Frazer, James G.

The intellectual trajectory of James G. Frazer (1854–1941) in the 1880s was influenced by research into mythology conducted over the preceding decades. The ideas of Max Müller (1823–1900), Edward Burnett Tylor (1832–1937), John Ferguson McLennan (1827–1881), Wilhelm Mannhardt (1831–1880), and above all those of his mentor William Robertson Smith (1846–1894) were the point of departure for Frazer’s social anthropology. The study of human religious origins through mythological narratives would define the analyses of Frazer who, like practically all the thinkers of this period, had embraced the scientific intellectual horizon of evolutionism.

Most of the time that Frazer devoted to scientific undertakings was spent on the three editions of The Golden Bough (1890, 1900, and 1911–1915), a work regarded as seminal for its contribution to the study ...

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