

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    Posted October 26, 2008

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    Posted June 14, 2009

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