Cohen’s Main Points

What is Cohen’s main points?

History and Myth are different:

Cohen wrote, “the past treated as a myth is fundamentally different from the past treated as history” (213).

  • The historian’s primary job is to reconstruct the past
  • Mythologizers primary focus is to bring up political, ideological, and emotional needs (213)

What is truth?

Cohen wrote, “if the belief is deeply enough held, it comes, on some level, “true”…” (212)

  • There is a lot of debate whether past events are true of not
  • I think Cohen is expression even though we live in modern times we cannot just dismiss the past as false
  • There can be difference on perspective on what we believe to be true and the people who experience think is true

Mythologization uses many different forms to show their past

Cohen wrote, “found in poetry, drama, fiction, art, and film dealing with historical subject matter” (216)

  • this is a powerful to because it can show the people of the past personal emotions and thoughts on the event
  • can create a positive or negative on the public

A problem with Myth is the past can changed to fit the meaning (238):

Cohen wrote, “portrayed the Boxers as loyal, righteous, and patriotic” (239)

  • The Boxer Rebellion can be used as a positive or negative event depending on the message a person or group wants to get across
  • I think this ties back into one of Cohen’s first points about how history and myth are different
  • The myth can changed to fit the meaning but history will try to reconstruct the event with evidence and facts
  • Whether that historian likes the event or the people the historian will still show the facts

It’s hard to demythologize the past

Cohen wrote, “the cleaning of the frescoes on the ceiling of the sistine chapel dispossessed art lovers permanently of a Michelangelo they had know…” (211)

  • I think an important point is it is hard to take the myth out of the past
  • Myths are tied to people’s emotions and thoughts on the event
  • Ex: The spirit Boxers had many first hand accounts of the young boys who were possessed
  • We are quick nowadays to dismiss this claim because it isn’t true to us however to some people this is real




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