Comparison of Animism and Hinduism

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Edward Burnett Tylor was born in 1832 and passed away in the year 1917. He was the founder of modern academic discipline of anthropology. Tylor belonged to a generation of academics and was raised in a religious family. He was a well-educated individual who began his own career in fieldwork in Mexico and ended up receiving and honorary doctorate from Oxford University where he was the keeper of the Museum. He eventually became the first Professor of Anthropology in Britain and later retired in 1909. Tylor had made different opinions on religion. He defined culture as a complex whole that consists of many attributes. Tylor also came up with an evolutionary view. This view was concerning culture and development and the fact that animism was the earliest stage to what we know today as religious behavior. He also argued that despite differences in the stages of their evolutionary development all humans shared common cognitive skills. Tylor’s main goal was to develop a cross-culturally useful framework in which the evolution of culture could be explained and the nature of is origin could be understood. This essay will go on to particularly talk about some of the concepts of animism that Tylor believes and discusses and will also provide you with comparisons that I have made with the ancient religion, Hinduism.

Animism is the belief in a supernatural power that organizes and animates the material universe. It is derived from the Latin word anima meaning breath or soul. Edward Burnett Tylor believed Animism as a belief in spiritual beings and a definition of religion. Tylor states that in order to understand religion you have to first come up with a definition of religion. He says that most people provide a narrow definition such as a belief in a supreme deity or judgment after death, the adoration of idols, or the practice of sacrifice, or other partially diffused doctrines or rites. He suggests that the definition should be given as the belief in ‘Spiritual...
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