Divine roles across cultures matrix


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Divine roles across cultures matrix

  1. 1. Divine Roles Across Cultures Matrix HUM/105 Version 3 1 University of Phoenix Material Divine Roles Across Cultures Matrix Select one common divine role that recurs in world mythology. Possible options of divine roles include the following: father or mother divinities, divinities of war, home or hearth divinities, divinities of love, divinities of wisdom, divinities of medicine or health, divinities of the wind, divinities of agriculture, divinities of the sky, ruler of all the gods, and so on. Identify the role in the title of your matrix. Select two myths, each from a different culture, in which the divine role appears. Identify the divinity names and cultures in columns A and B. Complete the matrix by answering each of the five questions for both selected divinities. Title: Column A Divinity Name: Zeus Culture of Origin: Greek Column B Divinity Name: Odin Culture of Origin: Norse 1. How is this divinity portrayed? Describe the divinity’s role within the myth. Zeus is the ruler of all the Olympian gods and master of all men. He is also the lord of the sky, clouds, rain, thunder, light, winds, and all other atmospheric phenomena. Zeus is a god of justice and he is merciful. He protects the weak and punishes the wicked. Although he is the god of rain he is also married to Hera (the goddess of the Earth). Odin is the ruler of all the Gods. He lives in Valhalla, where half of all the dead warriors gather after death. He sits on his throne viewing the whole world. Odin is the god of wisdom, war, magic, and poetry. He is the wisest of all the gods. However, he gave one of his eyes for this power. Odin has the power to transform into whatever he wants, from serpents to fish, smoke to fire. He is all powerful. 2. Is the divinity male or female? What function does this gender play? Zeus is a male god. He is the ruler of all the gods. He is most powerful and is a proper characteristic of a patriarchal society, such as the Greek society. Odin is a powerful male god with incredible wisdom about everything. A female god as the ruler of all gods would have been impossible in a patriarchal society like the Scandinavian Vikings. 3. Within the myth of origin, how does this divinity compare with other divinities? How does this divinity Zeus is the last born son of Cronus and Rhea of the Titans. Cronus was cruel and swallowed his children after they were Odin is a “good” god as opposed to his grandfather Ymir who was really cruel. With Ymir being such a cruel god,
  2. 2. Divine Roles Across Cultures Matrix HUM/105 Version 3 2 interact with or compare to divinities of the same gender and to divinities of the opposite gender? born. However, Rhea saved Zeus by hiding him in a cave. When Zeus grew up, he made his father (Cronus), vomit up his siblings. Then the other gods joined him in fighting against Cronus, and the Titans, to gain control of the universe. After he defeated the Titans and his father, Zeus imprisoned them in the underworld. Then he split up the universe between him and his brothers Hades, and Poseidon. Zeus took the sky, Hades got the underworld, and Poseidon got the seas and all other waters. Zeus was also appointed the supreme authority of the earth and Mount Olympus. Zeus is the ruler of all divinities on Mount Olympus, both male and female. He is married to Hera, but he is the equivalent of a womanizer because he continually has affairs. Odin and the other gods could not take it anymore so they plotted against him and killed him. Then Odin and his brothers made all things (earth, sky, moon, etc.) from parts of Ymir’s body. Odin has a positive interaction with his brothers, and there is an agreement that he is the most powerful. The sisters of Ymir however are upset at the death of their brother and try to cause trouble for people. 4. What are the divinity’s attributes, such as divine powers or characteristics? What objects does the divinity possess, such as a weapon or animal that assists him or her? Zeus is the cloud gatherer, and rain god. His weapon is a thunderbolt. He throws his thunderbolt at anyone that displeases him. He will also punish those who break oaths or lie. Odin is supposed to have wisdom about everything that happens in the past, present and future (like an omniscient god). He gains a lot of power from this wisdom over everything. Odin can also transform himself into other things like animals, or fire, etc. Odin has a magical horse and spear, which helps him accomplish his goals. Odin has two ravens, Hugin and Munin who fly out each day and return at night with their news of the world. They gather information for Odin to make decisions and be informed.
  3. 3. Divine Roles Across Cultures Matrix HUM/105 Version 3 3 5. Identify one character from contemporary culture that shares characteristics of each divinity and explain why you chose each character. What real-life ideals does this divine role represent? How attainable are these ideals? Zeus is like Superman in the sense that he’s powerful, protects the weak, and punishes the wicked. He is however, a rather “human” god, in that he has affairs, and is often unfaithful to his wife Hera. The real-life ideals represented by Zeus’ role, is one of a just, powerful character that exacts justice on those who are bad, while protecting, and helping those who are good but weak. For Zeus, being the god of the Olympian gods, it’s rather easy to be powerful and just. In real-life the justice system is supposed to enable the execution of these ideals too, with the police and courts catching the bad guys, and bringing a sense of justice to the victims. There is a wicked side to Odin, which he can be erratic, and abuse his power, such as causing or starting wars. Sadly, this is a situation that has happened with many rulers throughout history. If I were to compare Odin to a character from contemporary culture it would be a dictator that came to power with good intentions, only to start abusing it later on, such as Hitler. Summary: Write a 150- to 350-word short essay addressing the following: Why do so many cultures have divinities in similar roles? After doing much reading, I found that mythology evolved in different cultures as a way to explain life and answer important questions pertaining to human existence. Questions, such as how did the universe come to be? What happens to us when we die? Is there a God? How were humans created? How should humans behave? Surprisingly, most people have a good idea what desirable behaviors are acceptable. In many cultures, it is viewed that the weak should be protected, and the accused should have a chance to prove their innocence. It is also viewed that the wicked should pay for their wrong doings and not just as retribution but as a warning to others. For example, in Greek mythology, Zeus became a supreme god by fighting against the Titans and his father Cronus to take over the universe. Zeus and his brothers won the battle. Zeus is a male god and the ruler of all the gods on Olympus. He is most powerful and a proper characteristic of a patriarchal society, the Greek society. He not only has power over the sky and everything happening on earth, but he is also a god of justice and mercy. He brings justice to the weak by punishing the wicked. In Israeli mythology, one god is all powerful, and he also is a god of justice and mercy. Most cultures want to believe that their god, gods, and goddesses, are also gods of justice and mercy. Although, there are many cultures and beliefs they all have the same questions, it is just that the answers maybe a little different. References
  4. 4. Divine Roles Across Cultures Matrix HUM/105 Version 3 4 Leonard, S., & McClure, M. (2004). Myth & knowing: An introduction to world mythology. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill MetaReligion. (n.d.). Norse Creation Myth. Retrieved from http://www.meta- religion.com/World_Religions/Ancient_religions/Europe/norse_creation_myth.htm The Big Myth. (2011). Big myths: The Norse. Retrieved from http://www.bigmyth.com/myths/wnglish/2_norse_full.htm