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RELIGION

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Originally appearing in Volume V23, Page 65 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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RELIGION. The origin of the Latin word religio or relligio has been the subject of discussion since the time of Cicero. Two alternative derivations have been given, viz. from relegere, to gather together, and religare, to bind back, fasten. Relegere meant to gather together, collect, hence to go over- a subject again in thought, from re and legere, to collect together, hence to read, collect at a glance. This view is that given by Cicero (Nat. Deor. ii. 28, 72). He says: " Qui omnia quae ad cultum deorum pertinerent diligenter retractarent et tanquam relegerent, sunt dicti religiosi ex relegendo," " men were called `religious ' from relegere, because they reconsidered carefully and, as it were, went over again in thought all that appertained to the worship of the gods." He compares elegantes from eligere, diligentes from diligere, and continues, " his enim in verbis omnibus inest vis legendi eadem quae in religioso." This view is supported by the form of the word in the verse quoted by Gellius (iv. 9), " religentem esse oportet, religiosum nefas," and by the use of the Greek 6M-yew, to pay heed to, frequently with a negative, in the sense of the Latin negligere (nec-legere), cf. Oeaw (new o1JK i&?d'yo'm (Homer, Il. xvi. 388), heeding not the visitation of the gods, or of; yap K?,cXw1rer Rios . . . IrXcyovtnv (Od. ix. 275). The alternative derivation, from religare, to fasten, bind, is that adopted by Lactantius (Inst. iv. 28), "Vinculo pietatis obstricti, Deo religati sumus unde ipsa religio nomen cepit. " He quotes in support the line from Lucretius (i. 931), " religiosum nodis animos exsolvere." Servius (on Virgil, Aen. viii. 349) and St Augustine (Retract. i. 13) also take religare as the source of the word. It is one that has certainly coloured the meaning of the word, particularly in that use which restricts it to the monastic life with its binding rules. It also has appealed to Christian thought. Liddon (Some Elements of Religion, Lecture I. 19) says: " Lactantius may be wrong in his etymology, but he has certainly seized the broad popular sense of the word when he connects it with the idea of an obligation by which man is bound to an invisible God." Archbishop Trench (Study of Words) supposed that when " religion " became equivalent to the monastic life, and " religious " to a monk, the words lost their original meaning, but the Ancren Riwle, ante 1225, and the Cursor Mundi use the words both in the general and the more particular sense (see quotations in the New English Dictionary), and both meanings can be found in the Imitatio Christi and in Erasmus's Colloquia. (X.) The study of the forms of belief and worship belonging to different tribes, nations or religious communities has only recently acquired a scientific foundation. The Greek historians early directed their attention to the ideas and customs of the peoples with whom they were brought into contact; and Herodotus has been called the " first anthropologist of religion." Theopompus described the Persian dualism in the 4th century B.C., and when Megasthenes was ambassador to the court of Chandragupta, 302 B.C., he noted the religious usages of the middle Ganges valley. The early Christian Fathers recorded many a valuable observation of the Gentile faiths around them from varying points of view, sympathetic or hostile; and Eusebius and Epiphanius, in the 4th century A.D., attributed to the librarian of Ptolemy Philadelphus the design of collecting the sacred books of the Ethiopians, Indians, Persians, Elamites, Babylonians, Assyrians, Romans, Phoenicians, Syrians and Greeks. The Mahommedan Biruni (b. A.D. 973) compared the doctrines of the Greeks, Christians, Jews, Manichaeans and Sufis with the. philosophies and religions of India. Akbar (1542-1605) gathered Brahmans and Zoroastrians, Jews, Christians and Mahommedans at his court, and endeavoured to get translations of their scriptures. In the next century the Persian author of the Dabistan exhibited the doctrines of no less than twelve religions and their various sects. Meanwhile the scholars of the West had begun to work. Thomas Hyde (1636-1703) studied the religion of the ancient Persians; John Spencer (1630-1693) analysed the laws of the Hebrews; and Lord Herbert of Cherbury (De Religione Gentilium, 1645) endeavoured to trace all religions back to five " truly Catholic truths " of primitive faith, the first being the existence of God. The doctrine of a primeval revelation survived in various forms for two centuries, and appeared as late as the Juventus Mundi of W. E. Gladstone (1868, p. 207 ff.). David Hume, on the other hand, based his essay on The Natural History of Religion (1757) on the conception of the development of human society from rude beginnings, and all modern study is frankly founded on the general idea of Evolution.' The materials at Hume's command, however, were destined to vast and speedy expansion. The Jesuit missionaries had already been at work in India and China, and a brilliant hand of English students, led by Sir William Jones and H. T. Colebrooke, began