Theories of Religion – Intellectualism Philosophy Questions Respond these four question. Requirements: 1- Minimum of 200 words each. 2- Deep though 3-

Theories of Religion – Intellectualism Philosophy Questions Respond these four question.

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Theories of Religion – Intellectualism Philosophy Questions Respond these four question. Requirements: 1- Minimum of 200 words each. 2- Deep though 3-
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1- Minimum of 200 words each.

2- Deep though

3- critical analysis.

1- Pals issues an important caution about running to a dictionary for a definition of the word ‘religion’. Defining, he claims, is linked to explaining. What does he mean by that and why is it such an important disclaimer?

2- What is the doctrine of “survivals”? How is it connected to the idea of intellectual evolution?

3- Can the study of contemporary tribal societies shed light on ancient history? Or vice versa? In particular, on what assumptions would it seem useful to be explaining the origin of religion by studying contemporary tribal, or “primitive” societies? (By the way, this question is not a ‘no-brainer’

4- Pals uses Tylor and Frazer as his figures for introducing the idea of intellectualism. Of course, he thinks of Intellectualism as a big mistake, as you will see. But it’s so common in various guises for you to be careful about what it is and why it’s so problematic. Using Tylor and Frazer as your examples, how would you describe intellectualism? EIGHT THEORIES OF RELIGION
Daniel L. Pals
an earlier and later form—of the same general point of view.
Tylor is perhaps the more original thinker, while Frazer enjoys
the greater fame and influence.
Chapt 1 Animism and Magic: E. B. Tylor and J. G.
Frazer
Are the forces which govern the world conscious and
personal, or unconscious and impersonal? Religion, as a
conciliation of the superhuman powers, assumes the
former.. .. [I]t stands in fundamental antagonism to magic as
well as to science [which hold 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.
James Frazer, The Golden Bough1
Our survey begins with not one but two theorists whose
writings are related and whose ideas closely resemble each other.
The first is Edward Burnett Tylor (1832-1917), a self-educated
Englishman who never attended a university but, through his
travels and independent study, arrived at the theory of animism,
which in his view held the key to the origin of religion. The
second is James George Frazer (1854-1941), a shy, scholarly
Scotsman who, unlike Tylor, spent virtually all of his life in a
book-lined apartment at Cambridge University. Frazer is often
associated with what is sometimes called the “magic” theory of
religion, rather than with Tylor’s animism, but in fact he was a
disciple of Tylor, who readily took over his mentor’s main ideas
and methods while adding certain new touches of his own. As we
shall see in our discussion, the two theories are so closely related
that we can more helpfully consider them as differing versions—
E. B. Tylor
E. B. Tylor’s first interest was not religion but the study of
human culture, or social organization. Some, in fact, consider
him the founder of cultural, or social, anthropology as that
science is now practiced in Britain and North America. He was
born in 1832 to a family of prosperous Quakers who owned a
London brass factory.2 The Quakers originally were an extreme,
almost fanatical group of English Protestants who dressed in
plain, unfashionable clothes and lived by the inspiration of a
personal “inner light.” By the 1800s, however, most had
discarded their unusual dress, earned social respect, and moved
all the way over to very liberal, even nonreligious views. This
perspective is clearly present in Tylor’s writings, which show
throughout a strong distaste for all forms of traditional Christian
faith and practice, especially Roman Catholicism.
Because both of Tylor’s parents died when he was a young
man, he began preparations to help in management of the family
business, only to discover his own health failing when he showed
signs of developing tuberculosis. Advised to spend time in a
warmer climate, he chose travel to Central America and left
home in 1855, at the young age of twenty-three. This American
experience proved decisive in his life, for it kindled his keen
interest in the study of unfamiliar cultures. As he traveled, he
took careful notes on the customs and beliefs of the people he
saw, publishing the results of his work on his return to England
in a book entitled Anahuac: Or Mexico and the Mexicans,
Pals Eight Theories of Religion: Chapter one – page- 1 of 29
Ancient and Modern (1861). On his journeys, Tylor also met a
fellow Quaker, the archaeologist Henry Christy, who sparked his
enthusiasm as well for prehistoric studies. Though he did not
travel again, Tylor began to study the customs and beliefs of all
peoples who lived in “primitive” conditions, whether from
prehistoric ages (insofar as they could be known from
archaeological finds) or from tribal communities of the present
day. Soon he published a second book, Researches into the Early
History of Mankind and the Development of Civilization (1865).
And six years later, after much more work on these subjects, he
published Primitive Culture (1871), a large two-, volume study
