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Introduction by Robert Nisbet

INTRODUCTION

subject  of our study : religious sociology and the theory of knowledge

I.—Principal subject of the book : analysis of the simplest religion known. to determine the elementary forms of the religious life—Why they are more easily found and explained in the primitive religions

II.—Secondary subject of research: the genesis of the fundamental notions of thought or the categories—Reasons for believing that their origin is religious and consequently social—How a way of restating the theory of knowledge is thus seen .

BOOK I

PRELIMINARY QUESTIONS

CHAPTER I

definition of religious phenomena and of religion

Usefulness of a preliminary definition of religion; method to be followed in seeking this definition—Why the usual definitions should be examined first

Religion defined by the supernatural and mysterious—Criticism: the notion of mystery is not primitive

 I.— Religion defined in connection with the idea of God or a spiritual being……………….

II.—Religions without gods—Rites in deistic religions which imply no idea of divinity…….

III.—Search for a positive definition—Distinction between beliefs and rites—Definition of beliefs—First characteristic: division of things between sacred and profane—Distinctive characteristics of this definition—Definition of rites in relation to beliefs—Definition of religion ……….

IV.—Necessity of another characteristic to distinguish magic from religion—The idea of the Church—Do individualistic religions exclude the idea of a Church ? ……………………………….

CHAPTER II

leading conceptions of the elementary religion

I.—Animism

Distinction of animism and naturism

I.—The three theses of animism : Genesis of the idea of the soul; Forma­tion of the idea of spirits ; Transformation of the cult of spirits into the cult of nature. ………………………………48

[XV]

II.—Criticism of the first thesis—Distinction of the idea of the soul from that of a double—Dreams do not account for the idea of the soul    ……………………………………..……………55

III.—Criticism of the second thesis—Death does not explain the trans­formation of a soul into a spirit—The cult of the souls of the dead is not primitive …………………………………...60

IV.—Criticism of the third thesis—The anthromoporphic instinct— Spencer's criticism of it; reservations on this point—Examination of the facts by which this instinct is said to be proved—Difference between a soul and the spirits of nature—Religious anthropomorphism is not primitive………………………………………………………………………………………………… 65

V.—Conclusion : animism reduces religion to nothing more than a system of hallucinations ……………………………………………………………………………………………………...68

CHAPTER III

leading conceptions of the elementary religion—(continued} II.—Nafurism History of the theory ………………………………………………………………………………………..71

I.—Exposition of Max Miiller's naturism  …………………………………………………73

II.—If the object of religion is to express natural forces, it is hard to see how it has maintained itself, for it expresses them in an erroneous manner—Pretended distinction between religion and mythology  …………………………………………………………………………………….78

III.—Naturism does not explain the division of things into sacred and

profane    …………………………………………………………………………………...84

CHAPTER IV

totemism AS AN elementary religion

I.—Brief history of the question of totemism ……………………………………………..88

II.—Reasons of method for which oar study will be given specially to the totemism of Australia—The place which will be given to facts from America   ……………………………………93

BOOK II

THE ELEMENTARY BELIEFS

CHAPTER I totemic beliefs The Totem as Name and as Emblem

I.—Definition of the clan—The totem as name of the clan—Nature of the things which serve as totems—Ways in which the totem is acquired —The totems of phratries ; of matrimonial classes ……………………………………………………………………………………………..102

II.—The totem as emblem—Totemic designs engraved or carved upon

objects; tattooings or designs upon the body ……………………………………………...113

III.—Sacred character of the totemic emblem—The churinga—The

nurtunja—The waninga—Conventional character of totemic emblems…………………. 119

CHAPTER II totemic beliefs—(continued)

The Totemic Animal and Man

I.—Sacred character of the totemic animals—Prohibition to eat them, kill them or pick the totemic plants—Different moderations given these prohibitions—Prohibition of contact—The sacred character of the animal is less marked than that of the emblem  …………………………….128

II.—The man—His relationship with the totemic animal or plant— Different myths explaining this relationship—The sacred character of the man is more apparent in certain parts of the organism : the blood, hair, etc.—How this character varies with sex and age— Totemism is not plant or animal worship  ………………………………………………………………………………..134

CHAPTER III totemic beliefs—(continued) The Cosmological System of Totemism and the Idea of Class

I.—The classification of things into clans, phratries and classes …………………………141

II.—Genesis of the notion of class : the first classifications of things take their forms from society—Differences between the sentiment of the differences of things and the idea of class—Why this is of social origin…………………………………………………………………………….. 144

III.—Religious significance of these classifications: all of the things classified into a clan partake of the nature of the totem and its sacred character—The cosmological system of totemism—Totemism as the tribal religion   ……………………………………………………………148

CHAPTER IV totemic beliefs—(end} The Individual Totem and the Sexual Totem

I.—Individual totem as a forename ; its sacred character—Individual totem as personal emblem—Bonds between the man and his indi­vidual totem—Relations with the collective totem ...157

