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Fontanelle And Lowth Essay

1291 words - 6 pages

21 February 2012
Set F, Response 1

Fontanelle and Lowth

Bernard Fontanelle and Robert Lowth are two modern mythologists who have very different ideas on mythology. Fontanelle views mythology as a childish way of thinking and Lowth views it as a brilliant way of life. There are many different ways of viewing mythology and learning about it, as these men have proved. There is the way of looking at it as infantile and a thought process of those who are less-experienced, or it can be looked at as a new journey to embark on in learning a new subject or lifestyle of those in our past.
The mythologist, Bernard Fontanelle, was writing before his time when he ...view middle of the document...

One person tells a short story and whispers it to the person next to them, that person is then supposed to pass on whispering the story to the person next to them, and so-forth, until the story has reached the end of the line. When the story has reached the last person in line, they are then to repeat the story to the story-teller and the rest of the group. The majority of the time, the story has changed along the way, and it is a perfect example to the younger generations on how a story can get altered just by one person misunderstanding a small detail. The game of telephone can also relate to gossip within a school, town, celebrity, or nation.
The game of Telephone among children ties into the idea that Fontanelle views the Greeks as a group of people that were infantile in the way of their thinking. In Fontanelle’s Of the Origin of Fables, he talks about how “one is ignorant, consequently one sees numerous prodigies, and naturally one exaggerates the surprising things in narrating them. They continue to collect diverse falsehoods as they pass through many mouths,” (Feldman 13). Just like children, or many people for that matter, when they see something out of the ordinary that is fascinating to them, the first thing they want to do is share it with their friends. When they tell the story again of what they saw or what they encountered, they exaggerate the story because it was so amazing to them, having experienced it for the first time. This is true for the people back in Fontanelle’s time, and the people of the twenty-first century.
Robert Lowth is a mythologist, a literary scholar, and a classical translator who looks at mythology in a different light than Fontanelle. He views it as focusing on Hebrews and he wants to be put in the place of the Hebrews themselves in how they would think in their situations at that time. Lowth understands that throughout the years, perceptions of humans have changed greatly, and we have learned cause and effect and have therefore perfected it. He wanted to find out about what it would be like to live back in the time of mythology with the Hebrews and live in the presence of God. He wanted to experience everything that the people were experiencing by putting himself in their shoes.
Lowth argued that “the history of the past needed to be studied in a living, inward, and experiential way; thus [he] argues that we can understand the ancient Hebrews only if we try to think, write, and feel as they did-indeed, we must become them, insofar as possible,” (Feldman 145). Just as any author, journalist, or columnist, they want to report and...

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