to make known the treasures of Sanskrit literature, which the great scholars of Germany and France proceeded to develop. In Egypt the discovery of the Rosetta stone placed the key to the hieroglyphics within Western reach; and the decipherment of the cuneiform character enabled the patient scholars of Europe to recover the clues to the contents of the ancient libraries of Babylonia and Assyria. With the aid of inscriptions the cults of Greece and Rome have been largely reconstructed. Travellers and missionaries reported the beliefs and usages of uncivilized tribes in every part of the world, with the result that " ethnography knows no race devoid of religion, but only differences in the degree to which religious ideas have developed " (Ratzel, History of Mankind, i. 40). Meanwhile philosophy was at work on the problem of the religious consciousness. The great series of German thinkers, Lessing, Herder, Kant, Hegel, Fichte, Schleiermacher and their ' This does not, of course, preclude the possibility of degeneration in particular instances.successors, sought to explain religion by means of the phenomena of mind, and to track it to its roots in the processes of thought and feeling. While ethnography was gathering up the facts from every part of the globe, psychology began to analyse the forms of belief, of action and emotion, to discover if possiole the key to the multitudinous variety which history revealed. From the historical and linguistic side attention was first fixed upon the myth, and the publication of the ancient hymns of the Rig Veda led Max Muller to seek in the common elements of Aryan thought for the secrets of primitive religion (essay on Comparative Mythology, 1856). The phenomena of day and night, of sunshine and storm, and other aspects of nature, were invoked by different interpreters to explain the conceptions of the gods, their origins and their relations. Fresh materials were gathered at the same time out of European folk-lore; the work begun by the brothers Grimm was continued by J. W. E. Mannhardt, and a lower stratum of beliefs and rites began to emerge into view beneath the poetic forms of the more developed mythologies. By such preliminary labours the way was prepared for the new science of anthropology. Since the appearance of Dr E. B. Tylor's classical treatise on Primitive Culture (1871), the study of the origins of religion has been pursued with the utmost zeal. Comte had already described the primitive form of the religious consciousness as that in which man conceives of all external bodies as animated by a life analogous to his own (Philos. Positive, tome v., 1841, p. 30). This has been since designated as polyzoism or panthelism or panvitalism,' and represents the obscure undifferentiated groundwork out of which Tylor's Animism arises. Many are the clues by which it has been sought to explain the secret of primitive religion. Hegel, before the anthropological stage, found it in magic. Max Muller, building on philosophy and mythology, affirmed that " Religion consists in the perception of the infinite under such manifestations as are able to influence the moral character of man " (Natural Religion, 1899, p. 188). Herbert Spencer derived all religion from the worship of the dead (Principles of Sociology, i.), like Grant Allen, and Lippert .in Germany. Mr Andrew Lang, on the other hand, supposes that belief in a supreme being came first in order of evolution, but was afterwards thrust into the background by belief in ghosts and lesser divinities (Magic and Religion, 1901, p. 224).3 Dr. Jevons finds the primitive form in totemism (Introd. to the History of Religion, 1896, chap. ix.). Mr J. G. Frazer regards religion (see his definition quoted below) as superposed on an antecedent stage of magic. In The Tree of Life (1905), Mr E. Crawley interprets it by the vital instinct, and connects its first manifestations with the processes of the organic life. The veteran Wilhelm Wundt (Mythus and Religion, ii. 1906, p. 177) recurs to the primitive conceptions of the soul as the source of all subsequent development. The origin of religion, however, can never be determined archaeologically or historically; it must be sought conjecturally through psychology. (J. E. C.) A. PRIMITIVE RELIGION There is a point at which the History of Religion becomes in its predominant aspect a History of Religions. The conditions that we describe by the comprehensive term " civilization " occasion a specification and corresponding differentiation of the life of societies; whence there result competing types of culture, each instinct with the spirit of propagandism and, one might almost say, of empire. It is an age of conscious selection as between ideal systems. Instead of necessitating a wasteful and precarious elimination of inadequate customs by the actual destruction of those who practise them—this being the method of natural selection, which, like some Spanish Inquisition, abolishes the heresy by wiping out the heretics one and all—progress now becomes possible along the more direct and less 2 Comte's own term " fetishism " was most unfortunately misleading (see FETISHISM). Marett proposed the term " Animatism," Folk Lore (1900), xi. p. 171 3 See his treatise on The Making of Religion (1898), and Hartland's article on " The ' High Gods ' of