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Archive: 16:09, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
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Move from Myth/tempEdit

At 16:05, 18 January 2006, I moved the content of Myth/temp to Myth and changed Myth/temp to redirect to Myth. For the edit history of Myth/temp, please see here. For the discussion of the creation of Myth/temp, please see Talk:Mythology, especially Talk:Mythology#Proposal, Talk:Mythology#I.27ve_made_the_Myth_disambiguation_page, and Talk:Mythology#Moving_right_along. For old discussion from this Talk page, see Archive above. JHCC (talk) 16:17, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

Edits to popular senseEdit

Before anyone accuses me of trying to make POV edits and cover them up by moving the content, I made two edits to this article while it was still at Myth/temp:

  1. The previous language stated that the popular sense ("myth = false") "arose from labeling the religious stories and beliefs of other cultures as being incorrect". While this statement may be correct, is is currently disputed, and there was no source given to support it. I therefore removed it; compare versions here. I would, however, be more than happy to include it in a larger discussion of the development of academic and popular usage.
  2. With the removal of the aforementioned statement, language about the popular definition gaining widespread acceptance was a bit awkward; I changed this to "Given the widespread acceptance of this sense". I also changed "This usage is frequently confused with fiction, ..." to "This popular usage frequently overlaps with the popular senses of fiction, ..." since this is a more accurate (and possibly less pejorative) description of popular use. These two changes were part of the same edit; compare versions here.

If anyone disputes these changes, I would appreciate it if they could raise their objections here, so that we can discuss both the changes and the objections in a rational manner. JHCC (talk) 16:42, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

You should have discussed these changes beforehand. I think it's pretty bad faith to just go ahead and do them and transfer them to a live page and then try to say that if anyone disputes them that we should discuss them before changing them... You should have discussed them here before changing them. You constantly do whatever you want to do and then try to argue to keepit that way until discussion is made, which is twisting things upside down from the way they should be. DreamGuy 02:07, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
That's funny, I don't recall you discussing your addition of that language to Myth/temp in the first place (your edit summary was "showing disambiguation page version" [1]). I at least put notices both here and at Talk:Mythology#Myth to let people know that I'd made the changes and was willing to discuss them — I should think that that demonstrates at least some good faith. Also, please do not misquote me: I did not say "that if anyone disputes them that we should discuss them before changing them" (emphasis added) — I said "If anyone disputes these changes, I would appreciate it if they could raise their objections here, so that we can discuss both the changes and the objections in a rational manner." Obviously, anyone can edit WP at any time; I was just hoping that we could discuss the actual wording without resorting to personal attacks and revert wars. I still hope that.
In any event, now that you have reverted to your previous version, let's discuss. Do you have any evidence to support the contention that the popular use "arose from labeling the religious stories and beliefs of other cultures as being incorrect" or is this original research? There are competing theories for the development of the academic and popular uses; are you willing to include these as well, in the interest of balance and NPOV?
I've made a specific objection to the inclusion of this language. Do you have a specific response as to why it should be included, other than criticism of my editing practice or of what you think my motives are? JHCC (talk) 14:32, 19 January 2006 (UTC)


Senses of "myth"Edit

A thought occurs to me: we have been focussing on the scholarly and popular senses of "myth" and "mythology". The popular sense is simply "myth = false", while the scholarly sense is basically truth-neutral (can be either true or false) but has the important element that people believe it to be true. I'm wondering if there is more to be said on this last point. That is to say, there are those who believe that a "myth" by definition:

"represents an absolute truth, afford insights 'into the indescribable realities of the soul', or [...] 'is not in the nature of invention ... but a living reality'." (Hawkes, Jacquetta (1974). Myth and Mankind. In Ions, Veronica, The World's Mythology in Colour. The Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd)

This is a sense of "myth" that is neither truth-negative nor truth-neutral; it is emphatically truth-positive.

Thanks to Iantresman for providing the quote. JHCC (talk) 19:20, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

I would support something like this being worked into the content. KillerChihuahua?!? 20:57, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

To the above poster: I feel you are wrong on a great many accounts. Let me begin by saying, firstly, that the use of the term 'popular' is itself 'biased' or 'pejorative'--suggesting that something may be widely accepted but not necessarily true or accurate. In reality, that is a misnomer. The argument from science is that a "myth," whether "religious" or not, is FALSE BY DEFINITION. It is, in fact, a story (sometimes inventive) used to explain what is or was not understood at the time. Since by definition, the story 'explains' something that was 'misunderstood,' it must necessarily be false once the phenomenon is correctly explained. Over time, what was once not understood (from volcanoes to supernovae to lightning etc) is gradually figured out, and now in modern times be explained in scientific terms.

SOME people, opposed to scientific progress, have thrown up smoke-and-mirror arguments (because they don't want to let go of their myth, much like a child demands that Santa Claus is real or the Easter Bunny exists). Let me quickly refute a few of these arguments:

1. The big, bad mean scientists are biased in favor of 'Western' cultures. Last I checked, it was actually the other way around. Most have accepted that the Greek or Roman gods are not real. It is not the Western, but the non-Western culture, that retains favorable treatment.

2. Philosophy: What you are doing above is confusing philosophical inquiry with scientific reasoning.

3. Religion: when you begin talking about things like a 'soul,' you are again moving into scientifically unprovable and undebatable terrain. If religion is based on 'faith' and faith, by definition, is the substantation of that which is unprovable, there really is no point at all to mix a religious with a scientific discussion. Religion, like watching your favorite TV show, involves a 'suspension of disbelief.' You have to believe the characters are real, the show is real, to enjoy it. But when it's over, you turn the TV off and then you are back to reality. Likewise, there can be no way to refute by science what defines itself as that which cannot be measured by science.

The bottom line: simply because something is described as 'false' in the scientific sense doesn't make it a bad thing. In the cultural context of a culture believing in a volcano-god in ancient Hawaii, such a myth makes sense (even if false). What IS a problem is that, as we have evolved as a species and moved into the realm of testable scientific inquiry, there no longer is any excuse to cling to myths, which are by definition not true.R Young {yakłtalk} 08:20, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

The definition already includes mention that it is believed to be true by the culture it comes from. I don't understand what could be added here without trying to convert the disambiguation page into an article, which goes against the consensus we had. Disambiguation pages list short information and shunt readers off to the appropriate articles, they do not go into added detail on whatever points some editor wants to argue. JHCC from the beginning wanted this to be a separate article to compete against the mythology article and it appears he is immediately back to the same effort. DreamGuy 02:10, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
As predicted, DreamGuy is attempting to claim that consensus was for this article to be a disambiguation page forever, despite the following facts:
1. DreamGuy did note that "if edit warring starts happening again or people put in things that the concensus here didn't agree to we'd just have it locked again" [2] However, since the Myth article was never locked, this could imply that additions and changes to to the Mythology article itself would require consensus approval — a notion I entirely support.
2. When David D. voted in favor of DreamGuy's proposal, his "I say go for it" [3] was in response to DreamGuy's "Anyone opposed to unlocking and moving on?" David did not specifically express either support or opposition for keeping Myth as a disambiguation page forever, nor did he specifically support or oppose changing it to a larger article.
3. Although Haukur did say "I'm in favor of the draft at Myth/temp" [4], he also did not specifically express either support or opposition for keeping Myth as a disambiguation page forever, nor did he specifically oppose changing it to a larger article (see #8 below).
4. In fact, within the context of this vote, no-one other than DreamGuy has specifically expressed support for keeping Myth as a disambiguation page forever.
5. When I said that my vote to "move right along" [5] was not a vote on the final form of either Myth or Mythology (i.e., that I was voting in favor of creating the dab page, but not necessarily in favor of keeping it a dab page forever):
a. User:Codex Sinaiticus voted "ditto" [6].
b. KillerChihuahua said that she "thought that went without saying" [7].
6. When I expanded [8] on my earlier comment, saying that I wanted to be sure that "no-one takes this as consensus on every detail of the form and content of the various articles." KillerChihuahua expressed agreement [9] with my assertion that "Any changes, additions, deletions, etc can be discussed, accepted, rejected, or whatever on their own merits later on" — in fact, she repeated, "I thought it went without saying".
7. KHM03 also expressed support for "[letting] the Wikipedia thing happen" [10]i.e., allowing the scope of Myth article to be expanded from dab to full article if there were sufficient material and consensus support for such expansion.
8. Outside the context of the vote, Haukur and Adrian.baker have expressed support ([11], [12]) for my suggestion that the Myth article be expanded.
9. Also outside the context of the vote, Paul August has expressed very clear support [13] for my proposal that we "continue discussion at Talk:Myth as to the content and scope of the Myth page" [14].
In short, consensus was to CREATE a disambiguation page for Myth, not to keep Myth as a disambiguation page.
1. DreamGuy's proposal did not specifically state that Myth would forever remain a disambiguation page,
2. no-one specifically expressed support for keeping Myth as a disambiguation page,
3. no-one specifically expressed opposition to expanding Myth into a larger article,
4. four editors (myself included) specifically stated or implied within the context of the vote that Myth could be edited into something other than the proposed disambiguation page,
5. two other editors have expressed support for expanding the Myth article, and
6. an additional editor has expressed support for continued discussion on the scope and content of Myth,
DreamGuy's contention that "convert[ing] the disambiguation page into an article [...] goes against the consensus we had" is obviously incorrect; no such consensus exists.
I do support expanding Myth to a larger article (although I am not claiming that there is consensus at this time to support this idea), and I've been very clear and open about this for some time. However, I do like the idea of a dab page, especially given the number of articles currently linked. If consensus does end up supporting the expansion of Myth into a larger article, we can create a Myth (disambiguation) page and put {{Otheruses}} or one of its variants at the top of this one. JHCC (talk) 16:29, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
Getting back to the point, the proposed content is not the same as the academic sense. The academic sense makes no claims as to whether or not a myth is true (either historically or in the sense of revealing an underlying truth), it merely notes that people believe that it is true. Those who use "myth" to describe their own beliefs do so to assert the truth of those beliefs (again, either historical truth or underlying truth — or both), as distinct from non-religious narratives. JHCC (talk) 18:39, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