that became the masterwork of his career and a landmark in the
study of human civilization. This important book not only
appealed to a wide audience of general readers but also cast a
spell over a number of brilliant younger men who were to
become Tylor’s enthusiastic disciples. Through their further
outstanding work, the systematic study of folklore and the newly
developing science of anthropology made great strides in the
later years of the nineteenth century.3 Though it was not the only
such book, Primitive Culture served as a virtual bible for all
those who were inspired by what some called “Mr. Tylor’s
science.”
Tylor too continued to work, and in 1884 was appointed by
Oxford University to be its first reader in the new field of
anthropology. Later on he became its first professor in the
discipline, enjoying a long career that extended all the way to
World War I. Even so, none of his later writing matched the
importance of Primitive Culture. Since this influential book
presents his theory of animism in definitive form, it is the natural
centerpiece for our examination of Tylor’s views.
Primitive Culture
BACKGROUND
The significance of Tylor’s work is best appreciated within
its historical and religious context. Primitive Culture was
published in Victorian Britain at a time when thoughtfully
religious people were wrestling with more than a few disturbing
challenges to their faith. Since the early years of the century, a
number of philosophers, historians, and naturalists in the field of
geology found themselves drawn to the idea of very long-term
development both in nature and human society. To some, the
earth and human life were beginning to look far older than the
mere 6000 years that theologians had assigned to them from their
readings in the biblical book of Genesis. The young Tylor was
well acquainted with these discussions and was strongly disposed
to think in similar terms.4 Then, in 1859, Charles Darwin
published his famous Origin of Species, perhaps the most
important single book in science or any other fie a during the
entire nineteenth century. The theory of evolution by natural
selection that he presented struck many as shockingly contrary to
the scriptures but irresistibly persuasive nonetheless. It was
followed in 1871 by The Descent of Man, a work just as
controversial because of its startling thesis about the animal
origins of the human race. After the Origin the controversy over
“evolution” was on almost everyone’s lips, and the idea of
development took an even stronger hold on Tylor’s thought.
Moreover, while these disputes raged, other thinkers were raising
further troublesome questions about some of the most basic
elements of Christian religious belief, including the historical
accuracy of the Bible, the reality of miracles, and the divinity of
Jesus Christ. Thus, when Primitive Culture appeared, with its
new theory on the origin of all religious belief systems including
Pals Eight Theories of Religion: Chapter one – page- 2 of 29
the Christian one, it seemed to send yet another tremor of doubt
through an already unsettled populace.
Tylor also drew upon new trends in research. He placed a
pioneering emphasis on “ethnography” and “ethnology.” These
were the labels he and his associates gave to a distinctive new
kind of study: the description (ethnography: from the Greek
grapho, “to write”) and scientific analysis (ethnology: from the
Greek logos, “study”), of an individual society, culture, or racial
group (from the Greek ethnos, a “nation” or “people”) in all of its
many component parts. They also used the term “anthropology,”
the scientific study of mankind (from the Greek “anthropos,
“man”). In addition, as a personally nonreligious man, Tylor
refused to settle any question by an appeal to the divine authority
of the church or the Bible.
Prior to Tylor’s day and still during much of his career,
people of traditional views insisted that the origin of the
Christian religion, at least, had to be understood as something
miraculous in character, primarily because it had been revealed
as such by God in the scriptures and affirmed in church
traditions. Over against this orthodox view, Christian scholars of
liberal inclinations pursued a more naturalistic understanding of
things, but still in a manner quite supportive of traditional
religious beliefs. They were led by Friedrich Max Müller, the
learned and eloquent German whom we met in our opening
pages.
Müller and Tylor shared the view that appeals to the
supernatural should be left out of their discussions, but they
disagreed strongly on the value of Tylor’s ethnological research.
Müller felt that the key to religion, myth, and other aspects of
culture lay in language. He and other students of comparative
philology (the forerunner of today’s linguistics) had shown that
the forms of speech in India and most of Europe belonged to a
group of languages that originated with a single ancient people
known as Aryans.5 By comparing word parallels across these
languages, they tried to show that the thought patterns of all
these “Indo-European” Aryan were largely the same, and that, in
this large portion of the human race, religion began when people
reacted to the great and powerful workings of nature. In
awesome natural processes like the sunrise and sunset, these
