Oedipus and Job in West African Religion

Oedipus and Job in West African Religion

Oedipus and Job in West African Religion

Oedipus and Job in West African Religion

Excerpt

I T has been said that poets can be divided into two classes. There are those who write for other poets; and there are those who write for the common reader. Anthropologists can be similarly classified. There are the purists by conviction or by habit who write only for their professional peers, and there are the anthropologists of the forum and the market-place who address themselves to the world at large. But there are also a few who seem equally at home in both worlds; and among these Sir James Frazer was and remains without rival. His influence on the progressive thought of his time is a by-word, and his writings are still held in respect bordering on awe outside professional anthropological circles. Why then has his influence among his professional successors declined in recent years? Chiefly, I think, because he was not only a great anthropologist and a man of letters, but also a moralist whose zeal in spreading enlightenment too often got the better of his scholarly judgement. That glittering prose hides too many rash conjectures. The hypotheses paraded with so much learning turn out to be little more than descriptive labels for customs and institutions . . .

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