The Fear of the Dead in Primitive Religion: Lectures Delivered on the William Wyse Foundation at Trinity College, Cambridge, 1932-1934

The Fear of the Dead in Primitive Religion: Lectures Delivered on the William Wyse Foundation at Trinity College, Cambridge, 1932-1934

The Fear of the Dead in Primitive Religion: Lectures Delivered on the William Wyse Foundation at Trinity College, Cambridge, 1932-1934

The Fear of the Dead in Primitive Religion: Lectures Delivered on the William Wyse Foundation at Trinity College, Cambridge, 1932-1934

Excerpt

These lectures were delivered on the William Wyse Foundation at Trinity College, Cambridge, in the Michaelmas Term Of 1932 and the May Term Of 1933. They are printed almost exactly as they were spoken, except that a few passages, including a long one at the end of the Sixth Lecture, which were omitted for the sake of brevity in oral delivery, are here retained in the text. It was my intention to pursue the subject in subsequent lectures, and ultimately in a systematic treatise which should embrace the substance of all the lectures, together with a good deal of additional matter. But circumstances oblige me to defer for a time, perhaps indefinitely, the execution of this design. Meanwhile I publish these introductory lectures as an instalment of the larger work in the hope that they may draw the attention of readers to a side of primitive thought which hitherto has hardly attracted the notice it deserves, for there can be little doubt that the fear of the dead has been a prime source of primitive religion.

On the question of how far the almost universal belief in the survival of the human spirit after death, which is implied by the fear of the dead, can be regarded as evidence of the truth of that survival, opinions will doubtless always be divided. From the crudities, inconsistencies and absurdities in . . .

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