Max Müller on Religion and Myth
Robert A. Segal [+]
University of Aberdeen
In chapter two I contrast Müller’s theory of myth to the theory of Tylor and also the theories of Jung and Lang. Where Tylor sees myth as an aspect of religion, at least of primitive religion, Müller pits myth against religion. For hm, earliest religion has no myths, which arise only from a confusion in the use of seeming names for natural forces, such as the sun. The sun becomes not a mere name but a personality, the characteristics of whom need to be explained--by myth. Where Tylor insistently reads myth and religion literally, Müller reads religion symbolically--till the confusion. The original object of worship is not a physical phenomenon, such as the sun. Rather, it is an immaterial and impersonal Infinite. Where for Tylor myth and religion originate and function to explain physical events like the rising and setting of the sun, for Müller religion originates and functions to express the experience of the Infinite.