Course Syllabus

Syllabus #1537
5 credits

Dr. W. Thomas Moore

Full Course Syllabus:  Rel 232 syl 1537.doc



This course is divided into three segments: Myths of Antiquity, Heroes of the Ancient World, and Tales of Kids and Cowboys.  After completing the reading/viewing for each segment, you will be expected to write a paper on some aspect of the material (assignments are located after each segment - you will write on one of the suggested topics).  When you have written all three papers, you will be given a final examination; it will be open book, open note, and in an essay format.


  1. Eliade, Mircea, Myth and Reality,  New York: Harper and Row, 1963

  2. The Book of Exodus from the Bible

  3. Sandars, N.K. trans.,  Gilgamesh, Harmondsworth.  Middlesex, England: Penguin, 1972

  4. Grimm, The Brothers, Household Stories, New York: Dover, 1963 
    (Note: Any edition of these fairy/folk tales is okay, provided the translations have not been “prettied-up.”)

  5. Sproul, Barbara, Primal Myth, New York: Harper and Row, 1979 
    (Note: Though this text is still in print, another option would be Alpha: Myths of Creation, ed. Charles Long.  While all the myths in Primal Myth are not in Alpha, the overlap is adequate.)

  6. Virgil, The Aeneid, trans. Jackson Knight, Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin, 1956 
    (Note: It is not crucial that you use this version, though I find this prose translation more to my liking than those others which try to preserve the original Latin poetry; the poetry, as they say, is what gets lost in translation.)


The textbooks may be obtained online through a price comparison website such as  Plan on purchasing your textbooks early and always be sure you are purchasing the correct edition of the book for this syllabus.


  1. Campbell, Joseph.  The Power of Myth: The Hero’s Journey, The Message of the Myth, The First Story Tellers, Sacrifice and Bliss, Love and the Goddess, and The Masks of Eternity.  (Note: I don’t expect you to buy these tapes, which currently cost over a hundred dollars.  However, this series is widely available at public libraries, video rental outlets, and through universities/ community colleges.  This is also available in book form. )

  2. Ford, John (director).  Stagecoach, She Wore Yellow Ribbon, My Darling Clementine, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Searchers, Cheyenne Autumn. Available for rent from most video outlets.


Read the following works in their entirety:

Eliade, Myth and Reality
Campbell, The Power of Myth
Grimm, Household Stories
Ford:  see any three films

Read the following partial selections:

“Exodus”:  all except 25-31 and 35-40
Virgil, The Aeneid: Books 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 12
Sproul, Primal Myth, read the following:

World Parent Myth:

Krachi: “The Separation of God from Man” (75)
Dharmai: “Before There Was Earth or Sky” (195)
Minyong: “The Separation of Earth and Sky” (196)
Zuni: “The Beginning of Newness” (284)
Babylonian: “The Enuma Elish” (91)

Emergence Myth:

Lipan Apache: The Way of the Indian (260)
Jicarilla Apache: In the Beginning Nothing Was Here (263)
Hopi: The Emergence (268)
Mundurucu: “The People Climbed Out” (313)

Creation from Nothing Myth:

Swahili: Making of the World and Man (37)
Bushongo: Bumba Vomits the World (44)
Genesis 1-2:3 (122); compare to Maori: “The Myth of Io” (344)
Genesis 2: 2-23 (125)
Rig Veda X, cxxix (183)
Aranda: Myth of the Great Father (321)
Egyptian: “History of the Creation. . .” (80)

The Cosmic Egg:

Kalevala: The Birth of Vainamoinen (176)
Brachmanas: Creation from an Egg (184)
From the Chandogya Upanishad (186)
Four Version of the Myth of P’an Ku (201)

Earth-Diver Myth:

Maidu: In the Beginning (237)
Blood: The Creation of Man (244)
Huron: The Making of the World (245)
Cherokee: How the World Was Made (253)

Divine Sacrifice Myth:

From Berossus’ Account. . .(121)
Rig Veda X, xc: The Sacrifice of Primal Man (179)
West Ceram: “The Myth of Hainuwele” (327)


Length:   Papers generally should be 5-7,  typed (double-spaced) pages.  Papers shorter than this must be of superior quality; longer papers will, of course, be accepted.  Indeed, if you become interested in a topic, I encourage you to explore it in greater depth.

Quality of Writing:   Since this is a university course at the sophomore level, the instructor assumes that students know how to write with minimal errors in punctuation and grammar.  Students composing on computer should always use a Spell-Check (if available) as well as proofread the paper for errors in sentence construction.  If possible, have another person proofread the paper prior to submitting it.  Papers which reveal major errors in composition will be sent back to the student for revision before they are accepted.

References:   When you make a point in your paper, you need to substantiate it through reference to the text you are discussing.  You need not quote a passage or line directly (that is, using quotation marks), but you should note the page in the text where your evidence originates.  Remember, if you use outside references (critical commentaries or analyses of your text) you must cite these.  Failure to do so constitutes plagiarizing and is unacceptable.

Bibliography:  You need to cite only the page numbers for references in the required texts; you should, however, provide the full bibliographical reference for any secondary sources you use.  Proper footnote and bibliographical form can be found in the MLA Handbook.  For all papers and the Final Examination, please feel free to do some research to get you going.  The Brief Bibliographies for Myth and Folklore that appears at the end of this course guide will lead you to some traditional resources on these subjects.


Each paper is worth 50 points and the Final Examination is also worth 50 points.

A = 180-200

B = 160-179

C = 140-159

D = 120-139

For those students choosing the pass/fail option for grades, C- is the minimum grade required to achieve a “Pass”.


ALWAYS make a copy of your work BEFORE submitting it.  If lessons are lost, it is far easier to resubmit a copy than to rewrite an entire assignment.  All assignments must be completed in order to receive credit for the course.    Under no circumstances may you submit all, or even most, lessons at one time.  All work must be submitted to the Western Online office in Canvas.

Time Considerations (a helpful message from the Western Online office) – Organize your time so that you spread the work out over 10 or 12 weeks, just like a regular academic quarter.  Treat your Self-paced course as the serious learning experience that it is.  True learning takes time: time for reading, time for processing new information, time for reflection. 

Rushing, compressing your study time, can only harm your academic success.  It is wise to establish a reading and studying calendar as soon as you enroll in this course and then stick to it.  Learn from any common errors you make on your first exam, to improve your performance on subsequent ones.  Think about your paper long before you begin to write, to give yourself an opportunity to seek help from Professor Moore in time to make changes.  Good luck and have a pleasant educational journey.

Remember that grading takes time and our instructors have other classes and students, other obligations.  Therefore, your instructor may not be able to grade assignments instantly, to accommodate your deadline.  Allow time for mailing to and from the Western Online office and also back and forth between our office and your instructor.


For procedural matters, go through the Western Online Office. For specific text or assignment questions, call me at (360) 650-4074 OR you can send email to  You can find out my current office hours by calling the Honors Program office at (360) 650-3034.


Professor Moore received his B.A. in English from Claremont McKenna College.  He went on to earn his M.A. in English and Ph.D. in religion and literature from the University of Chicago.  His teaching experience was gained at Chicago Conservatory College, Whatcom Community College, and Western Washington University, and includes numerous courses in English, philosophy, liberal studies, and seminars for the honors program.  Prior to teaching at Western and Whatcom, Dr. Moore worked as a planner for the Nooksack Indian Tribe and for the Cascade-Islands Community Mental Health Center.  He is a widely published poet and also won first prize for fiction in PEN/National Endowment for the Arts Syndicated Fiction Project in the spring of 1987.

Portrait of Tom Moore

Course Summary:

Date Details Due