This book, first published in 1935, collects together material on the origins of religion from two very different sources. South America, where the author spent six years studying the religious beliefs and customs of several Indian tribes representing different stages of culture; and the Finno-Ugrian area, where Finnish and Russian ethnologists had brought to light a new body of facts which formed an important addition to our knowledge of religious life at an early stage of cultural development. This book is a key work in the study of comparative religion, and is an essential reference source on the origins of religion.
Table of Contents
Part 1. Primitive Religious Beliefs 1. Theories of the Origin of Religion 2. The Psychology of Primitive Man 3. Primitive Conception of the Soul 4. The Soul and Magical ‘Power’ 5. The Worship of Animals 6. The Worship of Plants 7. The Worship of Inanimate Nature 8. Totemism 9. Spirits, Demons, Ghosts 10. ‘Supreme Beings’ of Primitive Peoples Part 2. Religious Cult 11. The Origins of Ritual, Magic and Religion 12. Communion With the Spirit World 13. The Control of Spirits by Magical Means 14. Purification Ceremonies 15. Sacrifice 16. Prayer 17. Funeral and Mourning Customs