I am beyond all tolerance for JHCC's shenanigans here... We had broad consensus that this article could not become a WP:FORK article and thus either should be a redirect or a disambiguation page. Trying to turn it into a full artilce so you can advance your POV-pushing alternate explanations and so forth is a complete violation of what was agreed upon and policy here. We also agreed any of the stuff you wanted about religion would go to Religion and mythology. We absolutely cannot have a Myth (disambiguation) page because that's what THIS is, and any article on myths must be at Mythology because that's what that article is.

When oh when are JHCC and Codex going to learn that consensus means something, and that it has to be followed? DreamGuy 19:21, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

One thing I notice in these and most of your comments is that you generally posit a very authoritarian role. As if your word is final and not to be disagreed with by anyone, or else. I am very curious about whence exactly you derive your authoritatative tone to make such pronouncements as in your comment line "period, full stop". It's mildly amusing at times, but it's really got me wondering at this point. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 19:26, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
DreamGuy, you keep saying "we agreed" and "we had consensus". Could you please provide EVIDENCE to support these assertions? JHCC (talk) 19:44, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Suggestion: right now it is a disambig page. Lets try and do something productive with it, and stop the silly additions of meaningless dates and "earlier" vs. "later" for two concurrently valid meanings. This page is more war than productive editing, can we table the myth "article" discussion for now? KillerChihuahua?!? 20:32, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Urban mythEdit

I'm removing the characterizing of "urban myth" as an "incorrect" term for urban legend. The urban legend article does have a section (Urban legend#Urban legend versus urban myth) pointing out the prejudicial character of "myth" ("myth = false")and the academic sense usually refering to a supernatural tale. Although the original coiner of the term "urban legend" did not like "urban myth", there are three points in favor of not calling it "an incorrect term":

  1. there is an exact parallel between the popular use of "myth" and the popular use of both "urban myth" and "urban legend" to say that something is not true.
  2. an important element of an urban myth/legend is that the teller (either current or original) believes it to be true; this same element is an important part of the academic sense of myth.
  3. (perhaps most important) "urban myth" appears to be the standard term in the UK; the Compact OED of Current English has an entry for "Urban Myth" which gives "urban legend" as a chiefly North American variant [15].

However, discussion of the correctness or incorrectness of "urban myth" is better resolved at Urban legend and its talk page. Here, noting that it is an alternate term is sufficient. JHCC (talk) 16:55, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

"there is an exact parallel between the popular use of "myth" and the popular use of both "urban myth" and "urban legend" to say that something is not true." = this is absolutely false. Urban legends ARE NOT "something that is not true" - again, it's possibly true or false. Urban myth as a word to mean urban legend is wrong, because the myth as supernatural meaning doesn;t apply, and neither does the myth as falsehood. No definition of myth applies to urban legends, so urban myths is incorrect. This is why only people who understand the topics should be writing articles on them and not just people coming in from elsewhere to try to continue fights over definitions they don't understand.DreamGuy 19:33, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
I concur. KillerChihuahua?!? 10:44, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
I reverted DreamGuy's re-addition of "(but incorrect)" for the following reasons (apart from those already stated):
  • His rationale of "revert -- hey, the article being linked to says it's incorrect, and it is incorrect, so who are you to claim it isn;t? oh, that's right, Mr. Change Myth to Mean Something Else Guy", apart from being insulting, is flawed on three points:
1. WP:CITE specifically states Wikipedia articles should not use other Wikipedia articles as sources. Wikilinks are not a substitute for sources.
2. Even if Urban legend were a legitimate source for this article, it does not characterize urban myth as "incorrect", although it does note some objections to the term.
3. I am not saying that urban myth is not incorrect, nor am I saying that it is. In fact, I make no claims whatsoever as to whether urban myth is a correct or incorrect usage.
  • Calling urban myth "incorrect" comes close to violating Wikipedia is not a usage guide. We can describe how words are used in particular circumstances, but we cannot say how they should be used.
For my comments on the Urban legend versus urban myth section of Urban legend, see Talk:Urban legend#Urban Myth vs. Urban Legend. JHCC (talk) 15:25, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
  • "discussion of the correctness or incorrectness of "urban myth" is better resolved at Urban legend and its talk page" - It WAS Resolved on that talk page, and IS resolved on that talk page, except for you trying to freaking change the meaning of words again. We cannot tolerate you and Codex going around trying to switch words around on a whim just to fit whatever argument you are trying to make. It's just astounding to me that you apparently whenever you get something wrong start bringing your controversy to every article that proves you wrong. You need to back off and let the people who understand the topics wroite about the topics, not just hop in because your religious article somewhere wants to claim that "myth" is insulting and that it means "these silly stories people tell that are false" and etcetera. Enough is enough. DreamGuy 03:28, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
Since DreamGuy has not answered any of the points above, I am removing "(but incorrect)". If DreamGuy would like to offer a rational response to the specific objections that I have raised (none of which have anything to do with my religious views or lack thereof), I am more than happy to reconsider. JHCC (talk) 14:39, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
Jesus Freaking Christ Almighty... I have answered all of your points above... on the talkpage for the article in question, just like we agreed upon. Stop freaking reverting and then lying about it. DreamGuy 16:15, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
Excuse me, please do not accuse me of lying. The discussion of what should be included on Urban legend is a separate issue, and that is being discussed on Talk:Urban legend#Urban Myth vs. Urban Legend. On this page, you have not offered a single response to any of my points about whether or not "(but incorrect)" should be included on Myth, other than "revert -- hey, the article being linked to says it's incorrect, and it is incorrect, so who are you to claim it isn;t? oh, that's right, Mr. Change Myth to Mean Something Else Guy", which is refuted above. JHCC (talk) 16:38, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
If you don't want to have me say that you are lying, STOP LYING. The discussion of urban myth being incorrect IS on that talk page, and YOU KNOW THIS. Why on EARTH would we need to go and discuss it AGAIN here? The FACT that it's incorrect is already established over there, and since that's the main article, that's what we go with. We can't just have diferent facts on different pages. DreamGuy 19:29, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
What "different facts"? I'm not saying "Urban myth is the correct term for urban legend." I'm saying that whether or not it is incorrect (and I grant that it is incorrect in academic usage) is irrelevant on this page, and therefore should not be included here.
We both agree that discussion of this issue should be (and is) at Talk:Urban legend#Urban Myth vs. Urban Legend. I am not trying to bring that discussion here.
As for your claim that I am lying, if you can provide evidence that I am lying, I'm more than willing to apologize. If not, this is nothing more than a personal attack, and I would appreciate a retraction and, ideally, an apology. JHCC (talk) 20:44, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
ok, let's back up a second. JHCC is saying (correct me if I'm wrong) that "but incorrect" is an unnecessary addition. DreamGuy, your position is (correct me if I'm wrong) that leaving that off may be misleading. Yes? KillerChihuahua?!? 20:50, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
That is exactly what I am saying. I would also add, since "urban myth" does have currency as a popular expression (particularly in the UK), that to characterize it as "incorrect" (rather than "non-academic" or "popular") violates NPOV — that is, it implies that only academic usages are universally "correct". Hence my support for Haukurth's compromise (see below). JHCC (talk) 21:00, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Haukurth's compromiseEdit

