Divine Roles Across Cultures

Divine Roles Across Cultures

Part I 

Select one common divine role that recurs in world mythology.

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Possible options of divine roles include the following: father or mother divinities, divinities of war, home or hearth divinities, divinities of love, divinities of wisdom, divinities of medicine or health, divinities of the wind, divinities of agriculture, divinities of the sky, ruler of all the gods, and so on.

Identify the role in the title of the table, e.g., Creation Deities

Select two myths, each from a different culture, in which the divine role appears. Identify the divinity names and cultures in columns A and B.

Complete the table by answering each of the five questions for both selected divinities.

Table Title: Column A Divinity Name: Culture of Origin: Column B Divinity Name: Culture of Origin: 1. How is this divinity portrayed? Describe the divinity’s role within the myth. 2. Is the divinity male or female? What function does this gender play? 3. What are the divinity’s attributes, such as divine powers or characteristics? What objects does the divinity possess, such as a weapon or animal, that assist him or her? 4. Within the myth of origin, how does this divinity compare with other divinities? How does this divinity interact with or compare to divinities of the same gender and to divinities of the opposite gender? 5. Identify by name one character from contemporary culture (e.g. Superman, Cinderella, etc.) that shares characteristics of each divinity and explain why you chose each character. What real-life ideals does this divine role represent? How attainable are these ideals?

Part II

Write a 150- to 350-word short essay addressing the following: Why do so many cultures have divinities filling the same type of roles? Yes, there are differences, but why, for example, do so many cultures have a divinity who’s involved in creation? A deity associated with the underworld? Etcetera.


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