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The Formation of Mythology as a Discipline at the Turn of the 19th century: a Case of Georg Friedrich Creuzer’s “Symbolik …”

Student: Anastasiya Shalaeva

Supervisor: Petr V. Rezvykh

Faculty: Faculty of History

Educational Programme: Master

Year of Graduation: 2014

<p>Georg Friedrich Creuzer (1771-1858), who was first to announce mythology as a discipline and to lay theoretical grounds to mythology as a discipline, is in the center of the research. In his main work Symbolism and mythology of the ancient peoples, particularly the Greeks (1810-12, 2nd ed. 1819, 3rd ed. 1837) he worked out theoretical grounds of mythology as a discipline, and he also analyzed a great amount of mythological material.</p><p>The research is dedicated to the specific structure of Creuzer&rsquo;s argument (philosophical, historical and philological), to the peculiarities of the 19th century debate on symbolism and mythology and to the special way in which outer ancient and contemporary philosophical influences and sources (Plato, Neo-Platonism, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, etc.) affected Creuzer&rsquo;s general concept. The research discusses the status of argument in the theoretical justification of the ancient mythology.</p><p>The question of formation of mythology as a discipline at the turn of the 19th century on an example of Creuzer&rsquo;s &ldquo;Symbolism &hellip;&rdquo; is considered in three interconnected problem fields which correspond three chapters of the thesis. First, the description of Creuzer and his works in the context of his epoch. Secondly, the definition of those principles which have forced Creuzer&rsquo;s senior contemporaries to highly estimate his work. This question is also connected with a problem of the character of Creuzer&rsquo;s contemporaries&rsquo; borrowed concepts, ideas and conceptual progress. Thirdly, the correspondence of the Creuzer&rsquo;s epoch aspiration to built a scientific concept of mythology to the forms and principles of work with mythology in 18-19th centuries Or to put it in a different way - the description of the wider approach to a problem of &quot;scientific&quot; interpretation of mythology and the numerous nonacademic interpretations of mythology which took place before Creuzer&rsquo;s work.</p><p>As an objective of the research the studying of mythology&rsquo;s ideological bases formation is declared. To achieve this goal we have considered the basic lines of the intellectual space of the turn of the 19<sup>th</sup> century: the concepts of symbol and myth, symbolism and mythology, historical, philological and philosophical arguments, romantic ideas in the construction of symbolism mythology of ancient people studying method. The key moment in the formation of mythology as a discipline is the intellectual space of romantic epoch, which allocates researchers aspiration to integrate the disciplines and methods, subjects and ideas into a uniform general plan of development of the nature and knowledge. The broad demand of a performative reflexion which combines the methods of philology, philosophy and history in the development of social and human disciplines, makes this work relevant for the research of formation of the whole human disciplines complex - comparative mythology, comparative religious studies, art criticism, philosophy of religion, psychoanalysis.</p><p>The attempt of the research is to formulate how was the science on myth arranged in the beginning of the 19th century, what it was based on, and proceeding from what understanding of scientific character it was possible to speak about symbolism and mythology as a discipline that is of the academic studying of the body of myths and symbols.</p><p>Creuzer started with the important precondition: work of the Alexandria scientists had a special scientific character. He has considered neoplatotists intentions as &ldquo;scientific&rdquo;, that has allowed him to come to formation of &ldquo;scientific&rdquo; mythology.</p><p>On the other hand, Creuzer worked with the contemporary sources, using ideas of the Kant, Schelling, Goerres, Goethe where terminological and conceptual &nbsp;adoption took place.</p><p>The research represents an attempt to understand how the further attempts of disciplinary studies of myths and symbols were structured and developed. We do not consider them in details, but we only specify their presence for the consideration of following stages of formation of scientific knowledge of myth which will hopefully take place in our future projects.</p>

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