Trite and Incorrect Interpretation

I’ve started reading “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” by Joseph Campbell.  Not sure I’d be able to finish it any time soon: while interesting, it’s pretty thick and the language is sentimentally antiquated.

In any case, I got through the first chapter in the prologue and was amused by this side note,

It must be noted against Professor Toynbee, however, that he seriously misrepresents the mythological scene when he advertises Christianity as the only religion teaching us this second task.  All religions teach us it, as do all mythologies and folk traditions everywhere.  Professor Toynbee arrives at this misconstruction by way of a trite and incorrect interpretation of the Oriental ideas of nirvāṇa, Buddha, and Boddhisattva; thus contrasting these ideas, as he misinterprets them, with a very sophisticated reading of the Christian idea of the City of God.  <…>

(The “second task” being “to return <…> transfigured, and teach us the lesson he has  learned of life renewed”.)

Now, I am not familiar with the works of Professor Toynbee, but …ouch!

This goes to all of us who criticize the ideas we don’t bother understanding from our precious soap boxes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s