chapter  1
Pages 4

During the nineteenth century, at the height of liberal rationalism, the practice of looking upon myths and metaphors as substitutions for genuine events enjoyed a great vogue. It would be wrong to dismiss the substitution theories as the products of an age of positivistic rationalism, now passed. The initial observation that myth is metaphor is right; but that the inference that metaphors are superfluous is wrong. The argument that ritual is prior to myth may explain myths, but it does not offer a solution of the problem why substitutions should take place. The Myth and Ritual School, whatever its merits, like the straight substitution theories, has to fall back upon the notion that primitive people are not observant and are unable to reason clearly. In its weaker form, the theory may be true enough, but it does not explain anything at all. The appreciation of typology and the possibility of an alternative interpretation offered.