Nathan Porath: The Hume/Tylor Genealogy and Andrew Lang. Of Miracles and Marvels, Animism, and Materialism

Abstract. – This article focuses on the influence of David Hume’s writings and particular the Natural History of Religion on Edward B. Tylor’s “Primitive Culture” highlighting the Hume/ Tylor genealogy in the foundation of the discipline. It further argues that Tylor developed his argument through three interrelated meanings of the word animism (primitive animism, animism as religion, and animism as ontology/philosophy). Andrew Lang launched his critique against Tylor’s first and third meanings of the term “animism” and in the process revealed the influence of David Hume on Tylor. Lang also raised certain phenomenological issues that are relevant today for the problem of religious experience in the field. [religion, theism, polytheism, animism, spiritual dualism]