cover image Parallel Myths

Parallel Myths

J. F. Bierlein. Ballantine Books, $15.95 (368pp) ISBN 978-0-345-38146-0

A religious scholar and lifelong student of mythology, Bierlein (The Book of Ages) has done an outstanding job both in tracing the parallel themes of world mythology and then gathering a wealth of information vital to understanding thir importance. He recaps not only the well-recognized Greek and Roman gods but also the lesser-known Norse, Indian, Chinese, Native American and Oceanic gods, detailing fascinating similarities among pantheons. Bierlein weaves spell-binding tales through his examination of creation myths, flood myths, tales of love, morality myths and myths of heroes and the underworld. He devotes an entire chapter to four stories, two of which tell almost identical tales of two brothers-one myth is from the Native American Blackfoot nation, the other from ancient Egyptians. After providing examples, Bierlein ends with a look at how to interpret parallel myths and modern questions of faith and the legitimacy of the supernatural. This enlightening work will beckon not only the newcomer to mythology, but also the reader well versed in Joseph Campbell. (Nov.)