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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index F > Sir James George Frazer Quotes

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Sir James George Frazer
(1 Jan 1854 - 7 May 1941)

Scottish anthropologist.


Science Quotes by Sir James George Frazer (5 quotes)

As science has supplanted its predecessors, so it may hereafter be superseded by some more perfect hypothesis, perhaps by some totally different way of looking at the phenomena—of registering the shadows on the screen—of which we in this generation can form no idea. The advance of knowledge is an infinite progression towards a goal that for ever recedes.
— Sir James George Frazer
In The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion (1890, 1900), Vol. 3, 460.
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (280)  |  Different (577)  |  Form (959)  |  Generation (242)  |  Goal (145)  |  Hypothesis (296)  |  Idea (843)  |  Infinite (231)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Looking (189)  |  More (2559)  |  Perfect (216)  |  Phenomenon (318)  |  Predecessor (29)  |  Progression (23)  |  Recede (11)  |  Register (21)  |  Science (3879)  |  Screen (7)  |  Shadow (72)  |  Supersede (7)  |  Supplant (3)  |  Way (1217)

It is a common rule with primitive people not to waken a sleeper, because his soul is away and might not have time to get back.
— Sir James George Frazer
In The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion: Part II: Taboo and the Perils of the Soul (1890, 1911), 39.
Science quotes on:  |  Back (390)  |  Common (436)  |  People (1005)  |  Person (363)  |  Primitive (75)  |  Rule (294)  |  Soul (226)  |  Time (1877)  |  Wake (13)

Men make the gods; women worship them.
— Sir James George Frazer
In Adonis, Attis, Osiris: Studies in the History of Oriental Religion (1907), 393.
Science quotes on:  |  Anthropology (58)  |  God (757)  |  Make (25)  |  Man (2251)  |  Woman (151)  |  Worship (32)

The history of thought should warn us against concluding that because the scientific theory of the world is the best that has yet been formulated, it is necessarily complete and final. We must remember that at bottom the generalizations of science or, in common parlance, the laws of nature are merely hypotheses devised to explain that ever-shifting phantasmagoria of thought which we dignify with the high-sounding names of the world and the universe. In the last analysis magic, religion, and science are nothing but theories of thought.
— Sir James George Frazer
In The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion (1890, 1900), Vol. 3, 460.
Science quotes on:  |  Against (332)  |  Analysis (233)  |  Best (459)  |  Common (436)  |  Complete (204)  |  Conclude (65)  |  Devise (14)  |  Dignify (2)  |  Explain (322)  |  Final (118)  |  Formulate (15)  |  Generalization (57)  |  High (362)  |  History (673)  |  Hypothesis (296)  |  Last (426)  |  Law (894)  |  Law Of Nature (72)  |  Magic (86)  |  Mere (84)  |  Merely (316)  |  Must (1526)  |  Name (333)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Necessarily (135)  |  Nothing (966)  |  Parlance (2)  |  Phantasmagoria (3)  |  Religion (361)  |  Remember (179)  |  Science (3879)  |  Scientific (941)  |  Scientific Theory (24)  |  Shifting (5)  |  Theory (970)  |  Thought (953)  |  Universe (857)  |  Warn (5)  |  World (1774)

The position of the anthropologist of to-day resembles in some sort the position of classical scholars at the revival of learning. To these men the rediscovery of ancient literature came like a revelation, disclosing to their wondering eyes a splendid vision of the antique world, such as the cloistered of the Middle Ages never dreamed of under the gloomy shadow of the minster and within the sound of its solemn bells. To us moderns a still wider vista is vouchsafed, a greater panorama is unrolled by the study which aims at bringing home to us the faith and the practice, the hopes and the ideals, not of two highly gifted races only, but of all mankind, and thus at enabling us to follow the long march, the slow and toilsome ascent, of humanity from savagery to civilization. And as the scholar of the Renaissance found not merely fresh food for thought but a new field of labour in the dusty and faded manuscripts of Greece and Rome, so in the mass of materials that is steadily pouring in from many sides—from buried cities of remotest antiquity as well as from the rudest savages of the desert and the jungle—we of to-day must recognise a new province of knowledge which will task the energies of generations of students to master.
— Sir James George Frazer
'Author’s Introduction' (1900). In Dr Theodor H. Gaster (ed.), The New Golden Bough (1959), xxv-xxvi.
Science quotes on:  |  Age (499)  |  Aim (165)  |  All (4108)  |  Ancient (189)  |  Anthropology (58)  |  Antiquity (33)  |  Bell (35)  |  Civilization (204)  |  Classical (45)  |  Desert (56)  |  Dream (208)  |  Eye (419)  |  Fad (10)  |  Faith (203)  |  Field (364)  |  Follow (378)  |  Food (199)  |  Fresh (67)  |  Generation (242)  |  Gift (104)  |  Gifted (23)  |  Greater (288)  |  Home (170)  |  Hope (299)  |  Humanity (169)  |  Ideal (99)  |  Jungle (22)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Labour (98)  |  Learning (274)  |  Literature (103)  |  Long (790)  |  Mankind (339)  |  March (46)  |  Mass (157)  |  Master (178)  |  Material (353)  |  Merely (316)  |  Middle Age (18)  |  Middle Ages (12)  |  Modern (385)  |  Must (1526)  |  Never (1087)  |  New (1216)  |  Panorama (5)  |  Practice (204)  |  Province (35)  |  Race (268)  |  Rediscovery (2)  |  Renaissance (14)  |  Resemble (63)  |  Revelation (48)  |  Rome (19)  |  Scholar (48)  |  Shadow (72)  |  Side (233)  |  Slow (101)  |  Solemn (20)  |  Sound (183)  |  Splendid (23)  |  Still (613)  |  Student (300)  |  Study (653)  |  Task (147)  |  Thought (953)  |  Two (937)  |  Vision (123)  |  Vista (10)  |  Will (2355)  |  World (1774)


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  • 1 Jan - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Frazer's birth.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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