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CHAPTER I THE STUDY OF SOCIETY What is Society?—Perhaps the great question which sociology seeks to answer is this question which we have put at the beginning. Just as biology seeks to answer the question "What is life?"; zoölogy, "What is an animal?"; botany, "What is a plant?"; so sociology seeks to answer the question "What is society?" or perhaps better, "What is association?" Just as biology, zoölogy, and botany cannot... more...

PART I.—MYTHS. INTRODUCTION. Before entering upon the many strange beliefs of the ancient Greeks, and the extraordinary number of gods they worshipped, we must first consider what kind of beings these divinities were. In appearance, the gods were supposed to resemble mortals, whom, however, they far surpassed in beauty, grandeur, and strength; they were also more commanding in stature, height being considered by the Greeks an... more...

CAN read the book of the past? Who can tell us the story of Creation's morn? It is, not written in history, neither does it live in tradition. There is mystery here; but it is hid by the darkness of bygone ages. There is a true history here, but we have not learned well the alphabet used. Here are doubtless wondrous scenes; but our stand-point is removed by time so vast, the mist of years is so thick before us, that only the ruder outlines can be... more...

PREFACE TO NEW IMPRESSION. When this book first appeared (1886), the philological school of interpretation of religion and myth, being then still powerful in England, was criticised and opposed by the author. In Science, as on the Turkish throne of old, "Amurath to Amurath succeeds"; the philological theories of religion and myth have now yielded to anthropological methods. The centre of the anthropological position was the "ghost theory" of Mr.... more...

INTRODUCTION It may well be doubted whether works of controversy serve any useful purpose.  ‘On an opponent,’ as Mr. Matthew Arnold said, ‘one never does make any impression,’ though one may hope that controversy sometimes illuminates a topic in the eyes of impartial readers.  The pages which follow cannot but seem wandering and desultory, for they are a reply to a book, Mr. Max Müller’s Contributions... more...


PREFACE The materials upon which this book is based have been collected from a wide range of sources and represent the observation and reflection of men who have seen life from very different points of view. This was necessary in order to bring into the perspective of a single volume the whole wide range of social organization and human life which is the subject-matter of a science of society. At the same time an effort has been made to bring... more...

PREFACE Just as a little child holds out its hands to catch the sunbeams, to feel and to grasp what, so its eyes tell it, is actually there, so, down through the ages, men have stretched out their hands in eager endeavour to know their God. And because only through the human was the divine knowable, the old peoples of the earth made gods of their heroes and not unfrequently endowed these gods with as many of the vices as of the virtues of their... more...

ZUÑI PHILOSOPHY. The Á-shi-wi, or Zuñis, suppose the sun, moon, and stars, the sky, earth, and sea, in all their phenomena and elements; and all inanimate objects, as well as plants, animals, and men, to belong to one great system of all-conscious and interrelated life, in which the degrees of relationship seem to be determined largely, if not wholly, by the degrees of resemblance. In this system of life the starting point... more...

by Various
MYTHS OF GREECE AND ROME BAUCIS AND PHILEMON ADAPTED BY C.E. SMITH One evening, in times long ago, old Philemon and his wife Baucis sat at their cottage door watching the sunset. They had eaten their supper and were enjoying a quiet talk about their garden, and their cow, and the fruit trees on which the pears and apples were beginning to ripen. But their talk was very much disturbed by rude shouts and laughter from the village children,... more...

There existed formerly, in diplomatic circles, a curious custom, since fallen into disuse, entitled the Pêle Mêle, contrived doubtless by some distracted Master of Ceremonies to quell the endless jealousies and quarrels for precedence between courtiers and diplomatists of contending pretensions.  Under this rule no rank was recognized, each person being allowed at banquet, fête, or other public ceremony only such place as... more...