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The Belief in Immortality and the Worship of the Dead, Volume I (of 3) The Belief Among the Aborigines of Australia, the Torres Straits Islands, New Guinea and Melanesia   By: (1854-1941)

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THE BELIEF IN IMMORTALITY AND THE WORSHIP OF THE DEAD

by

J. G. FRAZER, D.C.L., LL.D., Litt.D.

Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge Professor of Social Anthropology in the University of Liverpool.

VOL. I

The Belief Among the Aborigines of Australia, the Torres Straits Islands, New Guinea and Melanesia

The Gifford Lectures, St. Andrews 1911 1912

MacMillan and Co., Limited St. Martin's Street, London 1913

Itaque unum illud erat insitum priscis illis, quos cascos appellat Ennius, esse in morte sensum neque excessu vitae sic deleri hominem, ut funditus interiret; idque cum multis aliis rebus; tum e pontificio jure et e caerimoniis sepulchrorum intellegi licet, quas maxumis ingeniis praediti nec tanta cura coluissent nec violatas tam inexpiabili religione sanxissent, nisi haereret in corum mentibus mortem non interitum esse omnia tollentem atque delentem, sed quandam quasi migrationem commutationemque vitae.

Cicero, Tuscul. Disput. i. 12.

TO MY OLD FRIEND

JOHN SUTHERLAND BLACK, LL.D.

I DEDICATE AFFECTIONATELY

A WORK

WHICH OWES MUCH TO HIS ENCOURAGEMENT

PREFACE

The following lectures were delivered on Lord Gifford's Foundation before the University of St. Andrews in the early winters of 1911 and 1912. They are printed nearly as they were spoken, except that a few passages, omitted for the sake of brevity in the oral delivery, have been here restored and a few more added. Further, I have compressed the two introductory lectures into one, striking out some passages which on reflection I judged to be irrelevant or superfluous. The volume incorporates twelve lectures on "The Fear and Worship of the Dead" which I delivered in the Lent and Easter terms of 1911 at Trinity College, Cambridge, and repeated, with large additions, in my course at St. Andrews.

The theme here broached is a vast one, and I hope to pursue it hereafter by describing the belief in immortality and the worship of the dead, as these have been found among the other principal races of the world both in ancient and modern times. Of all the many forms which natural religion has assumed none probably has exerted so deep and far reaching an influence on human life as the belief in immortality and the worship of the dead; hence an historical survey of this most momentous creed and of the practical consequences which have been deduced from it can hardly fail to be at once instructive and impressive, whether we regard the record with complacency as a noble testimony to the aspiring genius of man, who claims to outlive the sun and the stars, or whether we view it with pity as a melancholy monument of fruitless labour and barren ingenuity expended in prying into that great mystery of which fools profess their knowledge and wise men confess their ignorance.

J. G. FRAZER. Cambridge, 9th February 1913.

CONTENTS

Dedication

Preface

Table of Contents

Lecture I. Introduction

Natural theology, three modes of handling it, the dogmatic, the philosophical, and the historical, pp. 1 sq. ; the historical method followed in these lectures, 2 sq. ; questions of the truth and moral value of religious beliefs irrelevant in an historical enquiry, 3 sq. ; need of studying the religion of primitive man and possibility of doing so by means of the comparative method, 5 sq. ; urgent need of investigating the native religion of savages before it disappears, 6 sq. ; a portion of savage religion the theme of these lectures, 7 sq. ; the question of a supernatural revelation dismissed, 8 sq. ; theology and religion, their relations, 9; the term God defined, 9 sqq. ; monotheism and polytheism, 11; a natural knowledge of God, if it exists, only possible through experience, 11 sq. ; the nature of experience, 12 sq. ; two kinds of experience, an inward and an outward, 13 sq. ; the conception of God reached historically through both kinds of experience, 14; inward experience or inspiration, 14 sq... Continue reading book >>


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