I entirely support this edit as a reasonable compromise, perhaps changing "(not academic)" to "(but not academic)" to make the point even more strongly. JHCC (talk) 21:00, 25 January 2006 (UTC)


I think I may have accidentally run over other edits when trying to take the dates out - apologies if I did. There is absolutely no need for dates to clarify "recent," regardles of the source these dates are arbitrary, useless, moving targets. KillerChihuahua?!? 15:59, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

I agree. JHCC (talk) 16:11, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
Yes, there is no need for dates, especially ones from only one source that wsa already proven to be completely out of step with all other sources on the matter. DreamGuy 16:15, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

OK, Codex needs to get blocked here or something, because he's outright lying on a regular basis about sources and ignoring clearly settled consensus. He calims in a recent edit comment: "the earliest definition in the sense of 'false' is 1830, the earliest for 'maybe true' is 1963 - see Talk:Mythology" But we KNOW that's false, because the source he originally posted showed that the "regardless or true or false" definition is THE ORIGINAL GREEK MEANING and the MAIN MEANING for CENTURIES!

We fully went over this time and time and time and TIME AND TIME AGAIN, and he just will not let go.

It's one thing to be bull-headed, but it's a whole other thing to freaking lie about sources and what a talk page says.DreamGuy 19:27, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Actually, the sources cleearly prove that the "Original Greek meaning" was changed by 500 BC and only was revived for a different purpose by academics around 1963. There is no continuity whatsoever of the term in English between Ancient Greek and the early 19th century borrowing of the word from French mythologie in an already changed sense. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 19:30, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
Actually, no, the sources clearly do not prove that at all. That's complete nonsense. That meaning was the primary meaning for thousands of years, and has always been the primary meaning, except perhaps for colloquial usage here and there. It is extremely disturbing that you can try to push this nonsense onto an encyclopedia. DreamGuy 23:02, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
No, what's extremely disturbing is that you would baldly make such claims, when you have yet to come up with a shred of a cite that that was the "primary meaning" in any language from BC times until 1963. If you have any cite from anywhere that it was ever used in English that way before then, let's see it. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 23:11, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
Both meanings are current; I see no purpose in arguing interminably about whether there was a 5 minute gap or a 5 millinium gap in useage. KillerChihuahua?!? 21:21, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
I agree, and I entirely concur with KillerChihuahua's earlier edit summary: "for the record, my position is leave out "earlier" and "later" alltogether - no need, is just causing silly reverts" [16]. JHCC (talk) 21:28, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
OK then, I suppose it is a moot point now, as long as the purposefully misleading language is going to be left out, like saying the 1830 definition "gained acceptance", or worse yet, was "colloquial"... ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 21:59, 25 January 2006 (UTC)


Per a question I posed at Talk:Mythology, I propose adjusting the academic definition to clarify that not all myths are supernatural, religious, or spiritual. Perhaps:

In the academic field of mythology, a myth is a story of heroism or supernatural events that is believed to be true by people who perceive religious, spiritual, or cultural significance in it. Use of the term by scholars does not imply that the tale is either true or false.

Moving "supernatural" after "heroism" eliminates the ambiguity over whether or not it modifieds both "events" and "heroism", while adding "cultural" opens the door to founding myths and national myths. Thoughts? JHCC (talk) 16:16, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

I have no problem with that, and I like the "cultural" being moved to be with "religious, spiritual" regardless of how heroism and supernatural eventually end up. KillerChihuahua?!? 18:48, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
Uh, no... We've been over this before. Myths by the aceademic definition ARE supernatural (or involve heroes who have supernatural origin if not direct supernatural events in the story). The National myths article is not using the term academically. What that article is describing are legends. Misnamed articles elsewhere do not mean we readjust the academic definition to fit the false ideas of others. DreamGuy 19:10, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
Ah, good point. Not sure you made a statement about the second part of the suggested change, DG - are you also disagreeing with the "people who perceive religious, spiritual, or cultural significance"? Because currently we have cultures believing, which is awkwardly phrased at best. Cultures don't believe. People believe. It may be common within a culture to believe, or it may be part of a cultural paradigm to believe, but cultures don't believe. KillerChihuahua?!? 20:54, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
If indeed the academic definition absolutely includes the supernatural, perhaps a note about stories that do not would bring greater clarity, such as:
In the academic field of mythology, a myth is a story of supernatural events or heroism that is believed to be true by people who perceive religious, spiritual, or cultural significance in it. (Such stories that do not include the supernatural are technically considered legends.) Use of the term by scholars does not imply that the tale is either true or false.
Better? JHCC (talk) 21:16, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
IMHO, too darn long. Suggestion: In the academic field of mythology, a myth is a story of supernatural events or heroism that is believed to be true by people who perceive religious, spiritual, or cultural significance in it. Use of the term by scholars does not imply that the tale is either true or false. would work for me. Do you really feel strongly that legend needs to be mentioned/clarified/distingushed? If so, we can work on verbiage which would accomplish that without the parens, and hopefully more brevity. KillerChihuahua?!? 21:24, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
Your suggestion is fine, and I would be quite willing to accept it. A clearer mention/clarification/distintion is needed, but perhaps would be more appropriate on Mythology; I will suggest it there. JHCC (talk) 21:42, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Ugh, no, cultural significance is not enough, it has to specifically be religious/supernatural significance. If something had cultural significance but not supernatural then it would be a legend or some other designation depending upon the specifics of the tale. And, yes, cultures DO believe things... Cultures are groups of people. The whole point is that for something to be a myth that a cultural group has to believe it to be true. Stories that mere people believe to be true could be folklore or something else and not necessarily myth. Please, people, stop trying to rush to change the meanings around. These words have very specific meanings. DreamGuy 23:10, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

already changed - I think I was posting on article while you were posting here. Let me know if you see issues with current version. Cultures still cannot believe anything, grammatically. The people of a culture can, as part of the culture... suggestions? KillerChihuahua?!? 23:13, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
What about "people in a particular culture believe..."? JHCC (talk) 23:21, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
That's certainly going in the right direction. I'm not sure it makes it clear that the belief is a culture-thing, if you follow. It needs to be fairly obvious that it is part of the culture to believe, not just that they happen to believe. Am I being clear here or have I muddied the waters? KillerChihuahua?!? 23:29, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
"Cultures still cannot believe anything, grammatically." What makes you say that? Of course they can. I don't follow what you are saying. People of a culture is redundant... unless you can think of some culture that isn't made up of people. Cultures are grouped by beliefs (and other things), so they certainly can believe things. It's part of the definition. Races don;t believe anything, countries don't believe anything, but cultures do... that's kind of the whole point. DreamGuy
Culture: The system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviours, and artifacts that the members of society use to cope with their world and with one another, and that are transmitted from generation to generation through learning. Belief: Mental acceptance of and conviction in the truth, actuality, or validity of something.
The people of a culture believe, the beliefs (and customs, etc.) define the culture. But saying a culture believes is poor phrasing. Have you a suggested phrasing which will incorporate the meaning without the poor phrasing? KillerChihuahua?!? 23:45, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
Culture is the system, a culture refers the people... but if you want to be more precise, cultural group adds a couple syllables to be less likely to be confused with the system, but might be confused with related systems. DreamGuy
In the academic field of mythology, a myth is a story of supernatural events or heroism that is believed to be true by people who perceive religious or spiritual significance in it. is current wording. What if we changed people to cultural groups of people? I'm not jumping up and down about it, but it seems to fit the bill. KillerChihuahua?!? 23:55, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
What about In the academic field of mythology, a myth is a story of supernatural events or heroism that is believed to be true in a culture of people who perceive religious or spiritual significance in it ? JHCC (talk) 00:01, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

(reduce) SFAIK cultures are generally considered to be of people, unless we're talking about science fiction. Taking out "in a culture" gets us back to people without the cultural wrapper. And taking out "of people" gets us back to the culture believing. Which I may well have to learn to live with, as unhappy as it makes my sensibilities. KillerChihuahua?!? 00:04, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