Australia," Folk Lore (1898), ix. p. 290. painful path of conversion. The heretic, having developed powers of rational choice, perceives his heresy, to wit, his want of adaptation to the moral environment, and turning round embraces the new faith that is the passport to survival. Far otherwise is it with man at the stage of savagery—the stage of petty groups pursuing a self-centred life of inveterate custom, in an isolation almost as complete as if they were marooned on separate atolls of the ocean. Progress, or at all events change, does indeed take place, though very slowly, since the most primitive savage we know of has his portion of human intelligence, looks after and before, nay, in regard to the pressing needs of every day shows a quite remarkable shrewdness and resource. Speaking generally, however, we must pronounce him unprogressive, since, on the whole, unreflective in regard to his ends. It is the price that must be paid for social discreteness and incoherency. And the consequence of this atomism is not what a careless thinker might be led to assume, extreme diversity, but, on the contrary, extreme homogeneity of culture. It has been found unworkable, for instance, to classify the religions of really primitive peoples under a plurality of heads, as becomes necessary the moment that the presence of a distinctive basis of linked ideas testifies to the individuality of this or that type of higher creed. Primitive religions are like so many similar beads on a string; and the concern of the student of comparative religion is at this stage mainly with the nature of the string, to wit, the common conditions of soul and society that make, say, totemism, or taboo, very much the same thing all the savage world over, when we seek to penetrate to its essence. This fundamental homogeneity of primitive culture, however, must not be made the excuse for a treatment at the hands of psychology and sociology that dispenses with the study of details and trusts to an a priori method. By all means let universal characterization be attempted—we are about to attempt one here, though well aware of the difficulty in the present state of our knowledge—but they must at least model themselves on the composite photograph rather than the impressionist sketch. An enormous mass of material, mostly quite in the raw, awaits reduction to order on the part of anthropological theorists, as yet a small and ill-supported body of enthusiasts. Under these circumstances it would be premature to expect agreement as to results. In regard to method, however, there is little difference of opinion. Thus, whereas the popular writer abounds in wide generalizations on the subject of primitive humanity, the expert has hitherto for the most part deliberately restricted himself to departmental investigations. Religion, for example, seems altogether too vast a theme for him to embark on, and he usually prefers to deal with some single element or aspect. Again, origins attract the litterateur; he revels in describing the transition from the pre-religious to the religious era. But the expert, confining his attention to the known savage, finds him already religious, nay, encumbered with religious survivals of all kinds; for him, then, it suffices to describe things as they now are, or as they were in the comparatively recent fore-time. Lastly, there are many who, being competent in some other branch of science, but having small acquaintance with the scientific study of human culture, are inclined to explain primitive ideas and institutions from without, namely by reference to various external conditions of the mental life of peoples, such as race, climate, food-supply and so on. The anthropological expert, on the other hand, insists on making the primitive point of view itself the be-all and end-all of his investigations. The inwardness of savage religion—the meaning it has for those who practise it—constitutes its essence and meaning likewise for him, who after all is a man and a brother, not one who stands really outside. In what follows, then, we shall, indeed, venture to present a wholesale appreciation of the religious idea as it is for primitive man in general; but our account will respect the modern anthropological method that bids the student keep closely to the actualities of the religious experience of savages, as it can with reasonable accuracy be gathered from what they do and say. We have sought to render only the spirit of primitive religion, keeping clear both of technicalities and of departmental investigations. These are left to the separate articles bearing on the subject. There the reader will find the most solid results of recent anthropological research. Here is he merely offered a flimsy thread that, we hope, may guide him through the maze of facts, but alas! is only too likely to break off short in his hand. Definition of Primitive Religion.