Item 199 - Copy letter from R. R. Marett to J. G. Frazer

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Add. MS b/36/199


Copy letter from R. R. Marett to J. G. Frazer


  • c 1947-c 1955 (Creation)

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Exeter College, Oxford. Dated May 13, 1911 - Will certainly try to get [John] Roscoe to lecture at Oxford, and asks if the lecture series is being paid for by the Church Missionary Society, as he would otherwise have to set about raising money at once; replies to Frazer's letter about his lecture ['The Birth of Humility'] and his interpretation of Robertson Smith's views of the order in which ritual and dogma appear, reviewing what Robertson Smith believed about dogma, that it was theory or reasoned belief, and disagrees with Frazer's statement that 'savage ritual ... [bears] the imprint of reflexion and purpose ... as clearly as any actions of civilised men' in that both types of religion are not equally reflexive, and that the 'savage ritual' is unreflective; states that he is vigorous in his counter-argument because he is up against 'a giant'; he, [William] McDougall, and [Lucien] Lévy-Bruhl have been trying to emphasise the mobbish character of primitive religion and religious life; closes by saying he thinks the field has a crying need for criticism.

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Published in Ackerman, Robert, ed. 'Selected Letters of Sir J. G. Frazer'. Oxford: Oxford University Press, [2005].

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