Prehistoric Religion: A Study in Prehistoric E. O. James

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<ul><li><p>Prehistoric Religion: A Study in Prehistoric Archaeology. by E. O. JamesReview by: William A. LessaAmerican Sociological Review, Vol. 23, No. 1 (Feb., 1958), pp. 114-115Published by: American Sociological AssociationStable URL: .Accessed: 04/12/2014 19:47</p><p>Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at .</p><p> .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact</p><p> .</p><p>American Sociological Association is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access toAmerican Sociological Review.</p><p> </p><p>This content downloaded from on Thu, 4 Dec 2014 19:47:57 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p></li><li><p>114 AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW </p><p>ment-avoidance (a) attachment (b) avoidance, (3) positive and negative ego tendencies (a) positive (b) negative. A third category of Secondary Impulses is mentioned, but not listed. It is stated that there are two kinds, (a) inhibitions and (b) aspirations. </p><p>Could not the author's method explain the direction of locomotion by positing two polarity tendencies: (1) North-South (a) North (b) South, and (2) East-West (a) East (b) West? </p><p>In spite of our labors, human motivation still leaves much to be explained, including why any contemporary sociologist would wish to revive such an unserviceable concept as instinct. </p><p>ROBERT E. L. FARIS University of Washington </p><p>Style and Civilizations. By A. L. KROEBER. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1957. 191 pp. $3.00 </p><p>This work is based on a series of lectures delivered at Cornell University in the fall of 1956. Consequently, in such brief compass, it would not be possible to penetrate a subject as would be permitted in a monograph. Kroeber is interested in the "what" and "why" of civil- ization. What explains the fluctuations in style, the periods of efflorescence and decay? </p><p>The answers present very little, if any, new materials that are not already contained in the author's well-known studies on "Three Cen- turies of Women's Dress Fashions" (1940), and "Configurations of Culture Growth" (1944). As an anthropologist, Kroeber is, of course, interested in viewing culture "whole." But he has diverged from the more or less static cross- section analysis of the anthropologist, and em- braced culture in its historical aspects. In this respect he allies himself with Spengler, but he is not nearly so totalitarian. With Toynbee, he is skeptical of the cyclical theories of Flinders Petrie, Sachs, and Sorokin. Neverthe- less, Kroeber proceeds much farther than sociol- ogists of the 20th century would follow. In his grand historical sweep, he reminds us of the 19th century evolutionists. Kroeber, however, does not commit himself to a cosmic doctrine. Of all the colleagues who cultivate cultural history, he is the most diffident and tentative. But, at the same time, he does not attain their brilliant and challenging insights. </p><p>He shares certain fundamental concepts with the sociologists: society is at least partially integrated; the arts and sciences are relative to the social context. But studies of such tapestry dimensions as cultivated by Kroeber render it impossible, it seems, to discern the </p><p>mechanisms of these social relations, which can only be detected by a more microscopic method. Sachs, in his Commonwealth of Art, Spengler and Kroeber, each in his own manner, integrate the cultural elements in what seems to us an implausible sweep. Kroeber states: "There is something common to vertical cathedrals and perspective in painting and musical counter- point and musical harmony-an instrinsic set of qualities which they share.... Another step, we can ally to these qualities of relations of space and multiplicity in Western Civilization certain non-aesthetic features such as clocks, double entry bookkeeping, analytical geometry and calculus, and heliocentric astronomy, which manifest also the qualities of extension of time, flow, gradualism, balance and relativism (p. 102). </p><p>To assert that Kroeber has not found the key to cultural cohesion and social change is not to declare that any one else has found it. Forty years ago, in a memorable essay, Kroeber underscored the "super-organic" nature of cul- ture, and the consequent nonmaterial and flexible nexus between social facts. But that does not make us any more content with the explanation that the form of art changes "at the point at which the values that shape art are exhausted." </p><p>What is distinctive about Kroeber is his utter freedom from dogmatism; he seems to enjoy, and justifiably expects the reader to enjoy, a promenade among fascinating his- torical scenes which he conjures up. It is pri- marily in this, rather than in their articulate, but dubious "conclusions," that his contribu- tions lie. </p><p>JOHN H. MUELLER Indiana University </p><p>Prehistoric Religion: A Study in Prehistoric Archaeology. By E. 0. JAMES. New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1957. 300 pp. $6.50. The author's purpose is to shed light on the </p><p>nature and role of early religious phenomena. In order to achieve this goal James has drawn not only upon archaeological materials but also upon written sources closely connected with prehistoric and protohistoric structures and tablets. He has thus deliberately extended the "prehistoric" period prior to the develop- ment of writing on the grounds that only in this way can the ancient background of religion be understood; but at the same time he stresses the Old and New Stone Age periods as being his real concern. He controls both the archaeo- logical and written records with considerable authority. James has also drawn upon reports </p><p>This content downloaded from on Thu, 4 Dec 2014 19:47:57 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p></li><li><p>BOOK REVIEWS 115 </p><p>from contemporary primitive peoples on the grounds that many of their beliefs and prac- tices have remained little changed throughout time-"the past is contained in the present." This does not mean that he subscribes to the discredited reconstructions of the old evolution- ists, whose use of survivals was arbitrary and haphazard. But he does feel that the kind of intense analyses of primitive religions now being offered to us by anthropologists can be used to interpret archaeological data. </p><p>The value of the book is that it brings together a considerable amount of reference