II.—The totems of sexual groups—Resemblances and differences with the

collective and individual totems—Their tribal nature ……………………………………165

CHAPTER V

origins of these beliefs

Critical Examination of Preceding Theories

I.—Theories which derive totemism from a previous religion : from the ancestor cult (Wilken and Tyior) ; from the nature cult (Jevons)— Criticism of these theories………………...168

II.—Theories which derive collective totemism from individual totemism— Origins attributed by these theories to the individual totem (Frazer, Boas, Hill Tout)—Improbability of these hypotheses—Reasons showing the priority of the collective totem………………………………… 172

III.—Recent theory of Frazer : conceptions! and local totemism—The begging of the question upon which it rests—The religious character of the totem is denied—Local totemism is not primitive …………………………………………………………………………………………..180

IV.—Theory of Lang: that the totem is only a name—Difficulties in explaining the religious character of totemic practices from this point of view ……………………………………………184

V.—All these theories explain totemism only by postulating other religious

notions anterior to it ………………………………………………………………………186

CHAPTER VI

origins of these beliefs—(continued) The Notion of the Totemic Principle, or Mana, and the Idea of Force

I.—The notion of the totemic force or principle—Its ubiquity—Its character at once physical and moral ……………………...…………………………………………………………………..188

[XVI]

II.—Analogous conceptions in other inferior societies—The gods in Samoa, the wakan of the Sioux, the orenda of the Iroquios, the mana of Melanesia—Connection of these notions with totemism—The Arun-kulta of the Arunta…………………………………………………………191

III.—Logical priority of impersonal force over the different mythical personalities—Recent theories which tend to admit this priority …………………………………………………………198

IV.—The notion of religious force is the prototype of that of force in general …………..203

CHAPTER VII origins of these beliefs—{end) Origin of the Idea of the Totemic Principle or Mana

I.—The totemic principle is the clan, but thought of under a more empirical form ……....205

II.—General reasons for which society is apt to awaken the sensation of the sacred and the divine—Society as an imperative moral force; the notion of moral authority—Society as a force which raises the indi­vidual outside of himself—Facts which prove that society creates the sacred………..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……….……..206

III.—Reasons peculiar to Australian societies—The two phases through which the life of these societies alternatively passes : dispersion, con­centration—Great collective effervescence during the periods' of concentration—Examples—How the religious idea is bom out of this effervescence Why collective force has been thought of under totemic forms : it is the totem that is the emblem of the clan—Explanation of the principal totemic beliefs……..……..……..…….……..……..……..…….……..……..……..…….……..……………214

IV.—Religion is not the product of fear—It expresses something real—Its essential idealism—This idealism is a general characteristic of collective mentality—Explanation of the external character of religious forces in relation to their subjects—The principle that the part is equal to the whole……………………………………………………………………………………………….………..219

V.—Origin of the notion of emblem : emblems a necessary condition of collective representations—Why the clan has taken its emblems from the animal and vegetable kingdoms……….223

VI.—The proneness of the primitive to confound the kingdoms and classes which we distinguish—Origins of these confusions—How they have blazed the way for scientific explanations—They do not exclude the tendency towards distinction and opposition ……………………….

CHAPTER VIII

the idea OF THE soul

I.—Analysis of the idea of the soul in the Australian societies …………………………...240

II.—Genesis of this idea—The doctrine of reincarnation according to Spencer and Gillen : it implies that the soul is a part of the totemic principle—Examination of the facts collected by Strehlow ; they confirm the totemic nature of the soul  …………………………………………..246

III.—Generality of the doctrine of reincarnation—Diverse facts in support

of the proposed genesis  …………………………………………………………………..256

IV.—Antithesis of the soul and the body : what there is objective in this— Relations of the individual soul with the collective soul—The idea of the soul is not chronologically after that of mana ………………………………………………………………………………………………262

V.—Hypothesis to explain the belief in its survival .. ……………………………………267

VI.—The idea of a soul and the idea of a person : impersonal elements in the personality …………………………………………………………………………………………..…………269

CHAPTER IX the idea of spirits and Gons

I.—Difference between a soul and a spirit—The souls of the mythical ancestors are spirits, having determined functions—Relations between the ancestral spirit, the individual soul and the individual totem— Explanation of this latter—Its sociological significance …………………….273

II.—Spirits and magic   …………………………………………………………………...281

III.—The civilizing heroes ………………………………………………………………..283

IV.—The great gods—Their origin—Their relations with the totemic system—Their tribal and international character …………………………………………………………………..……285

V.—Unity of the totemic system …………………………………………………………295

BOOK III

THE PRINCIPAL RITUAL ATTITUDES

CHAPTER I

the negative cult AND ITS functions тие ascetic rites

I.—The system of interdictions—Magic and religious interdictions— Interdictions between sacred things of different sorts—Interdictions between sacred and profane—These latter are the basis of the negative cult—Leading types of these interdictions ; their reduction to two essential types   ……………………………………………………………………………………………………..299

