The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion (Abridged Edition from Ancient Wisdom Publiction)

The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion (Abridged Edition from Ancient Wisdom Publiction)

by James George Frazer


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THE primary aim of this book is to explain the remarkable rule which regulated the succession to the priesthood of Diana at Aricia. When I first set myself to solve the problem more than thirty years ago, I thought that the solution could be propounded very briefly, but I soon found that to render it probable or even intelligible it was necessary to discuss certain more general questions, some of which had hardly been broached before. In successive editions the discussion of these and kindred topics has occupied more and more space, the enquiry has branched out in more and more directions, until the two volumes of the original work have expanded into twelve.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442139428
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 04/22/2009
Pages: 828
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.64(d)

About the Author

Sir James George Frazer was a Scottish social anthropologist influential in the early stages of the modern studies of mythology and comparative religion.His most famous work, The Golden Bough (1890), documents and details similar magical and religious beliefs across the globe. Frazer posited that human belief progressed through three stages: primitive magic, replaced by religion, in turn replaced by science.

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Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is printed from text-scan. That means they scanned pages of a book, and relied on the computer's ability to recognize the characters scanned. That wouldn't be an issue if the book had an editor, but it doesn't. So what you end up with is a long series of sentences without correct punctuation, capitalization, etc. This book is worthless. Spend an extra dollar and buy the official version of the book, with a picture on the cover. Also, the Footnotes and Endnotes don't match up. So you cannot follow any of the textual prompts to the correct source. Makes the enjoyment of the book impossible.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Golden Bough is required reading for anyone interested in any branch of Occultism, Mysticism, and the Psychic Arts and Sciences. This is heavy duty reading but well worth the effort. It's a standard reference work but should be considered as a textbook, also. Ranks up there with Joseph Campbell, Carl G. Jung, Allen Watts, and Carlos Castanada. This book is a must read.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Foreword compares Frazer and Golden Bough in its impact to such revolutionary thinkers of the 19th Century as Darwin, Marx, and Freud. This seminal work of anthropology and comparative religion first published in 1890 was in fact a great influence on Freud and Jung as well as T.S. Eliot and Yeats and the modern Neopagan movement. Frazer's influence on Joseph Campbell is obvious--he's the original. Frazer tries to argue for the monomyth--the idea that religion and myth can be reduced to a few universal principles and symbols such as sacrifice, scapegoats, the soul and totem and taboo. Taking an ancient Roman custom involving the "King of the Wood" at Nemi as his launching pad, Frazer examined myths and folktales from every part of the world and drew connections to explain, as the subtitle on the cover of my copy put it, "the roots of religion and folklore." His argument seems to be that the origins of religion can be found in a crude science, an attempt to influence the world through sympathetic magic. Although he never attacked Christianity directly in this original edition, I could see how the idea of Jesus as entirely myth could come out of this book. Frazer's examination of vegetation deities, cycles of sowing and reaping and kingly sacrifice and his examination of the myths of Ishtar and Thammuz, Isis and Osiris, Aphrodite and Adonis and spring fertility rites is certainly suggestive. I often found this book tedious, primarily because of Frazer's exhaustive examples--and the edition I read is the original two-volume work--before he, as the Foreword put it, "overburdened the book with volumes of illustrative examples which tended to hide the thread of his argument." (Twelve volumes in fact.) In his pile-on it reminded me of my recent read of the original edition of Darwin's Origin of Species. This was a time when science wasn't yet so technical and specialized as to be unduly esoteric to the layman. So as with Darwin, I think Frazer was aiming his book at both his scientific brethren as well as the layman--thus the exhaustive examples in an effort to prove his theories. However, unlike the case with Darwin, I believe Frazer's examples do more to hide--nay, bury--his argument rather than illustrate it, even in this original more compact edition. More and more I found myself skimming. There is an abridged edition from the author, but my understanding from reviews is that it excised a lot of the more controversial and interesting parts found in the expanded versions, such as a chapter on "The Crucifixion of Christ." Also as with Darwin, who didn't at the time have the advantages of our advances in genetics and geology, I suspect much of the anthropology in Golden Bough is outdated. Especially given that unlike Darwin, who famously conducted many observations in the field and experiments of his own, Frazer seemed to entirely rely on second-hand accounts, mostly by travelers and missionaries. Nor do I entirely buy Frazer's contention that modern peasant customs and folklore represented a continuity with a pagan past.Some may be put off by Frazer's characterization of peoples as "rude" and "savages." To his credit though, Frazer doesn't exempt Europe or Britain in his examples of primitive rituals and superstitions. Given that and the context of the times, I don't as some reviewers do see this book as essentially racist. Frazer notes, "when all is said and done our resemblances to the savage are still far more numerous than our differences from him." This book reminded me, of all things, of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart. That novel is famous as a denunciation of colonialism. But one of the things I took away from Achebe's book was that the Christian missionaries gained adherents because they freed their converts from frightening and oppressive superstitions that propagated slavery, infanticide and human sacrifice. As much as I can see the ugly side of the history of modern monotheistic c
alsatia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
[in process] This book is a must-own if you are a student of 20th century literature, sociology, mythology, or magic. Originally published in a two volume set in 1890, then revised to a 12-volume set in it's third edition, Frazer was one of the first to recognize that myths and folk beliefs across the world shared many similarities and patterns. He collected a vast amount of these beliefs and practices and set them down in this book. People from scholars to crackpots have looked to Frazer to help them try to better understand humanity and our spiritual impulse.
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