E. B. Tylor and the Anthropology of Religion

PAPER PREPARED FOR THE 95th ANNUAL MEETING OF THE AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION, SAN FRANCISCO, NOVEMBER 21, 1996In light of the retrospective theme of this Annual Meeting, it is fitting that we pay homage to Edward Burnett Tylor (1832-1917). His appointment as Reader in Anthropology at Oxfor...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Marburg Journal of Religion (Band 2)
Main Author: Saler, Benson
Format: Journal Articles
Language:English
Published: Philipps-Universität Marburg 1997
Online Access:Online Access
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Summary:PAPER PREPARED FOR THE 95th ANNUAL MEETING OF THE AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION, SAN FRANCISCO, NOVEMBER 21, 1996In light of the retrospective theme of this Annual Meeting, it is fitting that we pay homage to Edward Burnett Tylor (1832-1917). His appointment as Reader in Anthropology at Oxford in 1884 was the first academic appointment of an anthropologist qua anthropologist in the English-speaking world. And in his two volume classic, Primitive Culture (1871), Tylor, as Kroeber and Kluckhohn (1952:150-151) observe, "was deliberately establishing a science by defining its subject matter." Yet although Tylor is not far removed from us in time, and while he writes in a language very similar to our own, we might nevertheless take note of Lesley Hartley's lines, "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there" (Prologue, The Go-Between, 1953). Despite Tylor's pleasing and seemingly lucid prose, his concerns, sensitivities, and insensitivities do not fully match ours. If we are to improve our scholarly understanding and appreciation of his efforts, we must try to learn as best we can what Tylor was against as well as what he advocated, and what he hoped to achieve within the context of the intellectual ambiance in which he operated.
DOI:https://doi.org/10.17192/mjr.1997.2.3778