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PostPosted: 25 Feb 2009, 14:23 
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Major FitzRoy Richard Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan, a.k.a. Lord Raglan, is nowadays best known for his work on hero myths, The Hero (1936). He studied several hero myths and put together a sort of "average" hero biography, his mythic-hero profile:
  1. The hero's mother is a royal virgin;
  2. His father is a king, and
  3. Often a near relative of his mother, but
  4. The circumstances of his conception are unusual, and
  5. He is also reputed to be the son of a god.
  6. At birth an attempt is made, usually by his father or his maternal grandfather, to kill him, but
  7. He is spirited away, and
  8. Reared by forest parents in a far country.
  9. We are told nothing of his childhood, but
  10. On reaching manhood he returns to goes to his future kingdom.
  11. After a victory over the king, and/or a giant, dragon, or wild beast,
  12. He marries a princess, often the daughter of his predecessor, and
  13. Becomes king.
  14. For a time he reigns uneventfully, and
  15. Prescribes laws, but
  16. Later loses favor with the gods and/or his subjects, and
  17. Is driven from the throne and city, after which
  18. He meets a mysterious death,
  19. Often at the top of a hill.
  20. His children, if any, do not succeed him.
  21. His body is not buried, but nevertheless
  22. He has one or more holy sepulchres
He scored Oedipus, Theseus, Romulus, Heracles, Perseus, Jason, Bellerophon, Pelops, Asclepius, Dionysus, Apollo, Zeus, Joseph, Moses, Elijah, Watu Gunung, Nyikang, Sigurd or Siegfried, Llew Llawgyffes, King Arthur, and Robin Hood, finding them to have a range of scores, usually high ones. His top scorer was Oedipus at 21. Other people, like myself, have scored various other people, both real and legendary. Krishna and the Buddha score as high as some of these mythical figures, while historical people rarely score above 6 or 7, especially in modern times. The highest I've found for them is Alexander the Great and Augustus Caesar, at about 10.

Lord Raglan carefully omitted one legendary or at least semi-legendary hero: Jesus Christ. But others, like Alan Dundes and myself, have taken him on, finding that he scores about 18 or 19. In fact, his high scoring has led some people to believe that Lord Raglan's mythic-hero profile was invented to discredit the historicity of Jesus Christ.

Turning to famous SF/fantasy people of recent decades, I've found that Harry Potter, Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker, and Leia Organa score rather high.

And turning to criticisms, some people have asked what "king" and "royal virgin" are supposed to mean. But this profile is supposed to be interpreted rather broadly, and Lord Raglan came up with the virgin part after noting that many legendary heroes are first or only children. And though we seldom find out much about anybody's childhood, such an absence is significant when we learn about big events in someone's infancy.

I myself have proposed some additions:
  • Splitting of "royal" and "virgin"; it is possible to be one without the other.
  • Inclusion of childhood-prodigy stories, like Jesus Christ in the Jerusalem Temple or Augustus Caesar hushing up some pesky frogs.
  • Inclusion of prophecy fulfillment, often despite efforts to thwart it. Jesus Christ was far from alone; Zeus, Oedipus, Romulus, Krishna, the Buddha, Alexander the Great, Augustus Caesar, Harry Potter, and Anakin Skywalker had all reportedly fulfilled prophecies.


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PostPosted: 25 Feb 2009, 15:05 
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lpetrich wrote:
Lord Raglan carefully omitted one legendary or at least semi-legendary hero: Jesus Christ. But others, like Alan Dundes and myself, have taken him on, finding that he scores about 18 or 19. In fact, his high scoring has led some people to believe that Lord Raglan's mythic-hero profile was invented to discredit the historicity of Jesus Christ.


My understanding was that initially his manuscript was to include Jesus, but pressure from his publisher (and perhaps a couple of his friends - it's sort of hard to tell) about the reception of the book in a Christian market with Jesus as a mythic figure in the ranks of those you listed, well, it wouldn't be good. Hence, the high-scoring figure was omitted.

I'm definitely one of those who wonders about Raglan's motives in undertaking the task. But at any rate, it's a wonderful tool for analyzing myth and religion ... :thumbright:

lpetrich wrote:
And turning to criticisms, some people have asked what "king" and "royal virgin" are supposed to mean. But this profile is supposed to be interpreted rather broadly, and Lord Raglan came up with the virgin part after noting that many legendary heroes are first or only children. And though we seldom find out much about anybody's childhood, such an absence is significant when we learn about big events in someone's infancy.