—In dealing with a development of culture that has no immutable essence, but is intrinsically fluid and changing, definition must consist either in a definition of type, which indicates prevalence of relevant resemblance as between specimens more or less divergent, or in exterior definition, which delimits the field of inquiry by laying down within what extreme limits this divergence holds. Amongst the numberless definitions of religion that have been suggested, those that have been most frequently adopted for working purposes by anthropologists are Tylor's and Frazer's. Dr E. B. Tylor in Primitive Culture (I), i. 424, proposes as a " minimum definition" of religion " the belief in spiritual beings." Objections to this definition on the score of incompleteness are, firstly, that, besides belief, practice must be reckoned with (since, as Dr W. Robertson Smith has made clear in his Lectures on the Religion of the Semites, 18 sqq., ritual is in fact primary for primitive religion, whilst dogma and myth are secondary); secondly, that the outlook of such belief and practice is not exclusively towards the spiritual, unless this term be widened until it mean next to nothing, but is likewise towards the quasi-material, as will be shown presently. The merit of this definition, on the other hand, lies in its bilateral form, which calls attention to the need of characterizing both the religious attitude and the religious object to which the former has reference. The same form appears in Dr J. G. Frazer's definition in The Golden Bough (end ed.), i. 63. He understands by religion " a propitiation or conciliation of powers superior to man which are believed to direct and control the course of nature and of human life." He goes on to explain that by " powers" he means " conscious or personal agents." It is also to be noted that he is here definitely opposing religion to magic, which he holds to be based on the (implicit) assumption " that the course of nature is determined, not by the passions or caprice of personal beings, but by the operation of immutable laws acting mechanically." His definition improves on Tylor's in so far as it makes worship integral to the religious attitude. By regarding the object of religion as necessarily personal, however, he is led to exclude much that the primitive man undoubtedly treats with awe and respect as exerting a mystic effect on his life. Further, in maintaining that the powers recognized by religion are always superior to man, he leaves unclassed a host of practices that display a bargaining, or even a hectoring, spirit on the part of those addressing them (see PRAYER). Threatening or beating a fetish cannot be brought under the head of magic, even if we adopt Frazer's principle (op. cit. i. 64) that to constrain or coerce a personal being is to treat him as an inanimate agent; for such a principle is quite inapplicable to cases of mere terrorism, whilst it may be doubted if it even renders the sense of the savage magician's typical notion of his modus operandi, viz. as the bringing to bear of a greater mana or psychic influence (see below) on what has less, and must therefore do as it is bidden. Such definitions, then, are to be accepted, if at all, as definitions of type, selective designations of leading but not strictly universal features. An encyclopaedic account, however, should rest rather on an exterior definition which can serve as it were to pigeon-hole the whole mass of significant facts. Such an exterior definition is suggested by Mr E. Crawley in The Tree of Life, tog, where he points out that " neither the Greek nor the Latin language has any comprehensive term for religion, except in the one teat, and in the other sacra, words which are equivalent to `sacred.' No other term covers the whole of religious phenomena, and a survey of the complex details of various worships results in showing that no other conception will comprise the whole body of religious facts." It may be added that we have here no generalization imported from a higher level of culture, but an idea or blend of ideas familiar to primitive thought. An important consequence of thus giving the study of primitive religion the wide scope of a comparative hierology is that magic is no longer divorced fi out religion, since the sacred will now be found to be . oextensive with the magicoreligious, that largely undifferentiated plasm out of which religion and magic slowly take separate shape as society comes more and more to contrast legitimate with illicit modes of dealing with the sacred: We may define, then, the religious object as the sacred, and the corresponding religious attitude as consisting in such manifestation of feeling, thought and action in regard to the sacred as is held to conduce to the welfare of the community or to that of individuals considered as members of the community. Aspects of the Nature of the Sacred.—To exhibit the general character of the sacred as it exists for primitive religion it is simplest to take stock of various aspects recognized by primitive thought as expressed in language. If some, and not the least essential, of these aspects are quasi-negative, it must be remembered that negations—witness the Unseen, the Unknown, the Infinite of a more advanced theology—are well adapted to supply that mystery on which the religious consciousness feeds with the slight basis of conceptual support it needs. (I) The sacred as the forbidden. The primitive notion that perhaps comes nearest to our " sacred," whilst it immediately underlies the meanings of the Latin sacer and Sanctus, is that of a taboo, a Polynesian term for which equivalents can be quoted from most savage vocabularies. The root idea seems to be that something is marked off as to be shunned, with