I hope I'm posting this thread on the right board; it concerns education (which is mentioned under the Family Life description) so I think this is the best place to post it.
Anyway, I have a cousin who is currently enrolled in a humanities class at a U.S. public school. One of the books that the teacher has assigned them to read is The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell. In the book, Campbell claims that worship of a Mother Goddess came before that of the Abrahamic God, and that the Mother Goddess was eliminated as societies grew more paternalistic. In addition, he argues that images of Mary and Jesus are based on those of Isis and Horus. Moreover, Campbell claims that Isis, who turned into a swan at one point, was a precursor to the Holy Ghost, and that Osiris, Horus and Isis were forerunners to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Also, he says that Luke, a Greek, was the only Evangelist who mentioned the Virgin Birth, which came from Greek Myth (Campbell lists Leda and Swan and Persephone and Hades as examples). Furthermore, he insists that Mary is a goddess in Catholicism and that she was given the title "Mother of God" at the First Council of Ephesus due to pressure from the Ephesians, who wanted to continue worshipping Diana.
Now, I was surprised that this book was being taught in schools, considering its inaccuracies. Being an avid reader of Greek Mythology in my youth, I immediately noticed that Campbell's examples were not virgin births at all (Leda being raped by Zeus in Swan form, Hades capturing Persephone and later having sex with her). As far as him claim about Luke goes, we mustn't forget that the virgin birth is mentioned in the Gospel According to Matthew, and that it is based off of Isaiah 7:14. The comparisons between Mary and Isis and the Egyptian gods with the Trinity also seemed to be overgeneralized. However, I do not know too much in regards to Campbell's claim about the Council of Ephesus, so can anyone tell me if Campbell is telling any bit of truth about that?
Now, aside from teaching Campbell in class, I found out something else about the class that disturbed me a bit. The class was given a handout which basically said the same things about the Goddess (came before God, suppressed, revived at First Council of Ephesus under pressure). I managed to find the handout on the internet.
The handout comes from "The Mystica: An on-line encyclopedia of the occult, mysticism, magic, paranormal and more..." The site has many articles, which seem to mostly concern Wiccan/Neopagan beliefs. The website itself seems sketchy and not too credible, and I certainly do not find it to be a valid source. The thing that bothers me the most is that the teacher is presenting the content the article and Campbell's book as being historical fact. Has the teacher crossed the line? Are my cousin and his classmates being taught false history? Should this material even be taught as fact in a public school?
Thanks in advance for any input regarding this subject matter.