The Position of Myth in Frazer’s Anthropological Theory

نوع مقاله: مقاله پژوهشی

نویسنده

Assistant Professor of Persian Language and Literature, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran

10.22108/liar.2019.119277.1713

چکیده

George James Frazer (1854-1941), the spiritual father of myth-ritual school, was bred up in the British tradition of empiricism. Believing in the evolutionary process of culture, Frazer mainly focused his attention on explaining such epistemic forms of thought as magic, religion and science. Accordingly, while interpreting the processes through which magic leads to religion and finally evolves into science, Frazer noticed the importance of myth and ritual and their position in this process. However, most researchers regard his reasoning in this regard as incoherent and variable. Thus, in this article, the author tries to reconsider the methodology and axioms on which Frazer relies as well as to make clear the position of myth in his anthropological system. The author believes that Frazer’s dual viewpoint about myth’s position results in no way from the attributed incoherency of his thoughts, but in fact his contemplations on intermediate levels, which make possible going from one stage to the other, provides him with an adequate explanation of the position of myth and its relation to ritual. In the end, it is revealed that Frazer thinks of myth as posterior to ritual in the first intermediate level, while prior to ritual in the second intermediate level. Accordingly, analyzing the validity of Frazer’s reasoning as well as his methodological and epistemic viewpoints, the author has put forth a couple of critical suggestion

کلیدواژه‌ها


عنوان مقاله [English]

The Position of Myth in Frazer’s Anthropological Theory

نویسنده [English]

  • Mas’oud Algooneh Juneghani
Assistant Professor of Persian Language and Literature, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran
چکیده [English]

George James Frazer (1854-1941), the spiritual father of myth-ritual school, was bred up in the British tradition of empiricism. Believing in the evolutionary process of culture, Frazer mainly focused his attention on explaining such epistemic forms of thought as magic, religion and science. Accordingly, while interpreting the processes through which magic leads to religion and finally evolves into science, Frazer noticed the importance of myth and ritual and their position in this process. However, most researchers regard his reasoning in this regard as incoherent and variable. Thus, in this article, the author tries to reconsider the methodology and axioms on which Frazer relies as well as to make clear the position of myth in his anthropological system. The author believes that Frazer’s dual viewpoint about myth’s position results in no way from the attributed incoherency of his thoughts, but in fact his contemplations on intermediate levels, which make possible going from one stage to the other, provides him with an adequate explanation of the position of myth and its relation to ritual. In the end, it is revealed that Frazer thinks of myth as posterior to ritual in the first intermediate level, while prior to ritual in the second intermediate level. Accordingly, analyzing the validity of Frazer’s reasoning as well as his methodological and epistemic viewpoints, the author has put forth a couple of critical suggestion

کلیدواژه‌ها [English]

  • Frazer
  • Myth
  • ritual
  • the rules of association
  • intermediate level

References

  1. Ackerman, R. (2002). The Myth and Ritual school: James Frazer and the Cambridge School, London & New York: Routledge.
  2. ------------------ (2005). “James G. Frazer”, cited in Encyclopedia of Religion, editor in chief L. Jones, USA: Thompson Gale.
  3. Berlin, I. (2000). The Power of Ideas, Henry Hardy (ed.), Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.
  4. Bowie, F. (2012). “Anthropology of Religion”, cited in the Guide to Religion, R. Segal, Zandi and M. Haghanifazl (trans.), Qom: University of Religions Press.
  5. Cassirer, E. (1999). Philosophy of Symbolic Forms II, Yadollâh Moughen (trans.), Tehran: Hermes Publishing.
  6. De Vet, Th. (2006). “Sir James Frazer”, cited in Encyclopedia of Anthropology, Vol. 1, H. J. Brix (ed.), London: Sage Publications.
  7. Doty, W. G. (2000). Mythography: The Study of Myths and Rituals, Tuscaloosa and London: University of Alabama Press.
  8. Evans-Pritchard, E. E. (1965). Theories of Primitive Religion, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  9. Frazer, G. J. (2013). The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion, Kazem Firoozmand (trans.), Tehran: Agah.
  10. Frazer, J. G. (2009). The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion, The Floating Press.
  11. Levy-Bruhl, L. (2010). How Native Think?, Yadollâh Moughen (trans.), Tehran: Hermes.
  12. Malinowski, B. (2004). Contemporary Theory of Culture, Manouchehr Farhumand (trans.), Tehran: Office of Cultural Studies.
  13. Mehregan, A. (2006). Epistemological anthropology, Isfahan: Farda.
  14. Meletinsky, E. M. (1998). The Poetics of Myth, New York and London: Routledge.
  15. Nicholls, A. (2015). Myth and the Human Sciences: Hans Blumenberg’s Theory of Myth,London & New York: Routledge.
  16. Nöth, W. (1990). Handbook of Semiotics: Advances in Semiotics, Thomas A. Sebeok (trans.), Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.
  17. Pulse, D. (2010). Seven Theories on Religion, Mohammad Aziz Bakhtiari (trans.), Qom: Imam Khomeini Institute of Education and Research Press.
  18. Segal, R. A. (1997). “The Myth and Ritual Theory: An Overview”, cited in The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy, Vol. 6, pp. 1-18.
  19. ---------------- (2004). Myth: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  20. Thrower, J. (1999). Religion: The Classical Theories, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  21. Vickery, J. B. (1993). “Myth Criticism”, cited in The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, Princeton & New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
  22. Von Hendy, A. (2001). The Construction of Myth, Bloomington & Indianapolis, Indiana University Press.
  23. Wallace, M. (1993). “Metonymy”, cited in The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, Princeton & New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
  24. Wheeler-Barclay, M. (2010). The Science of Religion in Britain 1860-1915, Charlottesville & London: University of Virginia Press.