ancient Aryans experienced a dim “perception of the infinite,”
the sense of a single divinity behind the world. Unfortunately,
when they expressed this feeling in their prayers and poems, their
speech betrayed them. They personified things. The Greeks, for
example, belong to the Aryan family; Tor them the word
“Apollo” once simply meant “sun” and “Daphne,” the “dawn.”
Over time these simple original meanings came to be forgotten;
at the same time, because the words were nouns with either
masculine or feminine gender and because they were used with
verbs expressing activity, the names for these natural objects
came gradually to suggest personal beings. As Müller put it in a
clever wordplay of his own, the nomina (Latin for “names”)
became numina (Latin for “gods”). Instead of recalling that every
day the dawn fades as the sun rises, people began to tell fanciful
tales of the goddess. Daphne dying in the arms of the god Apollo.
Through this strange process, which Muller called a “disease of
language,” words meant to describe nature and hint at the infinite
power behind it degenerated into silly stories of many different
gods, along with their misdeeds and often comical
misadventures. Instead of framing a pure, natural religion drawn
from an inspired and beautiful perception a the infinite, people
succumbed to the absurd stories of mythology.
Pals Eight Theories of Religion: Chapter one – page- 3 of 29
Tylor, who had little training in languages, thought a few of
Müller’s ideas made sense and even incorporated them into his
own. But he strongly disagreed with Müller’s method of building
a theory almost entirely on little more than language habits and
word derivations. One needed much more than mere verbal
misunderstandings of events like the sunrise to explain the
beginnings of the complex systems of belief and ritual that go
under the name of religion—or even the tales of mythology, for
that matter. One purpose of Primitive Culture, accordingly, was
to present Taylor’s decidedly different approach. Even without
knowing the language, he felt, it was far better to study a given
culture in all of its component parts—to explore the actual deeds,
habits, ideas, and customs that language describes—than to make
far-fetched guesses based only on the analogies and origins of
certain words. Ethnology was clearly better than etymology.
AIMS AND ASSUMPTIONS
It was against this backdrop—of evolutionary ideas at odds
with the Bible and ethnologists opposed to philology—that Tylor
introduced his book, announcing it in quite grand fashion as an
attempt to pursue a new “science of culture.” The proper subject
of such an inquiry, he claimed, is not just language, but the whole
network of elements that go into the making of what is
commonly called human civilization. Ethnology assumes that
any organized community or culture must be understood as a
whole—as a complex system made up of knowledge and beliefs,
of art and morals, tools and technology, language, laws, customs,
legends, myths, and other components, all of which fit
themselves into a singular whole. Ethnology further requires that
these complex systems be explored scientifically. It tries to find
patterns, or laws, of human culture and expects these laws to be
“as definite as those which govern the motion of waves” and “the
growth of plants and animals.’ Like the chemist or biologist, the
ethnologist gathers facts, classifies and compares them, and
searches for underlying principles to explain what has been
found. Tylor was convinced, moreover, that when this work is
properly done, and when the whole span of the human past is
placed under observation, two great laws of culture come clearly
into view. They are (1) the principle of psychic-unity, or
uniformity, within the human race and (2) the pattern of
intellectual evolution, or improvement over time.
With regard to the psychic unity of the race, Tylor
maintained that throughout the world many things done or said
by human beings at different times and places quite obviously
resemble each other. Though it may be true that some of these
likenesses have come from “diffusion”—from one people
managing to teach another its good ideas—it is often the case
that different people discover the same ideas and invent the same
customs quite independently. In other words, the similarities are
not coincidental; they demonstrate the fundamental uniformity of
the human mind. Unlike the “racialists” of his day, who saw
fixed and unalterable differences separating various groups
within the human race, Tylor and his associates contended that
all human beings are in essence the same, especially with regard
to their basic mental capacity. When in different cultures we
observe very similar things, they may be presumed to be
products of a single, universal rationality. With respect to logic—
that is, the capacity to follow certain formal and necessary
procedures of reasoning—humans of all places and times are the
same. For Tylor, as one observer has put it, “all the world is a
single country.”7 But if this is true (and here the second principle
Pals Eight Theories of Religion: Chapter one – page- 4 of 29
plays its role), then whenever variations do occur, they cannot be
evidence of a difference in kind, only of a difference in de as or a
change in the level of development. When two societies are seen
