Joseph J. Campbell (1904 – 1987) was an American mythologist, perhaps best known for his PBS miniseries, The Power of Myth, based on his book of the same name and another book titled The Hero with a Thousand Faces. He also served as an influence on George Lucas' Star Wars franchise.
Joseph Campbell was born in 1904 to a conservative, Catholic family in White Plains, New York. He remained a political conservative throughout his life. However, his books and other writings show him to have been an atheist as an adult. His books use questionable academic tactics and relativism in an attempt argue against the factual accuracy of Christian scripture.
In 1938, Joseph Campbell married Jean Erdman, to whom he remained married for the remainder of his life.
Joseph Campbell wrote extensively on mythic structure, identifying themes and plot elements common to hundreds of myths from many different world cultures. Perhaps his most widely-read book, which is required reading in universities across the world, is The Hero with a Thousand Faces. In this book, he examines the "human impulse to create stories and images that, though they are clothed in the motifs of a particular time and place, draw nonetheless on universal, eternal themes."
He achieved widespread recognition with his PBS miniseries, "The Power of Myth."
- Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1973.