Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions

2013 Edition
| Editors: Anne L. C. Runehov, Lluis Oviedo

Myths

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8265-8_200309

In everyday parlance, in popular culture, “myths” denote fictional stories, fanciful or silly stories, stories that are not true. “Myth” is used pejoratively. In religious and biblical studies, narratives that are identified as myths or as “mythic” are those that religious communities value as most true. Alan W Watts, historian and philosopher of religion, offered this useful definition: “Myths are a complex of stories – some fact, some fiction – that, for various reasons, humans regard as demonstrations of the inner meaning of the universe and of their own existence” (Myth and Religion, 1996, opus posthumous).

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Religious StudiesUniversity of DenverDenverUSA