THE GOLDEN BOUGH. Sir James Frazer. The Golden Bough describes our ancestors' primitive methods of worship, sex practices, strange rituals and festivals. The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Golden Bough (Vol. 1 of. 2) by James George Frazer. This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no. The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion (Third Edition, Vol. 5 of 12) by James. George Frazer.
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The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion. It attempts to define the shared elements of. The Golden Bough. a study of magic and religion. Sir James George Frazer. Abridged Edition. The text derives from the abridged edition. This web edition. Author: Frazer James George Title: The golden bough: A study of magic and religion Year: Link download.
No one who has seen that calm water, lapped in a green hollow of the Alban hills, can ever forget it.
The two characteristic Italian villages which slumber on its banks, and the equally Italian palace whose terraced gardens descend steeply to the lake, hardly break the stillness and even the solitariness of the scene.
Diana herself might still linger by this lonely shore, still haunt these woodlands wild. In antiquity this sylvan landscape was the scene of a strange and recurring tragedy.
On the northern shore of the lake, right under the precipitous cliffs on which the modern village of Nemi is perched, stood the sacred grove and sanctuary of Diana Nemorensis, or Diana of the Wood.
The lake and the grove were sometimes known as the lake and grove of Aricia. But the town of Aricia the modern La Riccia was situated about three miles off, at the foot of the Alban Mount, and separated by a steep descent from the lake, which lies in a small crater-like hollow on the mountain side.
In this sacred grove there grew a certain tree round which at any time of the day, and probably far into the night, a grim figure might be seen to prowl.
In his hand he carried a drawn sword, and he kept peering warily about him as if at every instant he expected to be set upon by an enemy. He was a priest and a murderer; and the man for whom he looked was sooner or later to murder him and hold the priesthood in his stead.
Such was the rule of the sanctuary. A candidate for the priesthood could only succeed to office by slaying the priest, and having slain him, he retained office till he was himself slain by a stronger or a craftier. Frazer based his thesis on the pre-Roman priest-king at the fane of Nemi , who was ritually murdered by his successor: When I first put pen to paper to write The Golden Bough I had no conception of the magnitude of the voyage on which I was embarking; I thought only to explain a single rule of an ancient Italian priesthood.
Aftermath, p. McTaggart , had both suggested to him that Hegel had anticipated his view of "the nature and historical relations of magic and religion".
Frazer saw the resemblance as being that "we both hold that in the mental evolution of humanity an age of magic preceded an age of religion, and that the characteristic difference between magic and religion is that, whereas magic aims at controlling nature directly, religion aims at controlling it indirectly through the mediation of a powerful supernatural being or beings to whom man appeals for help and protection.
Critics thought this treatment invited an agnostic reading of the Lamb of God as a relic of a pagan religion.
For the third edition, Frazer placed his analysis of the Crucifixion in a speculative appendix; the discussion of Christianity was excluded from the single-volume abridged edition. Lienhardt himself dismissed Frazer's interpretations of primitive religion as "little more than plausible constructs of [Frazer's] own Victorian rationalism", while Ludwig Wittgenstein , in his Remarks on Frazer's Golden Bough , wrote: "Frazer is much more savage than most of his 'savages' [since] his explanations of [their] observances are much cruder than the sense of the observances themselves.
Among them the most notable perhaps is the custom formerly observed in Bunyoro of choosing every year from a particular clan a mock king, who was supposed to incarnate the late king, cohabited with his widows at his temple-tomb, and after reigning for a week was strangled. That festival in its turn has lately received fresh light from certain Assyrian inscriptions, which seem to confirm the interpretation which I formerly gave of the festival as a New Year celebration and the parent of the Jewish festival of Purim.
Other recently discovered parallels to the priestly kings of Aricia are African priests and kings who used to be put to death at the end of seven or of two years, after being liable in the interval to be attacked and killed by a strong man, who thereupon succeeded to the priesthood or the kingdom. With these and other instances of like customs before us it is no longer possible to regard the rule of succession to the priesthood of Diana at Aricia as exceptional; it clearly exemplifies a widespread institution, of which the most numerous and the most similar cases have thus far been found in Africa.
How far the facts point to an early influence of Africa on Italy, or even to the existence of an African population in Southern Europe, I do not presume to say. The pre-historic historic relations between the two continents are still obscure and still under investigation. Whether the explanation which I have offered of the institution is correct or not must be left to the future to determine.
I shall always be ready to abandon it if a better can be suggested. Meantime in committing the book in its new form to the judgment of the public I desire to guard against a misapprehension of its scope which appears to be still rife, though I have sought to correct it before now. If in the present work I have dwelt at some length on the worship of trees, it is not, I trust, because I exaggerate its importance in the history of religion, still less because I would deduce from it a whole system of mythology; it is simply because I could not ignore the subject in attempting to explain the significance of a priest who bore the title of King of the Wood, and one of whose titles to office was the plucking of a bough —the Golden Bough— from a tree in the sacred grove.
But I am so far from regarding the reverence for trees as of supreme importance for the evolution of religion that I consider it to have been altogether subordinate to other factors, and in particular to the fear of the human dead, which, on the whole, I believe to have been probably the most powerful force in the making of primitive religion.
I hope that after this explicit disclaimer I shall no longer be taxed with embracing a system of mythology which I look upon not merely as false but as preposterous and absurd.