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Myth and symbolism

Started by ptlopes, October 12, 2021, 03:17:33 PM

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I'm a 34 year old Thomist from Portugal.

I have some questions which I am finding no good answers to.

1) What is the orthodox Catholic position on pagan mythology? I read that some Church Fathers explain the similarities between the story of Christ and some pagan myths saying that the people who creared those myths (or some of those myths) were inspired by the devil who wanted to make people believe that narrative of Christ was nothing but another one of those myths. I think that is the "diabolic mimicry hypothesis" and one of the Fathers is Justin Martyr. G. K. Chesterton seems to have a more positive view of myth. Is that the definitive position of Catholic theology on the issue? Are myths inspired by the devil?

2) Do you know any good sources on Catholic and non-Catholic symbolism, from an orthodox Catholic perspective? Auber's "Histoire et théorie du symbolisme religieux avant et depuis le christianisme" seems to be a good one, but I don't read french. :(

3) Clement of Alexandria seems to be an important author on these matters. Are his writings orthodox?

Thank you and have a nice evening,
Pedro Lopes


We know what a myth is not.
1909 Pontifical Biblical Commission (Latin original) said that
QuoteThe first three Chapters of Genesis contain narratives that correspond to objectively real and historically true events (rerum vere gestarum narrationes quae scilicet obiectivae realitati et historicae veritati respondeant), no myths, no mere allegories or symbols of religious truths, no legends.
Vatican I, Dei Filius:
QuoteEven the Holy Scriptures, which had previously been declared the sole source and judge of Christian doctrine, began to be held [by non-believers] no longer as divine, but to be ranked among the fictions of mythology.
Also, Dante's Divine Comedy "baptized" pagan mythology analogously to how St. Thomas Aquinas "baptized" Aristotelian philosophy; Benedict XI wrote an encyclical on Dante, In Praeclara Summorum (1921).