The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by the Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer. The work was aimed at a wide literate audience raised on tales as told in such publications as Thomas Bulfinch's The Age of Fable, or Stories of Gods and Heroes. Frazer offered a modernist approach to discussing religion, treating it dispassionately as a cultural phenomenon rather than from a theological perspective. The influence of The Golden Bough on contemporary European literature and thought was substantial. The Golden Bough attempts to define the shared elements of religious belief to scientific thought, discussing fertility rites, human sacrifice, the dying god, the scapegoat and many other symbols and practices whose influence has extended into twentieth-century culture. Its thesis is that old religions were fertility cults that revolved around the worship and periodic sacrifice of a sacred king. Frazer proposed that mankind progresses from magic through religious belief to scientific thought. This thesis was developed in relation to J. M. W. Turner's painting of The Golden Bough, a sacred grove where a certain tree grew day and night. It was a transfigured landscape in a dream-like vision of the woodland lake of Nemi, "Diana's Mirror", where religious ceremonies and the "fulfillment of vows" of priests and kings were held. The king was the incarnation of a dying and reviving god, a solar deity who underwent a mystic marriage to a goddess of the Earth. He died at the harvest and was reincarnated in the spring. Frazer claims that this legend of rebirth is central to almost all of the world's mythologies.
For some time I have been preparing a general work on primitive superstition and religion. Among the problems which had attracted my attention was the hitherto unexplained rule of the Arician priesthood; and last spring it happened that in the course of my reading I came across some facts which, combined with others I had noted before, suggested an explanation of the rule in question. As the explanation, if correct, promised to throw light on some obscure features of primitive religion, I resolved to develop it fully, and, detaching it from my general work, to issue it as a separate study. This book is the result. Now that the theory, which necessarily presented itself to me at first in outline, has been worked out in detail, I cannot but feel that in some places I may have pushed it too far. If this should prove to have been the case, I will readily acknowledge and retract my error as soon as it is brought home to me. Meantime my essay may serve its purpose as a first attempt to solve a difficult problem, and to bring a variety of scattered facts into some sort of order and system. A justification is perhaps needed of the length at which I have dwelt upon the popular festivals observed by European peasants in spring, at midsummer, and at harvest. It can hardly be too often repeated, since it is not yet generally recognised, that in spite of their fragmentary character the popular superstitions and customs of the peasantry are by far the fullest and most trustworthy evidence we possess as to the primitive religion of the Aryans. Indeed the primitive Aryan, in all that regards his mental fibre and texture, is not extinct. He is amongst us to this day. The great intellectual and moral forces which have revolutionised the educated world have scarcely affected the peasant. In his inmost beliefs he is what his forefathers were in the days when forest trees still grew and squirrels played on the ground where Rome and London now stand.
The primary aim of this book is to explain the remarkable rule which regulated the succession to the priesthood of Diana at Aricia. When I first set myself to solve the problem more than thirty years ago, I thought that the solution could be propounded very briefly, but I soon found that to render it probable or even intelligible it was necessary to discuss certain more general questions, some of which had hardly been broached before. In successive editions the discussion of these and kindred topics has occupied more and more space, the enquiry has branched out in more and more directions, until the two volumes of the original work have expanded into twelve. Meantime a wish has often been expressed that the book should be issued in a more compendious form. This abridgment is an attempt to meet the wish and thereby to bring the work within the range of a wider circle of readers. While the bulk of the book has been greatly reduced, I have endeavoured to retain its leading principles, together with an amount of evidence sufficient to illustrate them clearly. The language of the original has also for the most part been preserved, though here and there the exposition has been somewhat condensed. In order to keep as much of the text as possible I have sacrificed all the notes, and with them all exact references to my authorities. Readers who desire to ascertain the source of any particular statement must therefore consult the larger work, which is fully documented and provided with a complete bibliography.