I myself have proposed some additions:
  • Splitting of "royal" and "virgin"; it is possible to be one without the other.
  • Inclusion of childhood-prodigy stories, like Jesus Christ in the Jerusalem Temple or Augustus Caesar hushing up some pesky frogs.
  • Inclusion of prophecy fulfillment, often despite efforts to thwart it. Jesus Christ was far from alone; Zeus, Oedipus, Romulus, Krishna, the Buddha, Alexander the Great, Augustus Caesar, Harry Potter, and Anakin Skywalker had all reportedly fulfilled prophecies.


Well, the fact that one can have one or both parents being of special status (not just aristocracy, but also potentially divine) becomes important as laying a foundation for the legitimacy of the hero later becoming a ruler. If there was something special about the genealogy of rulers, then the hero has the right stuff, even if they don't know it. :king:

As for the virgin bit, I think that again, it's the importance of being the first-born and the aspects of inheritance of primogeniture, again legitimizing the hero as the inheritor of the rights and privileges of their ancestors.


As for the prodigy and prophecy fulfillment, I'm unsure how to put those in there, but they are something interesting to think on ... :umm:

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PostPosted: 26 Feb 2009, 07:13 
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Hex wrote:
My understanding was that initially his manuscript was to include Jesus, but pressure from his publisher (and perhaps a couple of his friends - it's sort of hard to tell) about the reception of the book in a Christian market with Jesus as a mythic figure in the ranks of those you listed, well, it wouldn't be good. Hence, the high-scoring figure was omitted.

I've seen a lot of hairsplitting about whether JC's (supposed) human father Joseph was really a king, about whether JC himself was, about whether he issued laws, etc.

Like pointing out that Joseph lived as a commoner. But he was supposedly descended from King David, and Matthew and Luke both invented genealogies for him that trace him back to that king.

lpetrich wrote:
And turning to criticisms, some people have asked what "king" and "royal virgin" are supposed to mean. But this profile is supposed to be interpreted rather broadly, and Lord Raglan came up with the virgin part after noting that many legendary heroes are first or only children. And though we seldom find out much about anybody's childhood, such an absence is significant when we learn about big events in someone's infancy.

Quote:
As for the prodigy and prophecy fulfillment, I'm unsure how to put those in there, but they are something interesting to think on ... :umm:

Being a child prodigy is likely an indicator of how great the hero is. And prophecies come in two main types:
  • The hero will become a great political or religious leader
  • The hero will do something that the prophecy learner dreads, like killing the learner
These types are not mutually exclusive, of course, like Kronos learning that Zeus will overthrow him as Ruler of the Universe.

What might these prophecies mean? That it's hard to fight the hero because that hero is supported by some broader fate?

I've remembered some more more prophecy fulfillers: Perseus and King Arthur. And since so many mythic heroes are prophecy fulfillers, one has to ask whether Lord Raglan had ever addressed that odd circumstance.

And finally, JK Rowling and George Lucas both created characters that score high on the Lord Raglan scale, characters loved by their fans. Since those two writers were likely familiar with various mythologies, they may have converged on Lord Raglan's profile as they were creating their characters. So this says something about human psychology, though I find it hard to pin down.


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PostPosted: 28 Feb 2009, 17:29 
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Anyone ever read Robert Graves's book, King Jesus?


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PostPosted: 28 Feb 2009, 22:28 
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DMB wrote:
Anyone ever read Robert Graves's book, King Jesus?

I'm not familiar with that book. How did it go?

In any case, I'll evaluate JC's Lord Raglan score:
  1. 1/2 - Royal, no; virgin, yes
  2. 1 - both Matthew and Luke trace him back to King David
  3. 0 - No
  4. 1 - The Holy Spirit "overshadowed" Mary
  5. 1 - He's the Son of God
  6. 1 - King Herod orders the killing of the Bethlehem baby boys
  7. 1 - His parents flee with him
  8. 1/2 - He spends some of his childhood in Egypt
  9. 1/2 - He was a child prodigy in the Temple
  10. 1 - Yes
  11. 1 - He successfully resists the Devil's temptations
  12. 0 - He was single all his life
  13. 1 - He becomes a great religious leader
  14. 1 - He wanders around a lot, preaching and working miracles
  15. 1 - His teachings may reasonably be considered laws
  16. 1 - The people of Jerusalem turn against him, and his disciples flee
  17. 1 - He gets put on trial for blasphemy
  18. 1 - He dies very fast for a young man in good health
  19. 1 - On Golgotha, Skull Hill
  20. 1 - He had no children
  21. 1 - He rises from the dead and leaves his tomb
  22. 1 - Yes
My score: 18 1/2.

