Book Discussion Leader
1260 times in 946 posts
Re: Part 2 - Ch. 3: Transformations of the Hero
I know this book isn't generating much of a discussion. I'm plowing through now and still struggling. For example, in the chapter, Departure of the Hero, Campbell says this:
The last act in the biography of the hero is that of the death or departure. Here the whole sense of the life is epitomized. Needless to say, the hero would be no hero if death held for him any terror; the first condition is reconciliation with the grave.
"While sitting under the oak of Mamre, Abraham perceived a flashing of light and a smell of sweet odor, and turning around he saw Death coming toward him in great glory and beauty. And Death said unto Abraham: 'Think not, Abraham, that this beauty is mine, or that I come thus to every man. Nay, but if any one is righteous like thee, I thus take a crown and come to him, but if he is a sinner, I come in great corruption, and out of their sins I make a crown for my head, and I shake them with great fear, so that they are dismayed.1 Abraham said to him, 'And art thou, indeed, he that is called Death?' He answered, and said, 'I am the bitter name,' but Abraham answered, 'I will not go with thee.' And Abraham said to Death, 'Show us thy corruption.1 And Death revealed his corruption, showing two heads, the one had the face of a serpent, the other head was like a sword. All the servants of Abraham, looking at the fierce mien of Death, died, but Abraham prayed to the Lord, and he raised them up. As the looks of Death were not able to cause Abraham's soul to depart from him, God removed the soul of Abraham as in a dream, and the archangel Michael took it up into heaven. After great praise and glory had been given to the Lord by the angels who brought Abraham's soul, and after Abraham bowed down to worship, then came the voice of God, saying thus: 'Take My friend Abraham into Paradise, where are the tabernacles of My righteous ones and the abodes of My saints Isaac and Jacob in his bosom, where there is no trouble, nor grief, nor sighing, but peace and rejoicing and life unending.'"3fi
I guess Campbell is saying that because Abraham faces death so unflinchingly, he is then admitted to Paradise and "life unending." Forgive me for being so cynical, but it hardly seems that Abraham "reconciles himself with the grave" when he is rewarded in the end with eternal Paradise. What am I missing? Again, Campbell seems to view the myths as just myths, but at other times he seems fairly smitten with certain religious notions like the eternity in this passage.