Since 1972, the post-colonial critique has taught students of mythology what Feldman and Richardson already knew: that Europeans had complex investments in the mythologies that they 'discovered' during this period, and that to understand what we now ...
think we know about mythology we have to examine the lenses that those Europeans provided for us to look through when we read Greek or Hindu sources. These lenses were invisible to us until anthropologists like Claude Levi-Strauss and Clifford Geertz, critics like Michel Foucault and Edward Said, and mythologists like Roland Barthes, Jonathan Z. Smith, and Bruce Lincoln made us aware of them. Now that we have them, we can appreciate all the more, and with a newly suspicious hermeneutic, the sources that Feldman and Richardson collected for us.Mythology has also become a far more important subject than it was 25 years ago, and in a different register still in favour with seekers and Jungians, it is also the object of a sharper interrogation by historians and critics of religion and culture. In this climate, the 'old' texts in this book shed new light on such topical questions as the rise of Fundamentalism and the mass popularity of secular mythologies like "Star Trek", "Star Wars", and "Xena: Warrior Princess". '"The Rise of Modern Mythology" is a voice of reason in the contemporary maelstrom of international religious violence and American pluralism more than any book I know, it exposes the roots of the Western appropriation of non-Western mythologies, from Lawrence of Arabi and Krishna Consciousness in airports. "This is a book that we need now"' - Wendy Doniger, Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions, The University of Chicago.