Religion: Religion and Society: Papers on Cultural Anthropology. OLOF PETTERSON

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  • 1028 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [ 75,19731

    561). The situation was further made ambiguous by the differing approaches of the State, the local authorities, and the clergy to the care of the elderly, the poor, and other highly dependent persons. Fre- quently, the basis of witchcraft accusations was the failure of persons to meet their moral obligations of practical aid to others, and thus to fail to adhere to the normative basis of social relationships in the com- munity. The accuser could then well believe that the accused bore him a justifiable grudge, and that it was the accuser who initially was morally in the wrong. In the rapidly changing economic and social condi- tions of the time witch-beliefs helped to uphold the traditional obligations of charity and neighborliness at a time when other social and economic forces were conspiring to weaken them. The fear of retaliation by witchcraft, was a powerful deterrent against breaking the old moral code (p. 564).

    Thomas traces the subsequent decline of witchcraft prosecutions to the changing intellectual positions of the educated classes who controlled the courts of law, and who were influenced in the long run by the material philosophers. He notes that witch- craft accusations on the local level also began to dwindle by the later seventeenth century as the social strains which developed from the conflict between charity and indi- vidualism were resolved through the full deployment of the national Poor Law which lessened the tensions and guilts which emerged from the social relationships of the poor and those who were better off.

    Thomas skillful presentation of a wealth of source materials, his meticulous marshall- ing of evidence, and his sensible functional- ism in fluently weaving the interdepen- dencies and tensions between religion and systems of magical belief makes this work something of a landmark among works of social history which are of significance to the anthropologist. The book is a pleasure to read and is an intellectual achievement of the first order which deserves to be widely circulated and discussed.

    Religion and Society: Papers on Cultural Anthropology. OLOF PETTERSON, ed. Lund: Studentlitteratur, 1970. 213 pp., figures, map, photographs, tables, chapter

    notes, chapter references. SwCrs34

    Reviewed by DON HANDELMAN The Hebrew University

    This slim collection of thirteen reprints appears to be intended as a set of supple- mentary readings for a course in the anthro- pology of religion. The volume is clearly not intended as a textbook, for it lacks any stated theoretical foci which might connect the contents, and it does not contain the minimal requisites of a reader: not an editors introduction, sub-sections, explana- tions of texts, nor an index.

    This collection can have little interest for North American readers since ten of the selections were first published in leading American and English journals and are easily accessible; and ten of the selections were published since 1960. The more valuable papers in the collection include Rappaport on the effects of ritual on the Tsembaga ecosystem, Peel on the spread of Christianity in Yorubaland, Collins description of peyote ritualism in Taos pueblo, and Spiro, Nash, and Reynolds on Burmese and Laotian Buddhism.

    In short, I see no purpose in reviewing volumes of this kind in the pages of the American Anthropologist; and perhaps the Editor might give thought to instituting screening procedures to include for review only volumes which contain some minimal internal organization to mark them as books with wider interest than that of a particular university or specific course.

    (paper). 1

    Archaic Roman Religion: With an Appendix on the Religion, of the Etruscans. GEORGES DUMEZIL. Philip Krapp, trans. Foreword by Mircea Eliade. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1970. xxx + 715 pp., illustration, appendix, index. $25.00 (cloth). [Two volumes. Originally published as La Reli- gion romaine archaique suivi dun ap- pendice sur la religion des Etrusques, 1966.1

    Reviewed by RICHARD A. BARRETT University of New Mexico

    This book is the English translation of the original French edition which appeared in