to diverge, it is because one must be higher and the other lower
on the scale of cultural evolution. Tylor thought evidence of
these grades of development could be found everywhere.
Because in all cultures each generation learns from the last, he
believed he could trace through human history a long pattern of
social and intellectual improvement, from the first savages, who
hunted and gathered their food, through the cultures of the
ancient world and the Middle Ages, which were based on
farming, up to the modern era of trade, science, and industry. In
history, each generation improves upon the last by standing on its
shoulders and starting where the earlier has left off. In brief,
Tylor believed firmly that the story of civilization told the tale of
“the ascent of man.”
THE DOCTRINE OF “SURVIVALS”
With his assumptions in place, Tylor proceeds to the
evidence. We cannot speak of progress, he says, without noticing
in some cultures certain things that do not look progressive at all.
If a London physician prescribes surgery for an ailment while a
doctor in a rural village advises bloodletting, we can hardly say
that all of modern English medicine is progressive. We must
account also for what is backward. Tylor chooses to do so by
outlining his much-discussed “doctrine of survivals.’ He notes
that not all cultures and not all things in any one culture evolve at
the same pace. Some practices, proper at a given time, linger
long after the march of progress has passed them by. Among
these are curious pastimes, quaint customs, folklore, folk
medicine, and assorted superstitions associated with almost every
conceivable sphere of human endeavor. For example, while no
serious modern hunter would still use a bow and arrow to kill
game, the skills of archery are still with us; now a sport or hobby,
archery “survives” from a bygone age when gathering food was
the central task of life. Again, nothing is more common than for
people everywhere to give a blessing after a sneeze; it seems
trivial. Yet this was once a serious gesture, associated with the
belief that at that very moment a spirit, or demon, had come out
of the body. Today the blessing survives, but as a meaningless
custom whose original intent has been long forgotten. In many
countries, people urge, strangely, that one should never try to
save a drowning person. Though to a modern view such advice
may seem cruel and selfish, it was in earlier cultures perfectly
rational, for it was everywhere held that the river or sea, deprived
of its almost captured victim, would take revenge on the very
person who made the rescue! Tylor observes that the record of
human history is filled with superstitions such as these, which
perfectly illustrate the fact that while the stream of social
evolution is real and its current is strong, a trail of cultural
“leftovers” always floats in its wake.
If the principle of evolution shows why, survivals exist,
then it is the companion principle of uniformity, says Tylor,
which enables us to understand and explain them. Since—
regardless of race, language, or nationality—all human beings
reason the same, we can always enter the minds of people in
other cultures, even though the level of their knowledge may
have been very different from our own. Modern primitives, like
ancient peoples, know less than we do and fail to test their
opinions sufficiently, but Tylor is certain they still think with the
same mental mechanism as ours. So even amid great differences,
the uniformity of mind unites the human race.
Pals Eight Theories of Religion: Chapter one – page- 5 of 29
ASPECTS OF HUMAN CULTURE
F or Tylor the connection between basic rational thinking
and social evolution is apparent in all aspects of a culture if we
only take time to look at them closely enough. He furnishes as a
prime example the use of magic, which is common everywhere
among primitive peoples. Magic is based upon the association of
ideas, a tendency which “lies at the very foundation of human
reason.”9 If somehow in thought people can connect one idea
with another, then their logic moves them to conclude that the
same connection must also exist in reality. Primitive people
believe that, even at a distance, they can hurt or heal others just
by acting on a fingernail a lock of hair, a piece of clothing, or
anything else that has been in contact with their persons. Or they
think that a symbolic resemblance matters. Some tribal peoples
imagine that because certain diseases tint the skin yellow and
because gold is of the same color, jaundice in the body can be
cured with a golden ring. Others who practice primitive
agriculture have been known to torture human victims brutally in
the belief that their tears of pain will bring showers of rain to the
fields. To us such actions may seem stupid or cruel; to believers
in magic, they are rational efforts to influence the world.
Tylor finds the same pattern of rationality in two of
humanity’s most basic and significant accomplishments: the
development of language and discovery _of mathematics. In each
case, the process starts very simply, with single words that mimic
the sounds of nature and with counting systems based on fingers
and toes. Then, through the centuries, these concepts are slowly
built up to produce the very complicated systems of speec…
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