OK, how about In the academic field of mythology, a myth is a story of supernatural events or heroism in which the people of a culture or society perceive religious or spiritual significance and which they believe to be true ? Keeps both "cuture" and "people" and eliminates the passive voice, too! JHCC (talk) 00:11, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Sheesh, passive voice is always a pain, isn't it? So easy to fall into. Academic is redundant with "field"... otherwise it just might work.... Wow. DG, do you see any logical/definition type errors here? [unsigned comment by KillerChihuahua?!?]
Actually, per a comment I just made at Talk:Mythology, "academic study of mythology" would be even better. This could mean either the action of studying bodies of myths or the academic discipline itself within which myths are studied. Both would be relevant and appropriate. JHCC (talk) 00:26, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Can we not have the same conversation in two places? Already explained why that sentence was triply redundant over there. "Academic" in relation to "mythology" is always going to be redundant. I might have added it here to try to get the people who wanted it explicit off my case (did I add that?) but it's kind of clumsy. "Study of" is also almost always redundant for most uses of the term. "Field" is really all the clarification necessary... And, actually, really it doesn't even need that. ALL uses of mythology use the definition given there. The colloquial definition of myth is not used in mythology, ever. Mythology is not the study of false statements, or a collection of false statements, its spiritual narratives etc. etc. DreamGuy 19:06, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

Let me just reiterate that I don't see any reason to change the definition that is currently there, as every rationale given above seems to be based upon incorrect understandings of many of the key terms (with the possible except of the "cultures do not believe" claim, which I already gave my view on). I created the sentence to be as specific and accurate to the academic definition as possible, and apparently even added in some extra redundancies to make it more clear to people just skimming. Before we talk about what to change it to, go back to why you think anything needs to be changed. DreamGuy 19:10, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

To make clear that we are talking about academia, not a popular-level "(Fill-In-The-Blank) Myths and Legends" or the dreaded Encyclopedia Mythica. There's no harm in being explicit, especially for a non-specialist audience that may not be aware of Mythology as an academic field or the definitions used therein. JHCC (talk) 19:30, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

==Definition part II==

an unfounded or false notion Randell L. Davis (talk) 15:15, 21 October 2020 (UTC)

a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon Randell L. Davis (talk) 15:23, 21 October 2020 (UTC)

Disambiguation or Definition?Edit

pasted from "Myth" edit history: (User KillerChihuahua)

Rumours are not always, or even usually, about the supernatural and hence are NOT myths.

pasted from my talk page:

The word myth may have several meanings (hence the disambiguation page). Only the academic one deals with supernatural incidents.

On pages linking to myth, often the term Rumor (may be correct or false) or Falsehood would be more appropriate. Hence, I think that a risk of confusion is given and meaningful disambiguation should take place.

Which disambiguation pages would you propose for the following (non-academic, common language) meanings of myth? Here are my suggestions:

  • a fact of known falsehood -> Lie, Falsehood
  • a fact with uncertain correctness -> Rumor
  • a story with uncertain correctness -> ??? (Rumor)
  • a story which proved to be false -> urban legend

Of course, one could state that these are covered in the wiktionary - but when there are articles in the wikipedia dealing with rumors and lies, I think that listing them reduce the risk of confusion.

What do you think? -- Ravn 14:38, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

IMHO, adding an incorrect useage of the word to a disambig page is poor editing. The correct course of action would be to correct any articles which mis-use the word "myth" to point to the correct word (Lie, Rumor, etc). I further think that although the page was overly long and discoursive, the trimming of clarification which Ravn did was perhaps excessive, leading to this issue being raised yet again. One puppy's opinion. KillerChihuahua?!? 14:48, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree that it's better to fix the articles pointing here. Which part of the discourse would you suggest to keep? -- Ravn 15:04, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
I would suggest that "perhaps excessive" should read "totally off the wall beyond any possible rationalization". I've reverted to the last good version. There's absolutely no call for that kind of massive purging. This is a disambiguation page and needs to disambiguate, not to mention it's clear that Ravn doesn't even understand the major concepts behind the terms being discussed. DreamGuy 16:11, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
Obviously. Well, then let's forget about my attempt. -- Ravn 18:49, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
From the message above:
"* a story which proved to be false -> urban legend"
OK, that's entirely wrong. That's not even close to what urban legend means. DreamGuy 16:04, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
I did not state a definition of "urban legend". That's why the arrow is pointing in only one direction. -- Ravn 18:49, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

I would however strongly suggest to clean up the page. It currently looks more like a mix of a search index and a wiktionary definition. Various links are confusing or lead back to this page. I would

  • Move the definitions to their appropriate pages (or create them, if necessary) or the wiktionary
  • Remove links that cannot be confused with "myth" (all these myth of X for example)
  • Actually provide disambiguation links for the definitions.

MoS:DP may help you there. -- Ravn 18:49, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Last "ridiculous" edit.Edit

I considered the last edit by RylehRising (making Myth an article explaining the word and creating the disambiguation page Myth (disambiguation) a perfectly good compromise. Even though the former is already very close to a wiktionary entry IMVHO.

DreamGuy, I fear that your idea of a disambiguation page is not consensus in Wikipedia. Please explain further why you labeled RylehRisings change as "ridiculous". -- Ravn 10:36, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Concur with Ravn. DG, please give your reasoning here, thanks. KillerChihuahua?!? 12:57, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
While I agree that "myth", "mythology" and "myth (disambiguation)" should all be separate pages, and "myth" should be a proper article in and of itself, as one other Wikipedias, I don't personally see how the reverted edit in question was moving in any way towards that. All it did was remove some/most of the disambig material from this page (not creating a proper article) and moving it to a page that is, until we work something out here, nothing more than a waste of space. elvenscout742 13:12, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
While it may not help the article, it helps the disambiguation purpose. People who look for the game Myth, should not have to find their link in two pages of irrelevant text. That's why dab pages are encouraged to be short and clean. The linked to articles will provide the detail.
Does it actually harm the article to separate the disambiguation material? I do not think that we are facing a space problem here. -- Ravn 13:39, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
The way (possibly DreamGuy and) I advocate means people looking for the game only need scroll through one (perhaps cluttered - I haven't read it) disambig page. Yer way, the word "myth" brings one to a useless page that would be better as a redirect with a link to a disambiguation page.
Do you refer with my way to my edit, or to the one of RylehRising that I currently support? In the latter case, the word myth would bring you to this article with a link to a disambiguation page, just like you suggest. -- Ravn 14:51, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
...On examination, this disambig page does need some items toward the end removed. books, paintings, etc. entitled "The Myth of [whatever...]" will not look up the word "myth" - if they do, they don't really deserve to find it. Also, maybe if "myth" is never going to become an article in itself, it should be made a redirect to "myth (disambiguation)", so as to clarify the disambiguative nature of the page?
elvenscout742 14:44, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
The {{disambig}} message is considered sufficient for that. -- Ravn 14:51, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Sorry. I thought that one of the bases for this argument was that that notice did not appear on the page, making it ambiguous. I'll just add it if no one minds. elvenscout742 14:58, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

