- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Batsford Ltd; Abridged edition edition (5 Nov. 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0713481080
- ISBN-13: 978-0713481082
- Package Dimensions: 26.9 x 21.6 x 1.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 171,004 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Illustrated Golden Bough (A labyrinth book) Paperback – Abridged, 5 Nov 1996
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Initially intended as an anthropological study, the original "Golden Bough" became a study of the origins of magic and religion. This abridged edition holds a magnifying glass to Frazer's insights into the nature of magic and religion and focuses on the central theme of sympathetic magic. Illustrated throughout with art, artifacts and images from around the world, it draws on historical and social evidence to reveal the spiritual essence of man.
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Seriously, if you don't have this get it now.
He begins with the question of why, at Nemi in prehistoric Greek times, a warrior priest known as the King of the Wood kept his position by fighting for his life, which could be threatened at any time by his successor and murderer. By attempting to explain this ancient tradition, Frazer examines similarities between religious beliefs and shows how the belief in magic and the worship of nature was gradually transformed into the worship of religious kings and gods.
Controversially, many elements of Christianity are included, such as Christ's crucifixion and the fact that many Christian holidays coincide with the dates of prehistoric pagan rituals. For the diligent skeptic of Frazer's ideas, I would advise reading the full, multi-volume edition, which includes the archeological evidence for the theories.
This book is ESSENTIAL for the studies of mythology, religion, or anthropology.