In the spirit of Joseph Campbell and C. G. Jung, David Leeming examines how myths have been transformed from ancient times to modern day, and maintains that their archetypal significance for understanding the world is as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago.
Exploring classic works such as the Song of Songs, the Tao Te Ching, the Rg Veda, the New Testament, and the Indonesian myth of Hainuwele, Myth: A Biography of Belief reveals the cultural energies that ancient "mythmakers" sought to corral in their creations. David Leeming argues that myths are, by definition, evolving creations that live on in the work of modern-day "mythmakers" such as W.B. Yeats, Virginia Woolf, and Albert Einstein. Leeming provides an engaging new outlook on the role of myth in the works of these and other contemporary artists and scientists. The similarities between modern concepts like the "Big Bang" and ancient myths of creation illustrate our continuing need to confront the mysteries of existence by way of metaphor and narrative. Leeming suggests that myth and factual knowledge do not negate, but complement each other. Whether it is the "American Dream," alien abduction, or belief in virgin birth and resurrection, these "living myths" play a very therapeutic role in the development of a healthy society.