The notice is already featured on the bottom of the page. This argument actually came up because of the claim that this is a disambiguation page, albeit it violates most of the guidelines for disambiguation pages. -- Ravn 15:18, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
Oh. Sorry about that. This is still meant to be a disambig page, though, so we should fix it to conform to those guidelines (which, BTW, are completely new to me). I doubt anyone's going to argue if the edits can be backed up by the MoS. elvenscout742 18:43, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
Which is what RylehRising did, except he was reverted soon after. That's the whole topic of this discussion. Am I missing something? KillerChihuahua?!? 23:54, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Well, I tried. Please see Wikipedia:Manual of Style (disambiguation page) and Wikipedia:Disambiguation for my rationale. Technically, I should have taken a hatchet to the article and gotten rid of all the irrelevent material. Instead, as has been noted, I tried to do a compromise. The upshot, unfortunately, is that my edits were a complete waste of time, since EVERYTHING was reverted back (!). Which makes me wonder: WHY SHOULD I WASTE TIME FIXING DISAMBIGUATION PAGES IF THEY'RE JUST GOING TO GET REVERTED, ANYWAY? That's a rhetorical question, by the way.
    -,-~R'lyehRising~-,- 02:40, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
Thanks Ryleh - it was not a waste of time. I think we should restore your version. I just wanted to give DreamGuy time to explain his revert. Which he did not. If no one objects, I am going to restore Ryleh's edit in 24h. -- Ravn 09:40, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
I do object, my not responding to you immediately does not give you the right to do whatever the heck you want, and RlyehRising's edit was a waste of time, as that "fix" did not "fix" anything, it just made the disambiguation page useless as a disambiguation page. We do not meed Mythology, Myth AND Myth (disambiguation). As discussed on Talk:Mythology and consensus reached after long discussion, this page is the disambiguation page, and should it ever not become a disambiguation page it needs to be redirected to Mythology instead of being a separate article. This was discussed in great detail. RlyehRising's edits turned the article from a disambiguation page to a completely purposeless page going against clearly defined consensus discussed by a huge number of editors and soundly decided. There are only two options here: Redirect Myth to Mythology like it used to be with a link to disambiguation at the top of that page, or keep Myth as the disambiguation page. After long discussion we chose the latter. It absolutely will not work as a separate article and a disambig page in yet another location, as that pointlessly spreads info out everywhere and effectively makes this article a WP:FORK article competing with Mythology for the same info. We've gone over this again and again and again and decided it fully, so it should come as no surprise that someone showing up out of nowhere to mess it up will be reverted. 08:58, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for your explanation. It would have helped had you pointed us to Talk:Mythology in the first place, instead of calling other people's edits ridiculous. Now I understand that "the consensus" is to keep Myth as a disambiguation page - which is fine with me. (can you give me a direct pointer to the outcome of the discussion? There are many archives in Talk:Mythology, and I could not find it at first sight.)
Now my argument was that the page should be brought in line with MoS:DP (and WP:D)- where should I bring that up in your opinion? Here or at Talk:Mythology?
Are you familiar with these guidelines and the reasoning behind them? Would you agree that this page is not in line? Why did you remove the {{disambig-cleanup}} tag? -- Ravn 10:02, 7 March 2006 (UTC)


I am going to make another attempt at formatting the page, while refraining from removing the dictionary definitions. I will quote the exact portion of the guidelines for each edit. I understand that the consensus is to keep this as a disambiguation page. I am sure that the consensus is not to keep the page badly formatted as it is.

If you disagree with a specific edit, please give reasons. If you want to revert an edit, please revert (or restore) that edit, not any other useful edits that preceded or succeeded. Thanks. -- Ravn 10:22, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

True or false is irrelevant.Edit

why does this simple dab page seem to be so hung up on whether myths are true or false? It also seems to be a bit confused about whether myths and those that believe them are religious. why?

It is a fairly simple thing to state that:

myth is a story or tale containing some supernatural (in the proper sense)

Anything that is supernatural is false by scientific definition. By definition, a myth is a story made up to explain what was not understood, but was later replaced by scientific explanation. A myth is therefore false by definition in a scientific viewpoint, but retains significance in a religious or cultural context.R Young {yakłtalk} 08:53, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

elements, myths have existed in all cultures since recorded history
example; the Odyssey, the epic of Gilgamesh. etc.
myth is comparatively recent term that has been applied to stories that purport to have a basis in fact, but when examined are fictional.
example; urban myth, the myth of El Dorado.
Myth (computer game), a series of real-time tactical computer games
mythology is the study of myth, usually associated with the fields of; poetics, literary criticism, psychology, philosophy (following Jung) and Hermeneutics (following heidegger) amongst others.
mythic is a quality that partakes of myth found in narratives that aren't necessarily myths
example; superhuman strength, the ability to fly etc.
mythical denotes an element taken from a myth
example; frog princes, golden fleeces, elves,
The Myth, a 2005 Chinese film starring Jackie Chan

Please note that I have put myth at the top of the list - as it is what the page is about.

With that said. I fail to see why there is no page for myth other than a disambig page - especially when you consider that the human race has been churning out myths since before the invention of writing. How on earth did this entry end up so confused? There is an enormous body of work relating to myth, more than enough to fill a fully featured article. It seems to me that someone here has discovered some sort of scientific apriorism and has decided to wage war on anything that isn't empirical - that would be fine for say an algebra article or a materials science subject - but for myth you really do need to have a sense of the poetic, symbolic, metaphoric or even the phenomenological.

While writing this I have decided to make the changes that I have outlined above - Judging by the ongoing saga in this talk, I imagine that It will get reverted. but hey, who knows It might be just what was needed to break the impasse. DavidP

Concur and support. KillerChihuahua?!? 22:26, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

I removed the entry that read: "Something that is mythic is thought to contain story elements similar to mythology. Something mythical is, however, typically considered false." because it has no (and probably can't have any) primary link, and the material is more appropriate for wikt:myth or mythology. This is a disambig page, entries should only be created for fixing backlinks, rather than for defining terms or expanding on concepts. If the specific term "myth" needs to be expanded upon, it may be better to split that out into a separate non-disambig page. --Interiot 09:12, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

=Myth: Three DegreesEdit

Greetings, we see below that the word 'myth' generally has three definitions.

Thus I have split the disambiguation page into three definitions. Definition 1 is the traditional sense: i.e. "creation myth." Definition three is the modern devolved use: i.e. "that's a myth." Definition two is an intermediate: i.e. "longevity myth." Let me explain how these differ by degree:

A. In the first usage, a myth is considered a story central to a culture's religious identity. Myths are defined and taught often by a centralized, accepted religious figure, such as a priest or shaman. Definition 1 myths are specific to a particular culture. Note that a definition 1 myth often involves a god, such as a god of the volcano.

B. In the second usage, a myth may have some religious basis to it, but often is not central to that group's culture but may still be viewed as important. For example, the idea that Methuselah lived '969 years' is not on the same scale of importance as the story of creation in Genesis, yet it is still a story meant to teach a lesson. What happens, however, when you get to a story like the "Fountain of Youth"? The story may be accepted by only those on the outskirts of society. It does not involve mainstream religious acceptance, yet those who believe it may consider it important to their 'life-quest. Yet science considers a 150-year-old person as impossible. Hence, it is a hybridized or amalgamized idea, sort of like a 'semi-divine' being. Definition two myths are less specific than definition 1 myths, but such a myth is still a degree more important than

C. In the third usage, a 'myth' is a popular term for something widely believed to be true but is not, and often is trivial...such as 'children shouldn't get in the pool until 30 minutes after eating.' Again, the myth is a rationalization, but its level of triviality makes it a degree less than definition two.

Note that each of these three can be distinguished from other concepts, although there may be some overlap. An urban legend, for example, is a specific story about a specific alleged event (which didn't actually happen), not an example-story meant to explain how things are.

Some may say that folklore overlaps with definition 2, but again its not the same. A folk story may be told simply for entertainment or amusement; even if a moral is included (i.e. the Pied Piper of Hamelin).R Young {yakłtalk} 08:51, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

Wiktionary does not count as a reliable source for these sorts of things, especially as it can be so easily changed. Your long personal theories on myth are not in line with how Wikipedia operates. See the WP:OR policy, among others. And falsely labeling the standard version of this article as "POV" to try to justify changing things back to your POV/OR version won't fly. DreamGuy 10:48, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

you guys r actin like babies —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:19, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

The fact of the matter is, DreamGuy, that you can't scientifically prove that there is a 'God.' Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a church.Ryoung122 04:12, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

False and trueEdit

A myth could be something that is believed to be false (being indeed true or false) or true (being indeed false or true). The article doesn't clearly states this. Miguelzinho 13:38, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

please see section above, #True or false is irrelevant. KillerChihuahua?!? 13:44, 22 September 2007 (UTC)


myth is a night club in Minnesota. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bueno123 (talkcontribs) 16:35, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

The create Myth (night club in Minnesota), and we can add it to Myth (disambiguation). Said: Rursus () 07:12, 4 September 2008 (UTC)



This article as now written appears to now be POV-biased in favor of "religious/spiritual" belief. Overuse of the word "sacred" and stressing "truth-neutral" is a bit dishonest...scholars, when labelling stories "myth," implied that those stories had no scientific basis. Even the term "word of mouth" connotes a meaning of "unconfirmed"...Ryoung122 09:06, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

This article needs a better definition of mythEdit

My sense of myth is that its legendary, something widely assumed but not proven. A myth doesn't necessarily have to refer to a religious belief, it could refer to the existence of the loch ness monster, bigfoot,the Yeti or an urban legend. In most cases when its used in reference to a religion living or dead its mainly intended to give offense. Rktect (talk) 23:32, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Why doesn't this redirect to Mythology?Edit

