ⓘ Cambridge Ritualists


ⓘ Cambridge Ritualists

The Cambridge Ritualists were a recognised group of classical scholars, mostly in Cambridge, England, including Jane Ellen Harrison, F.M. Cornford, Gilbert Murray, A. B. Cook, and others. They earned this title because of their shared interest in ritual, specifically their attempts to explain myth and early forms of classical drama as originating in ritual, mainly the ritual seasonal killings of eniautos daimon, or the Year-King. They are also sometimes referred to as the myth and ritual school, or as the Classical Anthropologists.


1. Sacrifice and drama

Inspired by The Golden Bough, Gilbert Murray in 1913 proclaimed the killing of the year spirit as the "orthodox view of the origins of tragedy. The year Daimon waxes proud and is slain by his enemy, who becomes thereby a murderer, and must in turn perish". A decade later, however, the excessively rigid application of Frazers thesis to Greek tragedy had already begun to be challenged; and by the Sixties Robert Fagles could state that "The ritual origins of tragedy are totally in doubt, often hotly debated".


2. Influences

Through their work in classical philology, they exerted profound influence not only on the Classics, but on literary critics, such as Stanley Edgar Hyman or Northrop Frye. Particularly affected by Emile Durkheim was F. M. Cornford, who used the French sociologists notion of collective representations to analyze social forms of religious, artistic, philosophical, and scientific expression in classical Greece. Other significant influences on the group, particularly on Harrison, were Darwin, James Frazer, Marx, Nietzsche and Freud.

  • when the empire was becoming Christianized. In the spirit of the Cambridge Ritualists and comparative mythologists, Fowler pointed to a Chinese spring
  • the works of James Frazer, Jane Ellen Harrison, and their fellow Cambridge Ritualists At the end of the 19th century, in their The Golden Bough and Prolegomena
  • enthusiastic Anglo - Catholic - when news of his ritualist activities reached Dunedin, anti - ritualist and anti - catholic sentiment was whipped up in the
  • Ackerman, in his The Myth and Ritual School: J. G. Frazer and the Cambridge Ritualists 1991 sets Frazer in the broader context of the history of ideas
  • Architectural History of Exeter Cathedral, 1873. A Challenge to the Ritualists Correspondence between the Archdeacon of Exeter and B. W. Savile on
  • could marry. She became the central figure of the group known as the Cambridge Ritualists In 1903 her book Prolegomena on the Study of Greek Religion appeared
  • increase of ritualism in the Church of England. He had little sympathy with ritualists however, and protested that as part of a university sermon of 1859. He
  • at Cambridge 14 July 1823 died at Brighton, 18 October 1872 was an author and a priest of Church of England who was prosecuted for ritualist practices
  • Tooth, under the Public Worship Regulation Act 1874 arising out of the Ritualist controversy in the Church of England. In 1866, he presided over Hyde v
  • to the designation ritualist being applied to them in a somewhat contemptuous sense. However, the terms high churchman and ritualist have often been wrongly

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