Introduction to the Digital Edition
This text was prepared for digital publication by David Badke in May, 2008. It wasscanned from the original text. The text of this paper was later included as chapterVII of Volume II of Frazer’s
Folk-lore in the Old Testament
, published in 1919.
: Sir James George (J G) Frazer (1854–1941), was a Scottish socialanthropologist influential in the early stages of the modern studies of mythology andcomparative religion. His most famous work,
The Golden Bough
(1890), documentsand details similar magical and religious beliefs across the globe. Frazer posited thathuman belief progressed through three stages: primitive magic, replaced by religion,in turn replaced by science. He studied at the University of Glasgow and TrinityCollege, Cambridge, where he graduated with honors in Classics (his dissertationwould be published years later as
The Growth of Plato's Ideal Theory
) and remaineda Classics Fellow all his life. He went on from Trinity to study law at the MiddleTemple and yet never practised. He was four times elected to Trinity's Title AlphaFellowship, and was associated with the college for most of his life, except for ayear, 1907-1908, spent at the University of Liverpool. He was knighted in 1914. Hewas, if not blind, then severely visually impaired from 1930 on. He and his wife,Lily, died within a few hours of each other. They are buried at the Ascension ParishBurial Ground in Cambridge, England. The study of myth and religion became hisareas of expertise. Except for Italy and Greece, Frazer was not widely traveled. Hisprime sources of data were ancient histories and questionnaires mailed tomissionaries and Imperial officials all over the globe. Frazer's interest in socialanthropology was aroused by reading E. B. Tylor's Primitive Culture (1871) andencouraged by his friend, the biblical scholar William Robertson Smith, who waslinking the Old Testament with early Hebrew folklore. (
adapted from Wikipedia
: The original printed text by J. G. Frazer (1854–1941) as published in theProceedings of the British Academy, Volume VIII is believed to be in the publicdomain under Canadian copyright law. It is also believed to be in the public domainunder the copyright law of the United Kingdom and the United States of America. If you believe that you have a legal claim on the original text, contact the editor of thedigital edition at email@example.com with details of your claim. This digitaledition is copyright 2008 by David Badke. Permission is hereby granted for anynoncommercial use, provided that this Introduction is included with all copies; forcommercial use, please contact the editor at the above email address.