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ly influence the question of the universality of religion, as both these ideas are practically always associated with each other.
Most representatives of the modern science of religion express the opinion that religion, in a wide sense of the word, is to be regarded as universal throughout the human race. Among their number are men such as E. B. Tylor, ' D. G. Brinton, 2 A. Réville, G. Roskoff, 4 C. P. Tiele 5
C. P. Tiele 5 and F. Ratzel. 6 On the other hand Lord Avebury, in conformity with his »higher estimate» of religion, denies the universal existence of religious ideas. ' Agreeing with this writer, Spencer holds that »among various savages, religious ideas do not exist,» although »in such cases there is commonly a notion, here distinct and there vague, of something supernatural associated with the dead.» 8 But it is well known that the standpoint of Lord Avebury has been made the subject of very severe criticism. ' Dr. Frazer, who assumes that magic is prior to religion in the evolution of thought, makes the observation that among the natives of Australia, while magic is universally practised, »religion in the sense of a propitiation or conciliation of the higher powers seems to be nearly unknown.» Yet he admits that in the South-Eastern regions of the continent »some faint beginnings of religion appear in the shape of a slight regard for the comfort of departed
· Tylor, Primilive Culture, i. 425.
Brinton, Religions of Primitive Peoples, p. 33. 3 Réville, Histoire des Religions, i. a. pp. 16 sq.
Roskoff, Das Religionswesen der rohesten Naturvölker, pp. 36–
5 Tiele, Outlines of the History of Religion, p. 6.
Avebury, Pre-Historic Times, p. 551.
friends, and that also in these parts a supreme spirit is believed in. 1
From all this, it is clear that, however correct may be the reports of peoples without priestly functionaries, perhaps owing to a narrow conception of what constitutes a priest, yet we could not possibly put aside the peoples in question; when dealing with the origin of priesthood. For our purpose it is also important to know whether there are magicians among them, and only after having this latter question answered can we judge of the existence or non-existence of a priesthood.
It is, therefore, a question of some interest to us, whether magic is to be considered as universal among the lowest now living races or not. In this respect we meet with a general unanimity among ethnologists: magic is admitted to be practised among all of the primitive peoples who are known to us. Even Lord Avebury owns that there seems to be no degraded race without >a more or less vague belief in witchcraft,» 2 and he thinks that »divination and sorcery are so widely distributed that they may almost be said to have been universal.» 3 Professor Roskoff writes: - »The belief in sorcery . which is inseparably connected with the belief in evil spirits, is met with among all tribes in the lower and lowest stage.»
As a matter of fact »magicians, and »priests» of some kind or other the nomenclature is very vague - have also been reported to appear among peoples of the rudest type, so far as we have sufficient knowledge of them. In numerous accounts of the Australians, native sorcerers are mentioned. Thus in an essay »
» On Australian Medicine-Men» Mr. Howitt gives a descrip
1 Frazer, The Golden Bough, i. 71, 72, note.
Avebury, Pre-Historic Times, p. 551.
Roskoff, Das Religionswesen der rohesten Naturvölker, p. 130 sq.
tion of the doctors and wizards of several aboriginal tribes. 1 From different parts of the continent, other investigators report of medicine-men, wizards or enchanters, and describe their functions. 2
In one of the few statements which exist concerning the religion and magic of the Bushmen, it is said that »they believe in evil spirits, sorcery and amulets, and think certain persons endowed with special power to conjure the spirits and wizards. »3 Lichtenstein ports of the same people that »there are among them, as among the Caffres, people who are considered as magicians, and who are believed to have the power of commanding rain, wind, and thunder, at their pleasure.» 4 Of the Hottentots Th. Hahn states, that they have a class of sorcerers who are chiefly occupied in making rain, and he also mentions practitioners of witchcraft among them. 5 Kolben says that they have a priest who »presides at their offerings, and has the Ordering and Conducting of all Ceremonies of Worship. He performs the Marriage and the Funeral Ceremonies,» etc. This author also states that their physicians cure pains by means of amulets. 6
As regards the Andaman Islanders E. H. Man makes mention of seers or medicine-men >credited with
In Jour. Anthr. Inst. xvi.