Lord Raglan himself scored several legendary people: Oedipus: 21, Moses: 20, Theseus: 20, Arthur: 19, Dionysus: 19, Perseus: 18, Romulus: 18, Watu Gunung: 18, Hercules: 17, Llew Llawgyffes: 17, Bellerophon: 16, Jason: 15, Zeus: 15, Nyikang: 14, Robin Hood: 13, Asclepius: 12, Joseph: 12, Apollo: 11, Sigurd: 11, Elijah: 9

Taking Zeus and Apollo up to midlife make their scores 11 and 13 out of 15, which would scale them to 16 and 19, respectively.

I myself have scored some additional people: Krishna: 17 1/2, The Buddha: 15, Alexander the Great: 9, Augustus Caesar: 11, Napoleon: 7, Adolf Hitler: 5, Abe Lincoln: 5, JFK: 7, Charles Darwin: 8 1/2.

And some well-known fantasy people of recent times: Harry Potter: 12/15, Anakin Skywalker: 11/22, Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa: 7/11 (post-Empire novels) 10 or 11/15


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PostPosted: 28 Feb 2009, 22:31 
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lpetrich wrote:
In any case, I'll evaluate JC's Lord Raglan score:
  1. 1/2 - Royal, no; virgin, yes


Umm ... But isn't Mary's genealogy in the Bible (beside being one of the very few female genealogies in there) ther to also tie her back to the lineage of King David?

I would give the full point there ...

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PostPosted: 01 Mar 2009, 07:15 
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Hex wrote:
lpetrich wrote:
In any case, I'll evaluate JC's Lord Raglan score:
  1. 1/2 - Royal, no; virgin, yes


Umm ... But isn't Mary's genealogy in the Bible (beside being one of the very few female genealogies in there) ther to also tie her back to the lineage of King David?

That's an attempt to explain away the totally different genealogies in Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38; Luke's one is sometimes claimed to be of Mary, though both of them look to me like they are for Joseph.

"... and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. " vs. "Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli, ..." (NIV)

Quote:
I would give the full point there ...

Yes, it makes Jesus Christ look even more mythical.


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PostPosted: 05 Mar 2009, 11:23 
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For shame, Hex. As an archaeologist, you should know better than to take later portrayals of a figure as part of his standard biography. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were all written by different people, and Mark was written first. The other ones use Mark (with the possible exception of John). Since using Matthew and Luke to figure in the "mythic profile" of Jesus would be tantamount to using Shakespeare as a biography of Caesar, let's go over Mark and see how high Jesus scores.

In any case, I'll evaluate JC's Lord Raglan score:

1. No. The virgin story is found only Matthew in Luke, and not even in Mark and John. It was actually invented after the Christian story to account for his "son of god" status. Other sources place his father as Ben Pandera (Talmud).
2. Possibly, he is called Son of David.
3. No.
4. No. Not in Mark.
5. Yes, a common motif which in my opinion should be stricken from the profile (most kings and emperors tend to be related to divinity). But yes nonetheless.
6. No. The story of Herod the Great hunting down Jesus is found only in Matthew, and is actually a Matthean redaction of the Jesus story in order to incorporate Mosaic elements (cf. the Sermon on the Mount with Moses' Mt. Sinai).
7. Not in Mark or John.
8. No.
9. Yes.
10. No, since in neither Mark nor John did he ever leave.
11. No.
12. No.
13. No.
14. No.
15. Yes.
16. Yes.
17. Yes.
18. No.
19. Yes.
20. No children were recorded. But I think I'll count it.
21. No. He was in fact placed in a tomb.
22. I cannot fathom why this would be split with 21...but whatever. Yes.

A counting of Mark places it only at 8 at most, less than both Augustus and Alexander. What this actually shows is that Jesus, like many legendary figures, became mythologized as later authors tended to let their imagination go wild. It says nothing on whether Jesus originally was a myth, which Loren has argued extensively before using this profile.


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PostPosted: 06 Mar 2009, 10:34 
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But can you take just one 'book' and separate it out from the others when talking about JC? I mean, most people take the synthesis (and disregard the contradictions, of course) of the stories as a single story.

I won't argue about the mythologizing effects of the later books (though aren't they all later?) but I think that Raglan's works used the synthesies for the basis of the studies, not merely what might be a primary source.

