James George Frazer

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Sir James George Frazer (1 January 1854, Glasgow, Scotland – 7 May 1941, Cambridge), a Scottish social anthropologist, was one of the precursors of modern cultural anthropology. His principal work, The Golden Bough, first published in 1890 and reissued with enlargements in 12 volumes between 1907 and 1915, was an elaborate study of magical and religious beliefs, their origins and their place in the comparative history of religion.

He wrote one of the early definitive models of sympathetic magic, a principle that, regardless of the magical powers involved or not involved, describes many cultural and health interactions.[1]


  1. Frazer, James George, Chapter III: Sympathetic Magic; 1. The Principles of Magic, The Golden Bough: A study of magic and religion, Project Gutenberg