Watrous (Edd.): Between Magic and Religion: Interdisciplinary Studies in Ancient Mediterranean Religion and Society .
Lanham, Boulder, New York, and Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001.
This vintage book comprises three famous Malinowski essays on the subject of religion.
Malinowski is one of the most important and influential anthropologists of all time.
Magic, for Malinowski, is always utilitarian, whereas religion lacks all utility.
Religion, he contends, must be seen as an end in-and-of-itself.He is particularly renowned for his ability to combine the reality of human experience, with the cold calculations of science.An important collection of three of his most famous essays, "Magic, Science and Religion" provides its reader with a series of concepts concerning religion, magic, science, rite and myth.Thus animism, the philosophy and the religion of primitive man, has been built up from observations and by inferences, mistaken but comprehensible in a crude and untutored mind.Tylor's view of primitive religion, important as it was, was based on too narrow a range of facts, and it made early man too contemplative and rational.Recent field work, done by specialists, shows us the savage interested rather in his fishing and gardens, in tribal events and festivities than brooding over dreams and visions, or explaining doubles and cataleptic fits, and it reveals also a great many aspects of early religion which cannot be possibly placed in Tylor's scheme of animism.The extended and deepened outlook of modern anthropology finds its most adequate expression in the learned and inspiring writings of Sir James Frazer.In these he has set forth the three main problems of primitive religion with which present-day anthropology is busy: magic and its relation [MB 19] to religion and science; totemism and the sociological aspect of early faith; the cults of fertility and vegetation. Frazer's Golden Bough, the great codex of primitive magic, shows clearly that animism is not the only, nor even the dominating belief in primitive culture.Early man seeks above all to control the course of nature for practical ends, and he does it directly, by rite and spell, compelling wind and weather, animals and crops to obey his will.This book is being republished now in an affordable, modern edition - complete with a specially commissioned new biography of the author.Magic in the Middle Ages by Richard Kieckhefer; Natural Magic and Modern Science: Four Treatises, 1590-1657 by Wayne Shumaker; Magic, Science, Religion, and the Scope of Rationality by Stanley Jeyaraja Tambiah.