the added hint of a mystic sanction or penalty enforcing the avoidance. Two derivative senses of a more positive import call for special notice. On the one hand, since that which is tabooed is held to punish the taboo-breaker by a sort of mystic infection, taboo comes to stand for uncleanness and sin. On the other hand, since the isolation of the sacred, even when originally conceived in the interest of the profane, may be interpreted as self-protection on the part of the sacred as against defiling contact, taboo takes on the connotation of ascetic virtue, purity, devotion, dignity and blessedness. Primary and secondary senses of the term between them cover so much ground that it is not surprising to find taboo used in Polynesia as a name for the whole system of religion, founded as it largely is on prohibitions and abstinences. (2) The sacred as the mysterious. Another quasi-negative notion of more restricted distribution is that of the mysterious or strange, as we have it expressed, for example, in the Siouan wakan, though possibly this is a derivative meaning. Meanwhile, it is certain that what is strange, new or portentotis is regularly treated by all savages as sacred. (3) The sacred as the 'secret. The literal sense of the term churinga, applied by the Central Australians to their sacred objects, and likewise used more abstractly to denote mystic power, as when a man is said to be " full. of churinga," is " secret," and is symptomatic of the esotericism that is a striking mark of Australian, and indeed of all primitive, religion, with its insistence on initiation, its exclusion of women, and its strictly enforced reticence concerning traditional lore and proceedings. (4) The sacred as the potent. Passing on to positive conceptions of the sacred, perhaps the most fundamental is that which identifies the efficacy of sacredness with such mystic or magical power as is signified by the mana of the Pacific or orenda of the Hurons, terms for which analogies are forthcoming on all sides. Of mana Dr R. H. Codrington in The Melanesians, 119 n., writes: " It essentially belongs to personal beings to originate it, though it may act through the medium of water, or a stone, or a bone. All Melanesian religion consists .. . in getting this mana for oneself, or getting it used for one's benefit." E. Tregear's Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary shows how the word and its derivatives are used to express thought, memory, emotion, desire, will—in short, psychic energy of all kinds. It also stands for the vehicle of the magician's energy—the spell; which would seem like-wise to be a meaning, perhaps the root-meaning, of orenda (cf. J. N. B. Hewitt, American Anthropologist, N.S., iv. 40). Whereas everything, perhaps, has some share of indwelling potency, whatever is sacred manifests this potency in an extra-ordinary degree, as typically the wonder-working leader of society, whose mana consists in his cunning and luck together. Altogether, in mana we have what is par excellence the primitive religious idea in its positive aspect, taboo representing its negative side, since whatever has mana is taboo, and what-ever. is taboo has mana. (3) The sacred as the animate. The term " animism," which embodies Tylor's classical theory of primitive religion, is unfortunately somewhat ambiguous. If we take it strictly to mean the belief in ghosts or spirits having the " vaporous materiality " proper to the objects of dream or hallucination, it is certain that the agency of such phantasms is not the sole cause to which all mystic happenings are referred (though ghosts and spirits are everywhere believed in, and appear to be endowed with greater predominance as religious synthesis advances amongst primitive peoples). Thus t),iere is good evidence to show that many of the early gods, notably those that are held to be especially well disposed to man, are conceived rather in the shape of magnified non-natural men dwelling somewhere apart, such as the Munganngaur of the Kurnai of S.E. Australia (cf. A. Lang, The Making of Religion 2, x. sqq.). Such anthropomorphism is with difficulty reduced to the Tylorian animism. The term, however, will have to. be used still more vaguely, if it is to cover all attribution of personality, will or vitality. This can be more simply brought under the notion of mana. Mean-while, since quasi-mechanical means are freely resorted to in dealing with the sacred, as when a Maori chief snuffs up the sanctity his fingers have acquired by touching his own sacred head that he may restore the virtue to the part whence it was taken (R. Taylor, Te Ika a Maui, 165), or when uncleanness is removed as if it were a physical secretion by washing, wiping and so forth, it is hard to say whether what we should now call a " material " nature is not ascribed to the sacred, more especially when its transmissibility after the manner of a contagion is the trait that holds the attention. It is possible, however, that the savage always distinguishes in a dim way between the material medium and the indwelling principle of vital energy, examples of a pure fetishism, in the sense of the cult of the purely material, recognized as such, being hard to find. (6) The sacred as the ancient. The prominence of the notion of the Alcheringa " dreamtime," or sacred past, in Central Australian religion illustrates the essential connexion perceived by the savage to lie between the sacred and the traditional. Ritualistic conservatism may be instanced as a practical outcome of this feeling. Another development is ancestor-worship, the organized cult of ancestors marking, however, a certain stage of advance beyond the very primitive, though the dead are always sacred and have mana which the living may exploit for their own advantage. The Activity of the Sacred.