Birth of Anthropologist Sir Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard Hot

Birth of Anthropologist Sir Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard

E.E. Evans-Pritchard

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Sir Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard (E.E. Evans-Pritchard) is born in East Sussex, England. As an anthropologist, E.E. Evans-Pritchard will become an important figure in the development of social anthropology in Great Britain and will play an notable role in the development of theories about religion during the 20th century.

With regards to comparative religion, in 1965 he will publish his seminal work Theories of Primitive Religion, in which he argues against the various theories which had been constructed by anthropologists along sociological and psychological lines. He bases his position on the great difficulties people have in entering the minds of others — in failing to properly do this, researchers tend to attribute to other cultures and ancient peoples motivations which more closely match those of the anthropologist, not the subjects of the study.

Evans-Pritchard also argues that believers and nonbelievers approach the study of religion in very different ways. Non-believers tend to look for sociological, psychological, existential or biological theories which explain religion as an illusion. In contrast, believers tend to explain religion in terms of how people conceive their reality and relate to it.

Although both agree that religion is an important factor in social life, for the believer religion also has an extra dimension. As a result, Evans-Pritchard will agree with W. Schmidt that religion can best be understood by believers "whose inward consciousness and experience of religion plays a part."


Strange Beliefs: Sir Edward Evans-Pritchard

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