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Old 10-08-2012, 10:01 PM   #31
corroonb
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While I'm not an expert in Greek religion or mythology (general Classics degree and masters), I have to disagree with some of what Harry is saying. The Greeks did not see any significant difference between the deities they worshipped and those same deities in myths. The Homeric poems were not sacred texts in the sense of the Bible; they were not thought of as the words of a god. However they did serve to provide a common (Olympian) pantheon of gods that could be adapted to whatever local deity they most resembled. The Greeks also did this with foreign gods, they assigned them a Greek counterpart in a process known as syncretism. The foreign and local counterparts were not conceived as distinct deities but different aspects of one god from the patheon. Zeus had a number of different regional identities but was still Zeus. Apollo had numerous local aspects but a single basic identity.

Most of the stories did not play a direct role in rituals but they definitely played a part in how ordinary Greeks thought about their gods. The Homeric Hymns almost definitely had ritual functions at some point judging by some of the references to cult locations. The Iliad and the Odyssey were recited at festivals which had strong religious elements. They were not as definitely separated as Harry seems to be suggesting, that may have come later among a certain class of educated philosophers but ordinary Greeks did not seem concerned about the truthfulness or otherwise of the "myths". However they were not simply "stories", ie made up or false. The Greek philosophers debated this extensively so evidently most people thought of the epics as somewhat historical if not exactly in the way we would define such thing. They did not have the same distinction between myth and history that we do.

The Christian stories about Jesus appear related to fables such as those of Aesop which have morals. I imagine there might be similar Hebrew or Aramaic stories not necessarily for children. The Greek myths are mostly quite amoral (and perhaps immoral for some) and don't usually have a simple moral or message.

Last edited by corroonb; 10-08-2012 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:14 PM   #32
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Religion also tells stories, but they are "historical", and are meant to be taken literally.
I think you're assuming quite a lot here. Many, many Christians, for example, do not remotely believe in Bible literalism. I realise there are a fair few sects, mostly in the USA, who subscribe to seven-day young-Earth Creationism, but in my country many Christians either laugh at those people or find them deeply embarrassing. And that's just within Christianity - I certainly know Pagans who don't take every story within their faith literally, and I'm sure the same applies in various other religions.

Religion is if you'll forgive me, a broad church. I think your decision to define it this narrowly is a misguided one.
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:43 PM   #33
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I think the OP may be getting a little hung up on his definition of these stories as "religious". If you are not a believer, you might be better thinking of them as "cultural" and reading your child stories from different cultures (folk-tales, fables, fairy-tales, myths etc.) to provide a broader worldview.

I'm sure you can find children's versions of other sacred texts such as the Koran, Talmud, Buddhist texts etc. if you really just want religious stories but the chances are they won't be anywhere near as delightful as fairy-tales and folk-tales.

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Old 10-09-2012, 02:39 AM   #34
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If you are not a believer, you might be better thinking of them as "cultural" and reading your child stories from different cultures (folk-tales, fables, fairy-tales, myths etc.) to provide a broader worldview.
I'd pretty much come to that conclusion. Christianity has lots of stories that Jesus told, or about Jesus. I'd sort of assumed that Islam (for example) had similar stories by and about Muhammad, but it seems that I was wrong. I'll be looking out for some of the stories recommended in this thread, and more generally, for folk tales and the like from around the world.
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Old 10-09-2012, 03:34 PM   #35
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I think there are quite a few islamic children's books
http://www.rukhsanakhan.com/muslimbo...imbooklist.pdf
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:05 AM   #36
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http://www.teachers.ash.org.au/jmres...g/stories.html

Aboriginal Dreaming Stories these are the Australian Aboriginal stories of how the world came about. They are lovely childrens stories.

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