—The foregoing views of the sacred, though starting from distinct conceptions, converge in a single complex notion, as may be seen from the many-sided sense borne by such a term as wakan, which may stand not only for " mystery," but also for " power, sacred, ancient, grandeur, animate, immortal " (W J McGee, r5th Report of U. S. Bureau of .Ethnology, 182). The reason for this convergence is that, whereas there is found great difficulty in characterizing the elusive nature of tthe sacred, its mode of manifesting itself is recognized to be much the same in all its phases. Uniform characteristics are the fecundity, ambiguity, relativity and transmissibility of its activity. (1) Fecundity. The mystic potency of the sacred is no fixed quantity, but is big with possibilities of all sorts. The same sacred person, object, act, will suffice for a variety of purposes. Even where a piece of sympathetic magic appears to promise definite results, or when a departmental god is recognized, there would seem to be room left for a more or less indefinite expectancy. It must be re-membered that the meaning of a rite is for the most. part obscure to the participants, being overlaid by its traditional character, which but guarantees a general efficacy. " Blessings come, evils go," may be said to be. the magico-religious formula implicit in all socially approved dealings with the sacred, however specialized' in semblance. (2) Ambiguity. Mystic potency, however, because of the very indefiniteness of its action, is a two-edged sword. The sacred is not to be approached lightly. •It will heal or blast, according as it is handled with or without due circumspection. That which is taboo, for instance, the person of the king, or woman's blood, is poison or medicine according as it is manipulated, being inherently just a potentiality for wonder-working in any direction. Not but what primitive thought shows a tendency to mark off a certain kind of mystic power as wholly bad by a special name, e.g. the arungquiltha of Central Australia; and here, we may note, we come nearest to a conception of magic as something other than religion, the trafficker in arungquiltha being socially suspect, nay, liable to persecution, and even death (as amongst the Arunta tribe, see Spencer and Gillen, Native Tribes of C. Australia, 536), at the hands of his fellows. On the other hand, wholly beneficent powers seem hardly to be recognized, unless we find them in beings such as Mungan-ngaur (" father-our" ), who derive an ethical character from their association with the initiation ceremonies and the moral instruction given thereat (cf. Lang, l.c.). (3) Relativity. So far we have tended to represent the activity of the sacred as that of a universal force, somewhat in the style of our " electricity" or " mind. " It remains to add that this activity manifests itself at numberless independent centres. These differ amongst themselves in the degree of their energy. One spell is stronger than another, one taboo more inviolable than another. Dr W. H. R. Rivers (The Todas, 448) gives an interesting analysis of the grades of sanctity apparent in Toda religion. The gods of the hill-tops come first. The sacred buffaloes, their milk, their bells, the dairies and their vessels are on a lower plane; whilst we may note that there are several grades amongst the dairies, increase of sanctity going with elaboration of dairy ritual (cf. ibid. 232). Still lower is the dairyman, who is in no way divine, yet has sanctity as one who maintains a condition of ceremonial purity. (4) Transmissibility. If, however, this activity originates at certain centres, it tends to spread therefrom in all directions. Dr F. B. Jevons (in An Introduction to the History of Religion, vii.) distinguishes between " things taboo," which have the mystic contagion inherent in them, and " things tabooed," to which the taboo-infection has been transmitted. In the former class he places supernatural beings (including men with many as well as ghosts and spirits), blood, new-born children with their mothers, and corpses; which list might be considerably extended, for instance, by the inclusion of natural portents, and animals and plants such as are strikingly odd, dangerous or useful. Any one of these can pass on its sacred quality to other persons and objects (as a corpse defiles the mourner and his' clothes), nay to actions, places and times as well (as a corpse will likewise cause work to be tabooed, ground to be set apart, a holy season to be observed). Such transmissibility is commonly explained by the association of ideas, that becoming sacred which as it were reminds one of the sacred; though it is important to add, firstly, that such such reinforcement, so that religion becomes largely a matter association takes place under the influence of a selective interest of sacred lore; and the expert director of rites, who is likewise generated by strong religious feeling, and, secondly, that this usually at this stage the leader of society, comes more and more to be needed as an intermediary between the lay portion of the community and the, sacred powers. B. Results.