The Dragon: Making Sense Of A World Wide Myth

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Chris Knight

The Dragon: Making Sense Of A World Wide Myth

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 - 18:45

Everyone is familiar with the mythical motif of the Dragon. In myths and fairy tales across the world, we find different versions of a snake-like, coiling creature which connects earth and sky, dwells in water, breathes fire and has a particular fondness for young maidens. In this talk, Chris will be proposing a revolutionary new way of decoding dragon myths. The dragon has nothing to do with folk memories of dinosaurs. Instead, it belongs to the sphere of human ritual, particularly initiation ritual. The dragon is a way of representing matrilineal kinship and women's solidarity through menstrual synchrony, a social force often depicted negatively under conditions of patriarchy. Some of the most persuasive evidence for this new interpretation comes from Aboriginal Australia, where stories about a Rainbow Snake are not disembodied myths but are still acted out in ritual performance.

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Chris Knight

Christianity In Anthropological Perspective
Tuesday, June 18, 2019 - 19:00
Daryll Forde Seminar Room, Anthropology Building, 14 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW. Tube: Euston Square. map

Jesus of Nazareth was a revolutionary freedom fighter, leading a mass movement of Jewish resistance against the Roman occupation of his country. After the defeat of his uprising and his capture and crucifixion by the Romans, the memory of 'the Messiah' was preserved by diverse groups of followers. In one of these traditions, that of Saint Paul, the real Jesus became transformed into a sacrificial lamb. As in ancient traditions throughout the world, blessings were believed to flow from the shedding of blood. It is this mythologized 'Lamb of God' who is still revered by Christians today. In this talk, we will explore why the earliest Christian communities were organized along strictly communist lines.