This original, provocative study, first published in 1973, presents a new method of interpretation of mythology, and reveals the wide-ranging implications of this universal phenomenon for many disciplines. The volume begins with a sympathetic but critical examination of Lévi-Strauss’s interpretation of mythology. Professor Munz points out the deficiencies in structuralist interpretations, and takes Lévi-Strauss’s neglect of the historicity of all myths as a starting-point for an alternative approach to mythology. Myths, he argues, come in typological series. If the whole series is read forward to the most specific version, the myths will reveal their inherent meaning typologically.
Sir James George Frazer (1854-1941) caught the popular imagination with his vast and enterprising comparative study of the beliefs and institutions of mankind, which in its third edition numbered 12 volumes. Reissued here is Frazer's own single-volume abridgement of 1922.
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The authoritative 1890 edition with an introduction by Cairns Craig and Frazer’s own afterword. Published originally in two volumes in 1890, this extraordinary study of primitive myth and magic led Scottish anthropologist J.G. Frazer to identify parallel patterns of ritual, symbols and belief across many centuries and many different cultures. His observations on the mysteries of fertility and death, and the rites of the sacrificial king who must die to save his people, overturned much of contemporary intellectual thinking, not least because of the enlightening or ‘heretical’ parallels it suggested with the Christian religion. Frazer’s elegant and authoritative style, and the breadth of his learning inspired a whole generation of ethnographers and comparative anthropologists, and had a particularly powerful effect on many other thinkers and writers such as Sigmund Freud, D.H. Lawrence, Joyce, Yeats and T.S. Eliot. This definitive volume includes the unabridged original 1890 edition as well as several essays and lectures by Frazer. ‘Frazer’s work has epic scale yet mesmerizing fineness of detail. We see the great structures of civilization forming and melting against a background of elemental mystery. The effect is cinematic and sublime.’ Camille Paglia
The Golden Spruce is the story of a glorious natural wonder, the man who destroyed it, and the fascinating, troubling context in which his act took place. A tree with luminous glowing needles, the golden spruce was unique and, biologically speaking, should never have reached maturity; Grant Hadwin, the man who cut it down, was passionate, extraordinarily well-suited to wilderness survival, and to some degree unbalanced. But as John Vaillant shows, the extraordinary tree stood at the intersection of contradictory ways of looking at the world; the conflict between them is one reason it was destroyed. Taking in history, geography, science and spirituality, this book raises some of the most pressing questions facing society today. The golden spruce stood in the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii), an unusually rich ecosystem where the normal lines between species blur. Without romanticizing, Vaillant shows that this understanding is typified by the Haida, the native people who have lived there for millennia, and for whom the golden spruce was an integral part of their history and mythology. But seen a different way, the golden spruce stood in block 6 of Tree Farm License 39. Grant Hadwin had worked as a remote scout for timber companies. But over time Hadwin was pushed into a paradox: the better he was at his job, the more the world he loved was destroyed. On January 20, 1997, with the temperature near zero, Hadwin swam across the Yakoun River with a chainsaw. He tore into the golden spruce, leaving it so unstable that the first wind would push it over. A few weeks later, Hadwin set off in a kayak across the treacherous Hecate Strait to face court charges. He has not been heard from since. Vaillant describes Hadwin’s actions in engrossing detail, but also provides the complex environmental, political and economic context in which they took place. The Golden Spruce forces one to ask: can the damage our civilization exacts on the natural world be justified?
Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.
