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Mythology is a collection of myths, especially one belonging to a particular religious or cultural tradition of a group of people–their collection of stories they tell to explain nature, history, and customs<ref>Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd ed. "myth, n. Oxford University Press (Oxford), 2003.</ref>–or the study of such myths.<ref name="Kirk-p8">Kirk, p. 8; "myth", Encyclopedia Britannica</ref>

As a collection of such stories, mythology is a vital feature of every culture. Various origins for myths have been proposed, ranging from personification of nature, personification of natural phenomena to truthful or hyperbolic accounts of historical events, to explanations of existing ritual. Although the term is complicated by its implicit condescension, mythologizing is not just an ancient or primitive practice, as shown by contemporary mythopoeia such as urban legends and the expansive fictional mythoi created by fantasy novels and comics. A culture's collective mythology helps convey belonging, shared and religious experience, behavioural models, and moral and practical lessons.

The study of myth dates back to antiquity. Rival classifications of the Greek myths by Euhemerus, Plato's Phaedrus, and Sallustius were developed by the Neoplatonists and revived by Renaissance mythographers. Nineteenth-century comparative mythology reinterpreted myth as a primitive and failed counterpart of science (E. B. Tylor), a "disease of language" (Max Müller), or a misinterpretation of magical ritual (James Frazer).

Some recent approaches have rejected a conflict between the value of myth and rational thought, often viewing myths, rather than being merely inaccurate historical accounts, as expressions for understanding general psychological, cultural or societal truths.

Mythology sections
Intro  Etymology  Terminology  Origins  Functions of myth  Study of mythology  Modern mythology  See also  Notes  References   Journals about mythology   [[Mythology?section=</a>_Books_|</a> Books ]]  Further reading  External links  

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