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While highly influential in its day, The Golden Bough has come under harsh critical scrutiny in subsequent decades, with many of its descriptions of regional folklore and legends deemed less than reliable. Furthermore, much of its tone is rooted in a philosophy of social Darwinism--sheer cultural imperialism, really--that finds its most explicit form in Frazer's rhetorical question: "If in the most backward state of human society now known to us we find magic thus conspicuously present and religion conspicuously absent, may we not reasonably conjecture that the civilised races of the world have also at some period of their history passed through a similar intellectual phase?" (The truly civilized races, he goes on to say later, though not particularly loudly, are the ones whose minds evolve beyond religious belief to embrace the rational structures of scientific thought.) Frazer was much too genteel to state plainly that "primitive" races believe in magic because they are too stupid and backwards to know any better; instead he remarks that "a savage hardly conceives the distinction commonly drawn by more advanced peoples between the natural and the supernatural." And he certainly was not about to make explicit the logical extension of his theories--"that Christian legend, dogma, and ritual" (to quote Robert Graves's summation of Frazer in The White Goddess) "are the refinement of a great body of primitive and barbarous beliefs." Whatever modern readers have come to think of the book, however, its historical significance and the eloquence with which Frazer attempts to develop what one might call a unifying theory of anthropology cannot be denied. --Ron Hogan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I'm somewhat skeptic about the contents of the because it uses Western lens to construct ideas about Easterners. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Kelly_9015
It's a text on the development of superstition through human history. The little buttons they had me push to get to this don't at all apply, ignore the responses I had to... Read morePublished 12 days ago by Oligonicella
Yes, this is the abridged version, but it still is over 15k locations in the study of ancient ritual and magical practices. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Jetpack
This is an incredible compilation of myth and magic around the world. it's an indispensable resource.Published 1 month ago by Elizabeth H. Wood
Very interesting book but dense. Love Frazer's approach even if it's a bit dated.Published 1 month ago by Jason Treadway
What else can I say except this is a classic - a treasure-trove of beliefs, rituals and traditions of "Magic" and "Religion" (and wherever the twain, and medicine,... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Seplaire
One of the best compilation on the subjects ever put together.Published 2 months ago by Rosemary Safran