Magic has been an important term in Western history and continues to be an essential topic in the modern academic study of religion, anthropology, sociology, and cultural history. Defining Magic is the first volume to assemble key texts that aim at determining the nature of magic, establish its boundaries and key features, and explain its working. The reader brings together seminal writings from antiquity to today. The texts have been selected on the strength of their success in defining magic as a category, their impact on future scholarship, and their originality. The writings are divided into chronological sections and each essay is separately introduced for student readers. Together, these texts - from Philosophy, Theology, Religious Studies, and Anthropology - reveal the breadth of critical approaches and responses to defining what is magic. CONTRIBUTORS: Aquinas, Augustine, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Dennis Diderot, Emile Durkheim, Edward Evans-Pritchard, James Frazer, Susan Greenwood, Robin Horton, Edmund Leach, Gerardus van der Leeuw, Christopher Lehrich, Bronislaw Malinowski, Marcel Mauss, Agrippa von Nettesheim, Plato, Pliny, Plotin, Isidore of Sevilla, Jesper Sorensen, Kimberley Stratton, Randall Styers, Edward Tylor
This classic four-volume series-from a pioneering ethnographer, first published in 1910-remains a foundational work of comparative mythology and religion for scholars and armchair anthropologists alike. Exploring the interconnections between myth and ritual in how and whom we may marry-as group marriage gave way to individual marriage-questions about religion and social structure became intertwined. In any case, this is a fascinating look at the social underpinnings common to all peoples around the globe. Volume II continues Frazer's ethnographic survey of totemism, here covering totemism in the South Pacific, India, and Africa. Scottish anthropologist SIR JAMES GEORGE FRAZER (1854-1941) also wrote the classic The Golden Bough (1890), Man, God, and Immortality (1927), and Creation and Evolution in Primitive Cosmogonies (1935).
First Published in 2002. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
Bachelorarbeit aus dem Jahr 2009 im Fachbereich Philosophie - Philosophie des 20. Jahrhunderts / Gegenwart, Note: 5, Universität Bern (Institut für Philosophie), Sprache: Deutsch, Abstract: In seiner Einleitung zu "The Golden Bough" sagt Robert Fraser über das Buch, es sei gleichzeitig eines der meist gekauften und am meisten missverstandenen Bücher der Weltliteratur. "The Golden Bough" wird von vielen als Meilenstein in der (Sozial-)Anthropologie, ja in der Wissenschaft überhaupt, angesehen. Noch nie zuvor hatte ein Wissenschaftler ein so umfassendes Werk (12 Bände in der ungekürzten Fassung!) zu Studien über die Magie und die Religion hervorgebracht, wie Sir James Frazer im Jahr 1890. Doch war es vor mehr als hundert Jahren keineswegs ungefährlich ein solches Buch zu verfassen, v.a. in einer Zeit, in der das „taboo“ noch ein viel höheres Ansehen in Gesellschaft und Religion genoss. Daher hatte "The Golden Bough" von Beginn her – nebst der Kirche – viele Kritiker, aber auch solche, welche die Implikationen des Buches aufgenommen, überarbeitet und weitergeführt haben. Ein für die Philosophie prominenter Kritiker ist Ludwig Wittgenstein. Kurz nach seiner Rückkehr nach Cambridge (1929), wo er seine philosophischen Lehren wieder aufnahm, liess er sich aus The Golden Bough vorlesen. Zwar kannte er erst einige Kapitel des Buches, doch verfasste etwa ein Jahr später Kommentare zu einigen Textstellen, unter anderem zur Bedeutung der Ausführung ritueller Praktiken wie das von Frazer beschriebene Beltane-Fest in Schottland und übrigen Teilen Nord-Europas. Die Arbeit gibt zunächst einen sozial-historischen Hintergrund zur Entstehung von "The Golden Bough", um sich dann dem Hauptziel der Untersuchung zuzuwenden: Darstellung der Rezeption und Kritik durch Wittgenstein.
17 Essays from 'The North American Review', 'The Idler' and other magazines, written by Andrew Lang.
This is a fully annotated edition of selected letters by (and in some cases to) Sir J. G. Frazer (1854-1941), the eminent anthropologist, classicist, and historian of religion. Frazer was read by virtually everyone working in those fields in the first third of the twentieth century. His great work, The Golden Bough, offered a grand vision of humanity's mental and spiritual evolution - from vain attempts to compel the gods to do our bidding (which Frazer called magic) through equally vain attempts to propitiate the gods through prayer and sacrifice (his characterization of religion) to rationality and science. His richly varied correspondence with prominent figures such as Edmund Gosse, A. E. Housman, and Bronislaw Malinowski, among others, offers an unparalleled insight into British intellectual life of the time, and also throws light upon the composition of The Golden Bough itself.