This article is currently unsourced and speaks in vague generalities. To the extent that it contains specific information, there is nothing here that isn't also found in the (larger) article Mythology. In fact, Mythology discusses the various definitions of the word "myth" more thoroughly than this does! I propose that we have this article redirect to Mythology. --Phatius McBluff (talk) 23:32, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

I'd support a redirect. Cheers, Ben (talk) 23:50, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Why not redirect?Edit

After a couple years of stable redirect to mythology, Editor2020 has returned to previous content and made several copyedits. The rationale for previous content was WP:SINGULAR, but that doesn't seem to say anything about changing "myth" from a "mythology" redirect to a poor WP:WPDAB page between (only) two senses of the word. (Actually, SINGULAR would indicate that "myths" should point here; since "myths" points to "mythology", "myth" can too.) Without realizing what happened I deleted "myth" from the "mythology" hatnote. As a WP:BRD revert I think I should revert to the redirect and undo the hatnote and wait for any discussion. The primary topic a "myth" searcher will want is mythology; the secondary, informal meaning of "myth" (best seen at popular misconception) will be linked from an article in that lead. JJB 21:01, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

I think we need to make a distinction between myth (a traditional story), mythology (the academic discipline) and mythology (a body of myths). Editor2020 (talk) 02:27, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree as stated. Assuming myth redirects to mythology, seekers of any of those three topics will receive the concise lead to mythology, which disambiguates all three and provides (a good start on) full commentary on all three. You might take up further dab concerns at Talk:Mythology. (The prior "myth" article you restored dealt with a different distinction entirely, that between myth (a traditional story) and myth (a popular misconception).) JJB 14:37, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

Other language wikisEdit

Dear all,

I seem to have messed certain things up trying to correct a bad link. I need to talk to a high ranking wikipedian! I was correcting an inter-wiki link. The page Myth was linked to the wrong page in Persian (farsi) wiki. I managed to correct it. But all other languages disappeared. I'm sorry. Can you help to restore things back to normal while keeping the new link to the page in Persian wiki?Salarabdolmohamadian (talk) 20:54, 4 December 2016 (UTC)

  Done A second Wikidata record got created. I removed Myth from that record and relinked it to d:Q1213296. —C.Fred (talk) 20:58, 4 December 2016 (UTC)

Definition in headingEdit

I think the present definition at heading "A myth is any traditional story consisting of events that are ostensibly historical", is not correct, because historicity is not a property of myth. If we take the definition at Encyclopaedia Britannica, we see that it is completely out of human ordinary experience, and hence history: "Myths are specific accounts of gods or superhuman beings involved in extraordinary events or circumstances in a time that is unspecified but which is understood as existing apart from ordinary human experience." I therefore propose to change the definition to something more in the line of EB.--Auró (talk) 11:01, 28 May 2017 (UTC)

Robert L. Winzeler's textbook (published by Rowman & Littlefield, publisher or high-quality college texts) Anthropology and Religion: What We Know, Think, and Question blows such simplistic definitions clean out of the water: "...anthropologists generally adhere to a broad view of myth; it is not possible to make clear, cross-culturally valid distinctions among, myths, legends, and folktales."
Nevermind the online version of Encyclopaedia Britannica states "Myth, a symbolic narrative, usually of unknown origin and at least partly traditional, that ostensibly relates actual events and that is especially associated with religious belief. (...) If it is accepted that the category of traditional tale should be subdivided, one way of doing so is to regard the various subdivisions as comparable to bands of colour in a spectrum. Within this figurative spectrum, there will be similarities and analogies between myth and folktale or between myth and legend or between fairy tale and folktale. In the section that follows, it is assumed that useful distinctions can be drawn between different categories. It should, however, be remembered throughout that these classifications are far from rigid and that, in many cases, a given tale might be plausibly assigned to more than one category."
So even the Encyclopaedia Britannica says the classifications are far from rigid and that stories can fall into more then one category. Winzeler firmly points that in anthropology any such classification slams into the whole issue of emic vs etic and "that it is not necessarily useful to try to do so".--2606:A000:7D44:100:555E:F490:30F7:439 (talk) 00:30, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
Re the Winzeler quote, see Winzeler, Robert L. (2012). Anthropology and Religion: What We Know, Think, and Question. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-7591-2189-8. However, it might make sense to back up and look at WHAT EXACTLY IS A MYTH? on page 104 there. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 01:13, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
I've rewritten the lead with a quote from Honko's "The Problem of Defining Myth" to solve this problem. There's a lot more to say here, but we'd be wise to stick to specialists in folklore studies as much as possible rather than bringing in generalist tertiary sources. Folklore genres can be slippery, but they're be no means, say, widely recognized as synonyms in folklore studies. :bloodofox: (talk) 17:36, 26 April 2018 (UTC)

Lead sectionEdit

@Bloodofox: I appreciate your concern about more reliable sources. My thinking was that a dictionary definition for the very first sentence was a little more palatable or reader-friendly. Your argument makes sense, but I'm just concerned that the definition as it stands now uses a bit more technical language like "folklore genre" and I wonder if the "narratives about gods" bit is a little too specific. I always understood myths to be biased and yes, often supernatural (whether gods are involved or not). But can't an atheistic society still have myths: stories widespread within the society that are self-aggrandizing, fanciful, or nationalistic, even if gods are not explicitly mentioned? Wolfdog (talk) 19:38, 21 June 2018 (UTC)

@Wolfdog:, thanks for that. I agree that the current definition is not the easiest to approach. I've made a few adjustments that I hope better reflect your comments and concerns.
The topic itself is notoriously difficult to get a handle on, and commonly requires scholars to clarify what definition of the term they're using beforehand. It's a complex topic, which is why Honko's definition reads as it does. Ideally, this article would be quite well developed (Wikipedia has historically lacked specialists in the area of folklore studies), but we're not there yet. We also need a folklore genre article, which we lack (it is not immediately apparent to readers how scholars define the differences between these genres).
All that said, you're right, and we should introduce more definitions. Introductory texts for folklore studies students are good resources for this purpose. I'll see what I can find to make this more approachable readers. :bloodofox: (talk) 22:27, 21 June 2018 (UTC)

Merge proposalEdit

I propose that we merge mythology with this page, myth, due to extensive overlap. Mythology is generally defined as either a body of myths or the study thereof, and one cannot discuss myth without discussing its reception and its context. I see no reason why these two topics should not be handled in the same article, and it appears to me that splitting the two has in no way helped Wikipedia's coverage of the topic. Both articles are short and would necessarily cover the same ground. :bloodofox: (talk) 16:31, 9 August 2018 (UTC)