—Hitherto our account of primitive religion has had to move on somewhat abstract lines.' His religion is, however, anything but an abstraction to the savage, and stands rather for the whole of his concrete life so far as it is penetrated by a spirit of earnest endeavour. The end and result of primitive religion is, in a word, the consecration of life, the stimulation of the will to live and to do. This bracing of the vital feeling takes place by means of imaginative appeal to the great forces man perceives stirring within him and about him, such appeal proving effective doubtless by reason of the psychological law that to conceive strongly is II therefore inappropriate to the purposes of anthropological description. (I) Acquisition. Mystic power may be regarded as innate so far as skill, luck or queerness are signs and conditions of its presence. On the whole, however, savage society tends to regard it as something acquired, the product of acts and abstinences having a traditional character for imparting magicoreligious virtue. An external symbol in the shape of a ceremony or cult-object is of great assistance to the dim eye of primitive faith. Again, the savage universe is no preserve of man, but is an open field wherein human and non-human activities of all sorts compete on more or less equal terms, yet so that a certain measure of predominance may be secured by a judicious combination of forces. (2) Concentration. Hence the magicoreligious society or individual practitioner piles ceremony on ceremony, name of power on name of power, relic on relic, to consolidate the forces within reach and assume direction thereof. The transmissibility of the sacred ensures the fusion of powers drawn from all sources, however disparate. (3) Induction. It is necessary, however, as it were to bring this force to a head. This would appear to be the essential significance of sacrifice, where a number of sacred operations and instruments are made to discharge their efficacy into the victim as into a vat, so that a blessing-yielding, evil-neutralizing force of highest attainable potency is obtained (see H. Hubert and M. Mauss, " Essai sur la nature et la fonction du sacrifice" in L'Annee sociologique, ii.). (4) Renovation. An important motif in magico-religious ritual, which may not have been without effect on the development of sacrifice, is, as Dr Frazer's main thesis in The Golden Bough asserts, the imparting of reproductive energy to animals, plants and man himself, its cessation being suggested by such phenomena as old age and the fall of the year. To concentrate, induce and renovate are, however, but aspects of one process of acquisition by the transfusion of a transmissible energy. (5) Demission. Hubert and Mauss show in their penetrating analysis of sacrifice that after the rite has been brought to its culminating point there follows as a pendant a ceremony of re-entry into ordinary life, the idea of which is preserved in the Christian formula Ite, missa est. (6) Insulation. Such deposition of sacredness is but an aspect of the wider method that causes a ring-fence to be erected round the sacred to ward off casual trespassers at once in their own interest and to prevent contamination. We see here a natural outcome of religious awe supported by the spirit of esotericism, and by a sense of the need for an expert handling of that which is so potent for good or ill. (7) Direction. This last consideration brings to notice the fact that throughout magico-religious practice of all kinds the human operator retains a certain control over the issue. In the numberless transitions that, whilst connecting, separate the spell and the prayer we observe as the accompaniment of every mood from extreme imperiousness to extreme humility an abiding will and desire to help the action out. Even " Thy will be done " preserves the echo of a direction, and, needless to say, this is hardly a form of primitive address. At the bottom is the vague feeling that it is man's own self-directed mysterious energy that is at work, however much it needs to be reinforced from without. Meanwhile, tradition strictly prescribes the ways and means of interest is primarily a collective product, being governed by a social tradition which causes certain possibilities of ideal combination alone to be realized, whilst it is the chief guarantee of the objectivity of what they suggest. The Exploitation of the Sacred. A. Methods.—It is hard to find terms general enough to cover dealings with the sacred that range from the manipulation of an almost inanimate type of power to intercourse modelled on that between man and man. Primitive religion, however, resorts to either way of approach so indifferently as to prove that there is little or no awareness of an inconsistency of attitude. The radical contrast between mechanical and spiritual religion, though fundamental for modern theology, is alien to the primitive point of view, and is
End of Article: RELIGION
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