data bearing on the problem of early religion. It is almost unique in adhering to this one aspect of prehistoric culture. The author is impressively familiar with not only the field of religion but also archaeology, having had considerable experience in both. He makes out a fair case for the occurrence in the early Pleistocene of a cult of the dead in which the preservation of the skull and the extraction of the brain, as well as ritual burial and possi- ble funeral feasts, found expression. In addition to man's prehistoric concern with the mystery of death, there was much preoccupation with birth, fertility, and nutrition. All these of course are of great importance in historic religion and magic. The limitations of James' book is that it introduces nothing new in the way of method- ology and interpretations. It cannot break through the limitations of the archaeological data, which after all must be interpreted largely through conjecture and analogies with con- temporary peoples, especially primitive ones. Once the author gets away from the dim remote past and approaches the late Neolithic and the Bronze Age of Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, the Mediterranean, and western Europe, he is on surer ground, for here he can fall back on historical records. But about this period much was already known before the publication of the book. </p><p>WILLIAM A. LESSA University of California, Los Angeles </p><p>Islamic Society and the West: A Study of the Impact of Western Civilization on Moslem Culture in the Near East. Volume One: Islamic Society in the Eighteenth Century. Part II. By H. A. R. GIBB and HAROLD BOWEN. London, New York, and Toronto: Oxford University Press for the Royal In- stitute of International Affairs, 1957. vii, 285 pp. 35/- net in U.K. $5.60. </p><p>This book concludes the survey of Islamic governmental and religious institutions in Otto- man eighteenth-century society by Gibb and </p><p>Bowen. Having examined the nature of this social system before the Western impact in the following century, they propose to devote future volumes to the main purpose of the series which is, as the introduction to Part I explained, to survey the "effects of the Western impact upon Turkey and its former Arab provinces since the beginning of the nineteenth century." </p><p>Sociologists will be more interested in the description and analysis of that impact itself, but the authors properly begin with the period prior to it so that the later Western influences may be better understood. In Part I they ad- mirably covered Islamic law as the basis of the society, the institutions of central and pro- vincial government, and the economic aspects of rural and urban life. Part II deals with public finance and the ramifications of the religious institutions: the "clergy" (not analogous to the clergy in Christianity), administration of re- ligious law, education, the economic support of religion, certain religious orders outside the reigning orthodoxy, and the position of Chris- tians and Jews in Islamic society. </p><p>Even this brief indication of the book's con- tents clearly reveals that the authors are not interested in conventional history. Rather, they want to describe a social system during a cer- tain narrow range of time, with the ultimate goal (as Part I expresses it) of "tracing . . . social evolution and the bearing of this process upon present conditions." This, then, is the kind of history the sociologist and the student of comparative institutions need. It contains a large number of facts organized around some general notions about its subject (although in the in- troduction to Part I the authors urge, in the tradition of some historians, that they aim to present the "relevant facts without attempting to place upon them any construction which will fit them into agreement with preconceived ideas"). </p><p>Their combination of facts and general ideas (despite their disclaimer) is best illustrated in the chapter on the "clergy," a class about which the Orientalists have said many absurd things while sometimes even denying its existence. Gibb and Bowen show the hierarchy of power and function of this "sheikhly" class clearly and fully. On other matters, the sociologist may regret the authors' reticence to pursue general- izations. They point out, for example, that although the state was the protector of the Islamic religion and its law, it did not deliber- ately promote unity within the community of believers; that process was accomplished by more specifically religious agencies. There was thus a de facto distinction between church and state which is illustrated, in later chapters, </p><p>This content downloaded from on Thu, 4 Dec 2014 19:47:57 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p><p>Article Contentsp.114p.115</p><p>Issue Table of ContentsAmerican Sociological Review, Vol. 23, No. 1 (Feb., 1958), pp. 1-127Front Matter [pp.1-2]The Role of Economic Dominants in Community Power Structure [pp.3-9]Industry and Community Power Structure: A Comparative Study of an American and an English City [pp.9-15]Social Power and Commitment: A Theoretical Statement [pp.15-22]Organizational Goals and Environment: Goal-Setting as an Interaction Process [pp.23-31]Dynamics of Ethnic Identification [pp.31-40]Education, Prejudice and Discrimination: A Study in Readiness for Desegregation [pp.41-49]The Fate of Idealism in Medical School [pp.50-56]Authority and Decision-Making in a Hospital: A Comparative Analysis [pp.56-63]Office, Factory, Store--and Family: A Study of Integration Setting [pp.64-74]Research Reports and NotesStatus Overestimation, Objective Status, and Job Satisfaction Among Professions [pp.75-81]Social Status and Psychiatric Service in a Child Guidance Clinic [pp.81-83]A Boxing System for Interview Schedules [pp.83-84]</p><p>Communications and Opinion [pp.85-86]News and Announcements [pp.87-94]Book Reviewsuntitled [pp.95-96]untitled [pp.97-98]untitled [p.98]untitled [pp.98-99]untitled [pp.99-100]untitled [pp.100-101]untitled [p.101]untitled [p.102]untitled [pp.102-103]untitled [pp.103-104]untitled [pp.104-105]untitled [p.105]untitled [pp.105-106]untitled [pp.106-107]untitled [pp.107-108]untitled [p.108]untitled [p.109]untitled [pp.109-110]untitled [pp.110-111]untitled [p.111]untitled [pp.111-112]untitled [p.112]untitled [pp.112-113]untitled [pp.113-114]untitled [p.114]untitled [pp.114-115]untitled [pp.115-116]untitled [p.116]untitled [pp.116-117]untitled [p.117]untitled [pp.118-119]Book Notes [pp.119-123]</p><p>Publications Received [pp.123-127]Back Matter</p></li></ul>