Since my merge poll yielded no response, I've boldly merged the two articles. Now that they're together, we can being the major work needed to bring this article up to WP:GA standards. :bloodofox: (talk) 20:54, 13 August 2018 (UTC)
I don't know if merging these two articles was a good idea, but if the two are going to be merged, I would think that they should have been merged into Mythology rather than here. Rreagan007 (talk) 21:51, 14 August 2018 (UTC)
Care to explain why? :bloodofox: (talk) 21:56, 14 August 2018 (UTC)
Well, for one thing, "Mythology" has/had been selected by the community to be listed as a Level 2 Vital Article, but "Myth" isn't even currently included in Level 5. Rreagan007 (talk) 03:16, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
Why can’t that be changed? :bloodofox: (talk) 03:44, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
I didn't say it can't be, but it's an indication that a community decision was made that "Mythology" is a more important topic to have a Wikipedia article on than "Myth". And it's also an indication that you probably shouldn't have merged such a high-importance article into this one without any community discussion at all. Rreagan007 (talk) 05:33, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
As the state of both articles indicated, both needed serious attention that they weren’t getting. There wasn’t much community involvement here, and the two articles obviously overlap tremendously because they’re about the same topics. Additionally, I made several attempts to reach out on both talk pages before the merge and went through the standard merge processes. I see no issue here. :bloodofox: (talk) 06:56, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
The standard merge process laid out at Wikipedia:Merging says that you should wait for 30 days after starting a merger proposal before merging articles without objections, and it appears that you only waited for 7 days. I think that's an issue. With such a high-importance article as Mythology, you really should have waited the full 30 days and listed the merger proposal at Wikipedia:Proposed mergers. Do you have a rationale for why you think "Myth" should be the surviving article rather than "Mythology"? Rreagan007 (talk) 08:00, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
Myth is the core concept here. Mythology, as a term, refers to a group of myths (or a complex or body of myths), or the study of either individual myths (or groups of myths). As a result, the starting point here is the narrative genre itself, and everything else follows. I'm not entirely sure why you're so focused on the vital article levels here, as that may be changed easily enough. This article—and Wikipedia's coverage of folklore topics—has generally seen neglect, and it's certainly a positive for it to finally get some serious attention. :bloodofox: (talk) 16:06, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment I'll try to read a few sources tomorrow, but I'm likely to support the merge proposal, but with the surviving page being at Mythology. Mythology is defined as either a collection of myths, or the study of myths. The content here about myths in Ancient Greece could also be moved to an entirely different page. Another possible option would be to move the DAB page at Myth (disambiguation) here. power~enwiki (π, ν) 05:12, 17 August 2018 (UTC)
    • From a page-history point of view, the surviving article history should be that at Mythology (an article since 2001); the article currently at Myth has been an off-and-on redirect, last changed in December 2015. power~enwiki (π, ν) 05:15, 17 August 2018 (UTC)
      • I also think "Mythology" should be the surviving article if the merger stands. I think this is a case where the whole is more than its parts. Rreagan007 (talk) 18:28, 17 August 2018 (UTC)
        • FYI, I'm a lot less concerned about whether the article is at myth or mythology than that the two are merged so that we can get to work in bringing the article to WP:GA standards. I think myth makes the most sense, but I'm not going to split hairs about it. :bloodofox: (talk) 18:31, 17 August 2018 (UTC)
          • I think you'd be fine to start editing at Mythology now; the section here on "Ancient Greece" probably shouldn't be in the merged article, and the rest of the content here is just a definition. Once a few more people comment, I may propose a move from Mythology to Myth, and move this existing page to Myth (definition) or somewhere similar where it can be kept for the revision history. Also @Wbm1058: who may have thoughts on how to handle the technical side. power~enwiki (π, ν) 18:39, 17 August 2018 (UTC)
            • Well, we can't exactly discuss mythology without discussing myth in depth. In turn, at the moment anyone who wants to improve either will quickly find themselves frozen in place. This is why I proposed the merge in the first place. :bloodofox: (talk) 18:42, 17 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Support the merge, though based on the page history it should be a merge from Myth to Mythology, followed by a move proposal from Mythology to Myth. I've tried to get a few more people to comment; I don't think we need the full 30 days but I'd like to wait until at least Tuesday to do the merge unless there's a clear consensus. power~enwiki (π, ν) 22:36, 17 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. I'm in favor of accepting the merge, which seems like a step in the right direction. FWIW, Britannica also favors this title. The lead is a lot easier to write when the topic is on this title; see Talk:Mythology/Archive 5 § Circular references. If the topic is at Mythology you still need to define what a myth is in the lead of that article. Both of these articles date back to the earliest days of Wikipedia, and I'm not keen on mucking with page histories that go that far back. As with Bacteriology and Bacteria or Volcanology and Volcano it's reasonable to have two articles, and we should remain open to that possibility if content is developed to justify that. Moving the disambiguation page to the base title is a nonstarter to me as that creates a pointless disambiguation exercise... this is the obvious primary topic. Much of the history of this is an ill-conceived disambiguation at the base title. This is a broad-concept and the first section of Myth (disambiguation) are related topics, many are partial-title matches. These links belong right here at the base title, and should be overviewed in the broad-concept article. The dab should just be for the films, games, and songs etc. Myth (definition) is a bad idea too, the definition should be in the lead, "Etymology" and "Defining myth" sections. I don't see the point in merging to Mythology, only to turn around and move it back. How the lead is written depends on the title, so a move requires rewriting the lead, and you would need to WP:Round-robin the articles. The merge as already done is fine. I considered hist-merging the section of the history that made this a dab, to the disambiguation page, but as some of that is more a list of related topics than a true dab it may be better to leave it all here. – wbm1058 (talk) 23:09, 17 August 2018 (UTC)
I'm not sure how a histmerge should work here; if you think there's no benefit to messing around with it that's fine. power~enwiki (π, ν) 23:31, 17 August 2018 (UTC)
There was an article here that was merged in the other direction in August 2005. But the redirect didn't stick for long. This title was never stable as a redirect; it's worth a shot to see whether Mythology can be more stable as a redirect. wbm1058 (talk) 23:49, 17 August 2018 (UTC)
That sounds pretty confusing to me! But I agree it'd be great to develop how Myth covers the academic study of myths. Alarichall (talk) 07:37, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
Behind the redirect, mythology covered the academic stuff. Myth and Mythology had overlap, but I think the better solution is to cut the overlap, not merge everything. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:44, 12 September 2018 (UTC)

Mythology v Myth in other encyclopedic sourcesEdit

  • In the Encyclopedia of Religion (ISBN 0028657330), there is a long article entitled Myth (and a separate article on "Myth and History") and no separate article entitled Mythology. Discussions of specific mythologies are in other articles; "Germanic religion" talks in detail about specific myths.
  • In World Book 2018, there is a long article entitled Mythology and no separate article entitled Myth. The first sub-section is entitled "Types of myths"; the article also includes subsections on Middle Eastern, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Pacific Islands, Celtic, Teutonic, and Aztec mythology, as well as a section on the study of myths. Norse mythology is a redirect to "Mythology (Teutonic mythology)" and not a stand-alone article.
  • The New Encyclopedia of Africa (ISBN 0684314576) has an article entitled "Myth and Cosmology", that starts Myth and mythologies are conventionally defined as ....
  • The Encyclopedia Judaica (ISBN 0028659422) has an article entitled "Myth, Mythology".

I think these examples support that there are not two separate topics here. power~enwiki (π, ν) 22:27, 17 August 2018 (UTC)

@Katolophyromai: and @Alarichall:, as you both edit frequently in these corners, care to comment? :bloodofox: (talk) 16:56, 22 August 2018 (UTC)
@Bloodofox: I do not have a strong opinion on either title, but I will point out that, prior to the merge, the article "Mythology" was consistently the more popular article of the two and, almost without exception, received around 400 more views per day than the article "Myth." I think that the word "mythology" is also more directly associated with the subject we are writing about in most people's minds than the word "myth"; when most people who are not scholars hear the word "myth," they think of a misconception or urban legend, but when they hear the word "mythology," they more immediately think of stories about gods and heroes, which is still not exactly the academic definition of the word "mythology," but is certainly much closer than "misconception" or "urban legend." --Katolophyromai (talk) 20:49, 22 August 2018 (UTC)
Meanwhile, these are the senses that the Oxford English Dictionary gives as current for mythology:[1]
  • 3 a. As a mass noun: mythical stories or traditional beliefs collectively; myth.
  • b. A body or collection of myths, esp. those relating to a particular person or thing, or belonging to a particular religious or cultural tradition.
  • c. In extended use: the received wisdom concerning a particular subject; the collective or personal ideology or set of beliefs which underpins or informs a particular point of view.
  • 4. The branch of knowledge that deals with myths; the study of myths.
And here are the senses for myth:[2]
  • 1.a. A traditional story, typically involving supernatural beings or forces, which embodies and provides an explanation, aetiology, or justification for something such as the early history of a society, a religious belief or ritual, or a natural phenomenon.
  • b. As a mass noun: such stories collectively or as a genre.
  • 2.a. A widespread but untrue or erroneous story or belief; a widely held misconception; a misrepresentation of the truth. Also: something existing only in myth; a fictitious or imaginary person or thing.
  • b. A person or thing held in awe or generally referred to with near reverential admiration on the basis of popularly repeated stories (whether real or fictitious).
  • c. A popular conception of a person or thing which exaggerates or idealizes the truth.
I think this emphasises that the meanings of myth and mythology overlap a lot and that it would be hard usefully to have separate articles under these titles in English Wikipedia. I wouldn't be too fussed about which term we used. But for the most part, the content of the article seems to me to fit more neatly under the senses for mythology, but Myth#Popular_usage does cover sense 2 of myth as well. Thus my feeling is that if we are to go for one name or the other, mythology is probably better -- but there is probably a case for 'Myth and mythology', à la the Encyclopedia Judaica. Alarichall (talk) 22:34, 23 August 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for mulling this over, folks. The idea of a myth and mythology article sounds like it could be very beneficial. Do you know if there's some sort of naming convention that would prevent us from doing that? :bloodofox: (talk) 17:16, 24 August 2018 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Article titles. Editor2020 (talk) 00:06, 25 August 2018 (UTC)

Looking at these guidelines, 'Myth and mythology' has the disadvantage of being less concise than just using one word, but has the advantage of avoiding ambiguity (since a lot of readers are clearly uncertain as to whether or not there is a distinction between these). Alarichall (talk) 16:15, 26 August 2018 (UTC)


  1. ^ "mythology, n." OED Online, Oxford University Press, June 2018, Accessed 23 August 2018.
  2. ^ "myth, n." OED Online, Oxford University Press, June 2018, Accessed 23 August 2018.

