International Encyclopaedia
of the Histories of Anthropology

The Scottish classicist James George Frazer (1854-1941) is one of the most famous figures in the history of anthropology, while his legacy is most often considered obsolete. It was in 1890 that he published the most renowned book of his vast production: The Golden Bough, whose objective was to reconstruct the religious aspects of “Aryan” prehistory and whose leitmotif was the dying god and the killing of its human representative. His universal comparativism and his evolutionist and intellectualist theses on sacred royalty, magic and religion, rite and myth, totemism and exogamy triggered lively debates at the turn of the 20th century and challenged the founding figures of modern anthropology. A paladin of secularization, Frazer himself created myths that strongly permeated the Western imagination.

Keywords: Folklore | Evolutionism | Second half of the 19th century | First half of the 20th century | Universal comparison | Magico-religious practices | Mythology | Religion

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