“This is a clear, well-informed and interesting account of Robertson Smith’s central ideas. The theories are set in the context of debates of the day, and their influence on anthropology and bible studies is discussed. An original and fascinating section reviews Robertson Smith’s field work in the Middle East, which was much more extensive and intensive than is, I think, generally appreciated.” • Adam Kuper, London School of Economics
William Robertson Smith’s influence on anthropology ranged from his relationship with John Ferguson McLennan, to advising James George Frazer to write about “Totem” and “Taboo” for the Encyclopaedia Britannica that he edited. This biography places a special emphasis on the notes and observations from his travels to Arabia, as well as on his influence on the representatives of the “Myth and Ritual School.” With his discussion of myth and ritual, Smith influenced generations of scholars, and his insistence on the connection between the people, their God, and the land they inhabited inspired many of the concepts later developed by Émile Durkheim.
Aleksandar Bošković is Senior Researcher at the Institute of Archaeology in Belgrade and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Belgrade. He is the author or editor of fifteen books, including Other People's Anthropologies: Ethnographic Practice on the Margins (Berghahn, 2008).
LC: GN21.S6337 B67 2021
BISAC: BIO021000 BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY/Social Scientists & Psychologists; SOC005000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Customs & Traditions