Research Repository

Myth, synchronicity, and the physical world

Main, Roderick (2020) 'Myth, synchronicity, and the physical world.' In: Ryba, Thomas and Roubekas, Nickolas, (eds.) Explaining, Interpreting, and Theorizing Religion and Myth: Contributions in Honor of Robert A. Segal. Supplements to Method & Theory in the Study of Religion . Brill, 248 - 262. ISBN 978-90-04-43501-8

Myth, synchronicity, and the physical world.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (181kB) | Preview


In his extensive work on the theories of myth, Robert Segal makes a broad distinction between nineteenth-century theories, which saw myths as primitive attempts to explain the physical world and hence as now superseded by modern science, and twentieth-century theories of myth, which saw myths as serving other purposes than explanation of the physical world and hence as not necessarily incompatible with modern science. Segal suggests that the challenge for twenty-first century theories of myth is to find ways of seeing myths as explanatory of the physical world in a way that is also compatible with modern science. The present chapter focuses on one such approach that Segal discusses: Carl Gustav Jung’s psychological theory of myth when it is allied with his concept of synchronicity. After clarifying the criteria that need to be satisfied for, in Segal’s phrase, ‘bringing myth back to the world’, the chapter critically examines Segal’s own assessment of the Jungian approach in light of this challenge.

Item Type: Book Section
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2020 16:14
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2021 01:00

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item