By Stanley J. Tambiah
Professor Tambiah is without doubt one of the best anthropologists of the day, really recognized for his penetrating and scholarly reports of Buddhism. during this obtainable and illuminating publication he bargains with the classical competition of magic with technology and faith. He experiences the nice debates in classical Judaism, early Greek technological know-how, Renaissance philosophy, the Protestant Reformation, and the clinical revolution, after which reconsiders the 3 significant interpretive methods to magic in anthropology: the intellectualist and evolutionary theories of Tylor and Frazer, Malinowski's functionalism, and Lévy-Bruhl's philosophical anthropology, which posited a contrast among mystical and logical mentalities. He follows with a wide-ranging and suggestive dialogue of rationality and relativism and concludes with a dialogue of recent pondering within the historical past and philosophy of technological know-how, suggesting clean views at the classical competition among technological know-how and magic.
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Extra info for Magic, Science and Religion and the Scope of Rationality (Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures)
13). 14). In both contexts, Machiavelli provides an account of the Roman pagan religion that underscores its earthly instrumentality and its practical political utility. When effectively operationalized, religion achieved a double disciplinary effect: it converted a potentially unruly populace into citizens obedient to the rule of aristocratic nobility and soldiers regimented and organized under the command of the state. Notwithstanding its prodigious disciplinary properties, Roman religion in Machiavelli’s analysis does not reduce to “a mere tool in the hands of the political rulers” (Cassirer 1946: 138).
What emerges most clearly is religion’s secular function in maintaining a civilized society and crafting the public spirit of the people in order to secure obedience to rule and the unity of the state. 1) and constituted through the laws, rituals and observances introduced by Romulus and 21 mary g. dietz and ilya winham Numa, the rulers of ancient Rome. This complex of elements, whereby religion is theorized as a legislative device shorn of all Christian appurtenances, inspired by Roman paganism, and subjugated to the secular and political interests of the city, has led many commentators to characterize Machiavelli’s view as oppositional if not hostile to Christianity (Strauss 1958; Berlin 1982; Hulliung 1983).
13 appropriates Livy to emphasize how the Roman nobility effectively played on the plebeians’ fear of the gods to “remedy” potential threats that the consular power of the tribunes posed to the rule of elites. Through the seizure and deployment of various means of divination and communication, including the interpretation of oracles and the sacred Sibylline books, the swearing of oaths to the gods, the diagnosis of auspices and the expounding of auguries, the nobles were able to manipulate the plebeians’ 5.
Magic, Science and Religion and the Scope of Rationality (Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures) by Stanley J. Tambiah