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Myth, Ritual and Religion — Volume 1

Myth, Ritual and Religion — Volume 1

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Published by Dusty Deal

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Published by: Dusty Deal on Sep 08, 2011
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05/12/2014

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MYTH, RITUAL, AND RELIGIONby Andrew LangVolume OneCONTENTSPREFACE TO NEW IMPRESSION.PREFACE TO NEW EDITION.CHAPTER I. -- SYSTEMS OF MYTHOLOGY.Definitions of religion--Contradictory evidence--"Belief inspiritual beings"--Objection to Mr. Tylor's definition--Definitionas regards this argument--Problem: the contradiction betweenreligion and myth--Two human moods--Examples--Case of Greece--Ancient mythologists--Criticism by Eusebius--Modern mythological1
 
systems--Mr. Max Muller--Mannhardt.CHAPTER II. -- NEW SYSTEM PROPOSED.Chapter I. recapitulated--Proposal of a new method: Science ofcomparative or historical study of man--Anticipated in part byEusebius, Fontenelle, De Brosses, Spencer (of C. C. C., Cambridge),and Mannhardt--Science of Tylor--Object of inquiry: to findcondition of human intellect in which marvels of myth are parts ofpractical everyday belief--This is the savage state--Savagesdescribed--The wild element of myth a survival from the savagestate--Advantages of this method--Partly accounts for wideDIFFUSION as well as ORIGIN of myths--Connected with generaltheory of evolution--Puzzling example of myth of the water-swallower--Professor Tiele's criticism of the method--Objections to method, and answer to these--See Appendix B.CHAPTER III. -- THE MENTAL CONDITION OF SAVAGES--CONFUSION WITHNATURE--TOTEMISM.The mental condition of savages the basis of the irrational elementin myth--Characteristics of that condition: (1) Confusion of allthings in an equality of presumed animation and intelligence;(2) Belief in sorcery; (3) Spiritualism; (4) Curiosity; (5) Easycredulity and mental indolence--The curiosity is satisfied, thanksto the credulity, by myths in answer to all inquiries--Evidence forthis--Mr. Tylor's opinion--Mr. Im Thurn--Jesuit missionaries'Relations--Examples of confusion between men, plants, beasts and2
 
other natural objects--Reports of travellers--Evidence frominstitution of totemism--Definition of totemism--Totemism inAustralia, Africa, America, the Oceanic Islands, India, North Asia--Conclusions: Totemism being found so widely distributed, is a proofof the existence of that savage mental condition in which no lineis drawn between men and the other things in the world. Thisconfusion is one of the characteristics of myth in all races.CHAPTER IV. -- THE MENTAL CONDITION OF SAVAGES--MAGIC--METAMORPHOSIS--METAPHYSIC--PSYCHOLOGY.Claims of sorcerers--Savage scientific speculation--Theory ofcausation--Credulity, except as to new religious ideas--"Post hoc,ergo propter hoc"--Fundamental ideas of magic--Examples:incantations, ghosts, spirits--Evidence of rank and otherinstitutions in proof of confusions of mind exhibited in magicalbeliefs.CHAPTER V. -- NATURE MYTHS.Savage fancy, curiosity and credulity illustrated in nature myths--In these all phenomena are explained by belief in the generalanimation of everything, combined with belief in metamorphosis--Sunmyths, Asian, Australian, African, Melanesian, Indian, Californian,Brazilian, Maori, Samoan--Moon myths, Australian, Muysca, Mexican,Zulu, Macassar, Greenland, Piute, Malay--Thunder myths--Greek andAryan sun and moon myths--Star myths--Myths, savage and civilised,of animals, accounting for their marks and habits--Examples of3

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