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The Creativity Of Disaster

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on three-part pattern: (1) disaster befalls a community; (2) the community makes a ritual response; and (3) the disaster abates. Both AlanDundes and Walter Burkert have contributed to our understanding of the role that 'disaster' can play in myth and the construction of ritual. Dundes' pattern, especially as it was applied to Greek myths by Burkert, has helped us to see that disaster, which constitutes one specific manifestation of 'lack', often drives the plot of a story. Burkert's pattern has helped us to see that when loss, which constitutes one form of disaster, is undertaken purposefully by a community, it can represent the human contribution that sustains a profitable relationship with the gods. The chapter offers two examples of the pattern in order to demonstrate the variety of forms in which it may manifest itself.

Keywords: AlanDundes; disaster; Walter Burkert



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