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Sir James George Frazer

the first cultural anthropologist to suggest a relation between myths and rituals

Sir James George Frazer

James George Frazer was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on January 1, 1854. He was educated at Larchfield Academy in Helensburgh, the University of Glasgow, and Trinity College, Cambridge University. He was elected a Fellow of Trinity College in 1879, and remained there until his death. He was a Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Liverpool from 1907 to 1922.

Frazer's first work of scholarship was a translation and commentary of Pausanias, a Greek travel writer of the second century, which was published in six volumes in 1898.

Myth and religion were Frazer's principle areas of research, however, and he became an expert in his field with the publication of The Golden Bough: A Study in Comparative Religion (1890), a study of ancient cults, rites and myths, and their parallels with early Christianity. In it, Frazer argued that in every society a belief in magic preceded religion, which in turn was followed by science. The work eventually spanned a total of twelve volumes. He was knighted for his work in 1914.

Sir James George Frazer died in Cambridge on May 7, 1941.

Other Important Works

Psyche's Task (1909)
Totemism and Exogany
The Belief in Immortality and the Worship of the Dead (1913-1924)
Folklore in the Old Testament (1898)
Man, God, and Immortality (1927)
Creation and Evolution in Primitive Cosmogonies (1935)

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This page was last updated on 01/01/2019.