Kingship

Kingship

Kingship

Kingship

Excerpt

The present work is an attempt at applying to customs and beliefs the methods that have been so successful in the study of language. The attempt is necessarily a crude one; for first attempts are always crude; but there can be no progress if we live in perpetual fear of those critics who esteem a work more for the absence of faults than for any positive endeavour.

The meticulous scholar who never publishes because he does not feel that he has attained perfection is often held up to us for admiration. In point of fact he has no right to exist: he is not doing his share of the world's work; whether from idealism or sluggishness is immaterial: the result is the same. In science, as in politics, finance, and war, he who risks nothing achieves nothing. Let us be careful, but not timorous.

The conclusions arrived at in this book may be right or may be wrong; but in any case they make sense out of apparent nonsense without in the least distorting or doubting the statements of the ancients themselves. A method which makes sense cannot be far off the right track; and this is half the battle. For he who sets out in the right direction with only the stars to guide will reach his goal sooner than one who goes off in the opposite direction equipped with the most perfect compass, sextant, and chronometer.

I do not profess to trace religion to its first beginnings: there are no first beginnings; there are only beliefs, older . . .

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