I remember when I encountered a young woman who claimed to have seen a ghost. She worked in the Byward market in Ottawa, a furniture store, which she was closing at the end of day. Upstairs, on the third floor, she saw a young man - a ghost - sitting down, looking tired. She didn't say anything to him. I can't remember if she told me if the male ghost vanished. The next morning, at the same location the ghost was sitting, the electrical room behind him caught fire. Did the electromagnetic field affect her temporal lobe enough to give her an hallucination?
The oldest story on Earth has a lot in common with the greatest story every told. The oldest story, being, of course, The Epic of Gilgamesh and the greatest, the Bible, starting with the Book of Genesis. Both have strong male leads whose lives are in a state of proverbial bliss only to be disturbed by the love of a woman. In Gilgamesh, Enkidu is a wild man who gets drawn into Sumerian life through the love of a prostitute and in the Book of Genesis, Adam is seduced by Eve to break his bond with God and live by the sweat of the brow. When two stories use the same plot we some times call it "archetype" - a word used for a mythic element that speaks to a universal human experience.
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It's been ages since the first flood-hero set sail on the high oceans of Planet Earth. The story has played itself out thousands of times since ancient history. But recently, Hollywood gave it a new breath of life with the new film featuring Russell Crowe. The proof is in the profits. We are still willing to pay big bucks to relish in the fantasy of total annihilation a la world flood. But what most people don't realize is that this interest has less to do with special effects and more to do with Archetypes.
An archetype is a term that describes a recurring pattern found in literature. It could be a type of person, an event or any other story element that keeps coming up. Some stories are considered to be archetypal because that's when the pattern first formed. Noah's Ark is one of them.
The parables of Jesus tend to be overlooked by secular readers. Everyone except the faithful or the scholarly pay any attention to them. Yet, they continue to be a source of fascination in terms of form and function. Professor Amy-Jill Levine is a Bible scholar who found new appreciation for the parables as a Jewish woman and scholar. Since the stories were based on her culture, she claims that she and others like her, are in a better position to interpret them. Her claim: In order to fully grasp the function of the parable, one must have understanding of the context in which they were used for these stories didn't contain universal symbols that could be be interpreted by anyone. The pearl, the sheep and even thief of the night had a meaning that Jews, living at the time of Jesus, could understand.
Ever wonder why T.V. networks air Cecil B. Demille's The Ten Commandments during Easter weekend? You would think they would play the story of Jesus, yet, Moses always takes center stage.Professor Adele Reinhartz takes another look at this legendary Moses film and show us how it might be more Christian than you think. The Ten Commandments was a rare treat for the American audience of its day. Known for his lavish production values, Cecil B. DeMille produced a film whose message and storytelling technique resonate with audience almost a half century later.