2 Eyre, Journals of Expeditions into Central Australia, ii. 359 sq Spencer and Gillen, Native Tribes of Central Australia, pp. 522— 553 and Northern Tribes of Central Australia, pp. 481–88. Stanbridge, 'Tribes in the Central Part of Victoria,' in Trans. Ethn. Soc. N. S. i. 300. Brough Smytb, The Aborigines of Victoria, i. 463 &c. Gason, 'Of the "Tribes Dieyerie,' etc., in Jour. Anthr. Inst. xxiv. 170. Bonwick, 'The Australian Natives,' ib. xvi. 203 sq. Oldfield, 'Aborigines of Australia,' in Trans. Ethn. Soc. N. S. iii. 236, 243, a. 0.
3 Fritsch, Die Eingeborenen Süd-Afrika’s, p. 427.
Kolben, Present State of the Cape of Good-Hope, i. 88, 133.
the power of communicating in dreams with the invi-
are still without positive intelligence as to the extent of their beliefs. No priests are mentioned, and it is also uncertain in what degree magicians proper occur among them. Emerson Tennent, however, says they have »devil dancers, who drive away evil spirits while in a state of great excitement, and Le Mesurier tells us that, in cases of sickness, the Yakdesa, or demon priest, is sent for to dance and chant certain incantations before the sick person. +
As regards the Fuegians there are reports of wizards or conjuring doctors, whose fuuctions, however, are very incompletely known. Admiral Fitzroy says that each Fuegian party has a doctor-wizard with much influence over his companions. 5 An exactly similar report is given by Darwin, and also Mr. Snow mentions a wizard man among them. ? According to Mr. Bridges, they have doctors who are believed to communicate with
1 Man, 'Aboriginal Inhabitants of the Andaman Islands,' in Jour.. Anthr. Inst. xii. 97; xi. 289.
2 Portman, Our Relations with the Andamanese, i. 39 sq.
Emerson Tenuent, Ceylon, 442.
Le Mesurier, 'The Vedda's of Ceylon,' in Jour, of the Ceylon Branch of the Roy. As. Soc. ix. 341.
Fitzroy, Surveying Voyages of Adventure and Beagle, ii. 178. 8 Darwin, Voyage of Beagle, p. 214.
? Snow, Wild Tribes of Tierra del Fuego,' in Trans. Ethn. Soc.. N. S. i. 264.
fabulous beings, and to have the power of killing persons in their dreams. 1 The same author also tells us of sorcerers supposed to possess unlimited magical power who are much feared by the people. 2
The Angakoks of the Eskimo are comparatively well known, and we owe to several investigators more or less detailed descriptions of their offices and performances.
Thus the origin of priests and sorcerers evidently refers to a very early period of human evolution. Wherever, among uncivilized races, we meet with religious or magical acts, we may, indeed, consider the performers, whether they are professional or not, as illustrating, in some way or other, the rise or development of a priesthood. If we search for the first indicatory beginnings of that order, we may trace them back to the very origin of magical and religious practices.
When comparing the origin of priesthood with that of other classes, we become aware of the remarkable fact that priests and sorcerers everywhere differ from the mass of the population at an earlier period of culture than any of the lay classes. This conclusion may be drawn from the fact that priests or sorcerers are, as a rule, found among all peoples, also among those without any other distinction of classes, whereas, on the other hand, there are no instances whatever of peoples which were divided into classes of laymen but devoid of priesthood.
Bridges, Manners and Customs of the Firelanders,' in A Voice for South America, xii. 212.
2 Id., ’Das Feuerland und seine Bewohner,' in Globus, 1885,
Murdoch, 'Ethnological Results of the Point Barrow Expedition,' in Smithsonian Reports, ix. 430 sq. Boas 'The Central Eskimo, ib. vi. 583-600. Hall, Arctic Researches, pp. 572 sqq.
Crantz, The History of Greenland, i. 209–217. Astrup, Blandt Nordpolens Naboer, pp. 283–287, a. o.