The Ancient Library
 

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INTRODUCTORY 3

of the popular byways of religious practice, and the observed phenomena in the religious beliefs of other races at various stages of culture, we are tempted to guess the nature of the causes which gave rise to these traditions. Employ­ing these instruments, analysis can give us a broad outline of the course of a development, whose stages it is impossible to date, a genetic not an historical account. And even here there is always the danger that we may have wholly misinterpreted the nature of the fact to be explained, or, witness the discussions of the supposed vestiges of Totemism in ancient Greece, that we are explaining obscurum per obscurius.

It is these difficulties and deficiencies of data and method which lead some English scholars, distinguished for their knowledge of anthropology no less than for their classical learning, to plead for a reaction against the too hasty application of the theories of the ethno­logists to the problems of Greek Religion. Despite, however, their warning and the diffi­culties of the quest, it appears to me to be of service to grope for greater understanding of that " Lower Stratum " of religious thought to which Miss Harrison first drew our atten­tion. A new point of view has to be found, now

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