Hence the reason we archaeologists tend to hate all that silly textual stuff. Hard evidence! :working: :cheeky:

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PostPosted: 06 Mar 2009, 18:21 
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I dunno--- I think the addition of myth making statements to a true story does not negate the truth of the story, just makes it harder to see.

But then, I also feel that the Bible ought to be looked at as more than a single source, as it is a collection of books....

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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2009, 03:27 
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Hex wrote:
But can you take just one 'book' and separate it out from the others when talking about JC? I mean, most people take the synthesis (and disregard the contradictions, of course) of the stories as a single story.

I won't argue about the mythologizing effects of the later books (though aren't they all later?) but I think that Raglan's works used the synthesies for the basis of the studies, not merely what might be a primary source.

Hence the reason we archaeologists tend to hate all that silly textual stuff. Hard evidence! :working: :cheeky:


Hex, a good analogy would be finding 18th century New York garbage and retrojecting it back onto 12th century Native Americans who lived there! You just can't do it! :)


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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2009, 03:28 
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jess wrote:
I dunno--- I think the addition of myth making statements to a true story does not negate the truth of the story, just makes it harder to see.

But then, I also feel that the Bible ought to be looked at as more than a single source, as it is a collection of books....


Regardless of its canonization, the same people didn't write the whole thing. So you have to look at the Bible that way. Otherwise you've just subscribed to the fundamentalist Christian notions of the Bible (or mountainman conspiracy theory junk notion...take your pick, they both suck).


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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2009, 09:46 
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I know a lot of skeptics who say 'but it's one book, do you have proof outside of that one book?!?!'

And it's not one book, and shouldn't be treated like one.

Not that I think it's an authority either. Just... well, you know.

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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2009, 19:09 
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Chris Weimer wrote:
A counting of Mark places it only at 8 at most, less than both Augustus and Alexander. What this actually shows is that Jesus, like many legendary figures, became mythologized as later authors tended to let their imagination go wild. It says nothing on whether Jesus originally was a myth, which Loren has argued extensively before using this profile.


Reminds me of when I posted a calculation of JC's Lord Raglan scores in each Gospel (this post):
Matthew: 19
Mark: 10
Luke: 16
John: 12

JC scores low in Mark because he does not have a biography before John the Baptist baptized him and started him off in his career as a religious prophet. He scores a bit higher in John because of his rather metaphysical origin there, and higher in Luke because of his (step)father's ancestry and his being a god-human hybrid. He scores the highest of all in Matthew, where the evil king tries to kill him and his family flees to Egypt.

Mark is usually considered the oldest of the canonical Gospels, and Matthew and Luke added various additional material to their word-for-word copies of Mark. So the Jesus Christ story was one that grew in the telling -- first Paul, then Mark, then Matthew and Luke, then John...

Back to hero mythology in general. The evil king or someone like that trying to kill the baby hero is very common in hero mythology, and most of the would-be hero-killers try to do that to thwart some prophecy's fulfillment:
Kronos vs. Zeus
Laius vs. Oedipus
Acrisius vs. Perseus
Hera vs. Hercules
Amulius vs. Romulus
Pharaoh vs. Moses
Herod vs. Jesus Christ
Kamsa vs. Krishna
The Roman Senate vs. Augustus Caesar
The only nonviolent variation I know of is the story of the Buddha, in which his father tried to raise him to be a good heir, not a great religious leader. But even there, the Buddha's father was described as trying to thwart a prophecy fulfillment.

It's very rare for anyone well-documented to have a story like that told about them, especially in modern times.

The baby hero has to survive this would-be hero-cide somehow, and he usually gets rescued by someone. Hercules was exceptional in that he rescued himself. When Hera sent two snakes to kill the baby Hercules, the little tyke strangled them.


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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2009, 19:29 
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Chris Weimer wrote:
Hex, a good analogy would be finding 18th century New York garbage and retrojecting it back onto 12th century Native Americans who lived there! You just can't do it! :)


Even if the 18th century New Yorkers are consuming maple syrup and eating local meats/fish that the Natives had eaten for centuries before the Europeans arrived, and taught the Europeans how to access?

It would probably be a better analogy in you were looking at 1600's Natives and putting their data on 1100's Natives in the same area. Sure the culture changes, but in many cases, core mythologies/cultural concepts are carried through (though admittedly with some changes at times).

I still don't like the textual stuff ... or the Bible ... :cheeky:

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