Suggested move 3 September 2018Edit

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Not Moved: no significant consensus to move L293D ( • ) 21:24, 11 September 2018 (UTC)

MythMyth and mythology. Just building on the discussion in the last section, then, I just thought I'd formally suggest this change of title. As I've said above, I don't have strong opinions about this, but it seems worth asking.

  • Pros: 'Myth and mythology' seems quite a clean solution to the entanglement of these two terms and should discourage people from continuing to try and create separate articles. I suggest it is consistent with WP:PRECISION: 'usually, titles should be precise enough to unambiguously define the topical scope of the article, but no more precise than that'. Neither myth nor mythology alone seems to quite cover the topic.
  • Cons: 'Myth and mythology' would be less consistent with WP:CONCISE.

Alarichall (talk) 16:59, 3 September 2018 (UTC)

  • Support. I support this change per discussion above. :bloodofox: (talk) 23:00, 3 September 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose Violates WP:CONCISE and is more likely to just be confusing than anything else. It would be better to pick one name for the title of the article and stick with it. --Katolophyromai (talk) 12:26, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. I think this title makes a lot of sense, as the article covers both topics. Rreagan007 (talk) 20:16, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. Since "mythology" should probably be in bold in the lead, it makes sense to put it in the title. Srnec (talk) 02:51, 5 September 2018 (UTC)
  • Leaning oppose. "Myth" and "mythology" don't really describe the same thing, although they're closely related and can be used interchangeably in some contexts. However, I think that the concept of "myth" should probably be treated as a separate article, because it involves many distinct concepts (structure, symbolism, purpose, and of course modern uses of the word separate from its technical ones) that need to be explored in-depth, without going in-depth about bodies of myths, which would make a separate topic, where the study of myth and groups of related myths or systems of belief could be explored. I know there's some overlap, but that's normal in Wikipedia. The discipline of mythology and individual mythologies could be reduced to a couple of paragraphs in this article, but would easily support a much longer stand-alone article, which in turn would branch off to individual mythologies or other sub-topics. P Aculeius (talk) 12:40, 9 September 2018 (UTC)
    • Thanks for the comment! Although I'd love it if this worked, I think the discussions in the previous two sections indicate why trying to split these terms up is unlikely to be a success. But I recognise that it's a close call and appreciate your view! Alarichall (talk) 20:55, 9 September 2018 (UTC)
    • @P Aculeius: For better or worse, the separate articles on "myth" and "mythology" have been merged together into this one article, and mythology now redirects here. This proposal is not about whether or not that was a good idea, but rather since the two articles have been merged together, should the title of this merged article be simply "Myth" or "Myth and mythology". Rreagan007 (talk) 05:48, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. What's next? Math and Mathematics? We currently have Chemical substance and Chemistry. If those two were merged, would we title that merged article Chemistry, or Chemical substance and Chemistry? I would hope the former. It is totally appropriate to cover the topic of mythology in an article titled Myth. There is nothing to fix here. There will be if the title is unnecessarily lengthened contrary to WP:CONCISE. --В²C 16:58, 11 September 2018 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Lead is terribleEdit

The lead is largely unreferenced. It states:

"Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in society, such as foundational tales"

It's 'a' folklore genre consisting of [fundamental] narratives? How many other folklore genres consist of foundational narratives then? None. The word 'myth' used in that way is uncountable. So I don't think it's even correct English. I tried to fix it; but I was almost immediately revert warred.

Maybe "Myth is the folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in society..."

But that's not much better.

Then there's the accessibility aspects. The term 'folklore genre'? The first sentence or two is supposed to be maximally accessible to anyone. I'm pretty sure most people don't know what a folklore genre is, or know that folklore isn't just a collection of stories in and of itself. In which case myth is just a genre like batman- but that doesn't seem to be what's is meant here, it seems to be clumsily trying to say that ALL OF THE STORIES IN FOLKLORE are myths. And the use of myth as an uncountable is not very accessible either.

And that's just the awful first sentence, the rest of the lead seems pretty incomplete, among other problems. GliderMaven (talk) 00:01, 26 October 2018 (UTC)

Yikes—Where to begin with this? First, folklore is an umbrella term for a wide variety of topics, including things like traditional recipes, jokes, and legends. These are all genres. Myth, another genre, happens to falls under this umbrella. Like other leads, uncontroversial topics (including this one) receive relevant references in the article’s body. We can reword the lead to make it easier to read, sure, but you’re going to need to brush up on this topic before we can discuss it in depth. :bloodofox: (talk) 00:14, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
I'm afraid I agree that your recent edits to the lead, GliderMaven, didn't improve its clarity or accuracy. Finding ways to make the text more accessible would be cool, but since myth is pretty indefinable, it's quite hard to represent clearly, so the lead does need to be subtle, and technical terms like 'genre' can help with that. Alarichall (talk) 07:53, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
Whether or not my edits improved it, the lead is terrible for the reasons I have given, and doubtless more as well. It's just bad, frankly your opinions should be largely discounted, as myths are, for the purpose of defining the topic for the article, in no way indefinable. GliderMaven (talk) 17:46, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
Feel free to float some definitions here! It'll be interesting to see if we can hit on a formulation that works better than what we currently have. Alarichall (talk) 21:31, 26 October 2018 (UTC)

Atheist Wikipedia?Edit

Wikipedia is also a atheist website? this article and some other articles says that Gods and religions are myths, so Wikipedia is also a atheist website? (talk) 15:37, 21 March 2019 (UTC)

This is discussed in Myth#Myth: 'Since the term myth is widely used to imply that a story is not objectively true, the identification of a narrative as a myth can be highly political: many adherents of religions view their religion's stories as true and therefore object to the stories being characterised as myths. Nevertheless, scholars now routinely speak of Christian mythology, Jewish mythology, Islamic mythology, Hindu mythology, and so forth. Traditionally, Western scholarship, with its Judaeo-Christian heritage, has viewed narratives in the Abrahamic religions as being the province of theology rather than mythology; meanwhile, identifying religious stories of colonised cultures, such as stories in Hinduism, as myths enabled Western scholars to imply that they were of lower truth-value than the stories of Christianity. Labelling all religious narratives as myths can be thought of as treating different traditions with parity.' (Perhaps we could put this in the header if necessary?) Alarichall (talk) 16:13, 21 March 2019 (UTC)

Misuse of myths for political and history revisionist purposesEdit

Has anyone tried to include a section on the misuse of myths (for political and revisionist purposes), deliberate and methodical inventions of new or distorting the old ones, or even blurring the line between myths and real historical events? Unfortunately, there are no links, no categories, nothing that could at least hint such phenomenon and refer the reader to this topic.--౪ Santa ౪99° 15:41, 23 June 2019 (UTC)

The true definition of a Myth is story's based on some historic or religious events that may or may not of happened or are culturally true in some cases . And not this off balanced definition thats on this Wikipedia. Randell L. Davis (talk) 14:56, 21 October 2020 (UTC)

A Commons file used on this page or its Wikidata item has been nominated for deletionEdit

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"myth" vs. "mythology"Edit

I have tagged the "Mythology" section as needing a rewrite. The first two sentences are a dictionary definition that look to have been worded based on internal Wikipedia politics of the mid-2000s (specifically to address the dubious concerns of the long-gone user DreamGuy) rather than to objectively summarize mainstream scholarship, while the rest of the section appears to relate to the word "myth" and not to the word "mythology". It's my understanding that a "myth" is a traditional story explaining the origin of X, while "mythology" refers to births and lives of gods (or heroes), per [17]. However, I haven't read Kaufman, who apparently discusses the matter in more depth. Hijiri 88 (やや) 12:11, 14 January 2021 (UTC)

Return to "Myth" page.