II.—The observance of interdictions modifies the religious state of indivi-viduals—Cases where this efficacy is especially apparent: ascetic practices—The religious efficacy of sorrow—Social function of asceticism ……………………………………………………………………...309

III.—Explanation of the system of interdictions : antagonism of the

saered and the profane, contagiousness of the sacred …………………………………….317

IV.—Causes of this contagiousness—It cannot be explained by the law» of the association of ideas—It is because religious forces are outside of their subjects—Logical interest in this property of religious forces …………………………………………………………………………….321

CHAPTER II the positive cult I.—The Elements of Sacrifice

The Intichiuma ceremony in the tribes of Central Australia—Different forms which it presents ………………………………………………………………………………………………326

I.—The Arunta Form—The two phases—Analysis of the first: visit to sacred places, scattering of sacred dust, shedding of blood, etc., to assure the reproduction of the totemic species …...327

II.—Second phase : ritual consumption of the totemic plant or animal ………………….333

III.—Interpretation of the complete ceremony—The second rite consists in a communion meal—Reason for this communion  ………………………………………………………………336

IV.—The rites of the first phase consist in oblations—Analogies with sacrificial oblations—The Intichiuma thus contains the two elements of sacrifice—Interest of these facts for the theory of sacrifice …………………………………………………………………………………………...340

V.—On the pretended absurdity of sacrificial oblations—How they are explained : dependence of sacred beings upon their worshippers— Explanation of the circle in which sacrifice seems to move—Origin of the periodicity of positive rites ……………………………………………..344

[XVIII]

CHAPTER III the positive cult—(continued) II.—Imitative Rites and the Principle of Causality

I.—Nature of the imitative rites—Examples of ceremonies where they are employed to assure the fertility of the species……………………………………………………………………..351

II.—They rest upon the principle : like produces like—Examination of the explanation of this given by the anthropological school—Reasons why they imitate the animal or plant—Reasons for attributing a physical efficacy to these gestures—Faith—In what sense it is founded upon experience—The principles of magic are born in religion ……………………………………..……355

III.—The preceding principle considered as one of the first statements of the principle of causality—Social conditions upon which this latter depends—The idea of impersonal force or power is of social origin— The necessity for the conception of causality explained by the authority inherent in social imperatives . ……………………………………………………………………361

CHAPTER IV the positive cult—(continued) III.—Representative or Commemorative Rites

I.—Representative rites with physical efficacy—Their relations with the ceremonies already described—Their action is wholly moral …………………………………………………….…..371

II.—Representative rites without physical efficacy—They confirm the preceding results—The element of recreation in religion : its impor­tance ; its reason for existence—The idea of a feast

III.—Ambiguity of function in the various ceremonies studied ; they substitute themselves for each other—How this ambiguity confirms the theory proposed……………………………...376

CHAPTER V

piacular rites AND THE ambiguity OF THE notion OF sacredness

Definition of the piacular rite ……………………………………………………………..383

I.—Positive rites of mourning—Description of these rites………………………………..389

II.—How they are explained—They are not a manifestation of private sentiments—The malice attributed to the souls of the dead cannot account for them either—They correspond to the state of mind in which the group happens to be—Analysis of this state—How it ends by mourning—Corresponding changes in the way in which the souls of the dead are conceived…………..390

III.—Other piacular rites; after a public mourning, a poor harvest, a drought, the southern lights—Rarity of these rites in Australia— How they are explained………………………………396

IV.—The two forms of the sacred: the pure and the impure—Their antagonism—Their relationship—Ambiguity of the idea of the sacred—All rites present the same character……………403

CONCLUSION

To what extent the results obtained may be generalized .

I.—Religion rests upon an experience that is well founded but not privileged—Necessity of a science to reach the reality at the bottom of this experience—What is this reality ?—The human groups— Human meaning of religion—Concerning the objection which opposes the ideal society to the real society How religious individualism and cosmopolitanism are explained in this theory………………………………………..……………………………………………………..…415

II.—The eternal element in religion—Concerning the conflict between science and religion ; it has to do solely with the speculative side of religion—What this side seems destined to become.. …………………………………………………………………………………………………….426

III.—How has society been able to be the source of logical, that is to say conceptual, thought ? Definition of the concept: not to be con­founded with the general idea ; characterized by its impersonality and communicability—It has a collective origin—The analysis of its contents bears witness in the same sense—Collective representations as types of ideas which individuals accept—In regard to the objection that they are impersonal only on condition of being true—Con­ceptual thought is coeval with humanity………………………………………………………….432

IV.—How the categories express social things—The chief category is the concept of totality which could be suggested only by society_Why the relations expressed by the categories could become conscious only in society—Society is not an a. logical being—How the categories tend to detach themselves froir- geographically determined groups…………………………………………………………………………………………….440

The unity of science on the one hand, and of morals and religion on the other—How the society accounts for this unity—Explanation of the role attributed to society : its creative power—Reactions of sociology upon the science of man

Index……..………………………………………………………………………………451