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Origin and Development of Georges Dumézil's Idéologie Tripartie.
In 1930 Dumézil wrote an article in which he defended the Indo-European character of the Indian varnas. In 1986 he was completing his final 25 Esquisses, research proposals the aim of which was to allow his model of the 'idéologie tripartie' of Indo-European traditions to be applied to his 'disciples'. According to this model Indo-European traditions were typified by a threefold division into functions of society, the world of the gods, and the heroic traditions. These were the functions of sovereignty, power and 'fertility'. This theoretical model was elaborated by Dumézil in a large number of books and articles. Between 1930 and 1986 he broadened enormously the amount of data on which his model was based. To do so he had regularly to adapt and reformulate his model. This was not without consequences for the material which he had interpreted earlier on.
In this study a detailed description is given of this process of reformulation and reinterpretation and the conclusion is that the totality of the various models does not, despite its aesthetic attraction, satisfy the criteria which should be set for scientific models.

Abstract

The study of religious phenomena was very important for early sociologists. It is to be expected, therefore, that they tried to define religious phenomena precisely. For example, Durkheim, Mauss, and Hubert attached great value to definitions of the social phenomena under research. However, they differed on the meaning of the adjective "social". In this article, I examine the implicit and explicit definitions given by these writers. More precisely, the article focuses on the distinctions they made between religion and magic. It turns out that for these scholars the given definitions and the distinctions between religion and magic are ambiguous. The paper argues that, when it comes to defining religion and magic, there were considerable differences between the central members of the Année sociologique. The paper concludes that differences between Mauss' and Hubert's definitions, on the one hand, and Durkheim's, on the other, can be related both to a difference in their initial motivations for research into religious phenomena and to their differing definitions of the adjective "social".

In: Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

Abstract

Van Gennep's contribution to the science of religion can be assessed from various points of view. Most scientists concentrate on Van Gennep's often quoted Les rites de passage. Other scientists call him the "Master of French ethnology" or the "Master of the study of French Folklore". Van Gennep is seen as a heroic martyr, harassed by academic interests. A third point of view concentrates on the question why Van Gennep was excluded from the Année sociologique group. This matter of Van Gennep being excluded from the Année sociologique group is theoretically the most interesting one. Van Gennep discussed methodological questions with the members of this group. Through this discussion we can gain a clearer understanding of the rise of early French sociology. The purpose of this article is to examine those various points of view. After discussing the assessment concentrating on Les rites de passage, the assessment by his admirers Belmont and Zumwalt, I will give space to the discussion between Van Gennep and the members of the Année sociologique group. Important items in this discussion are those concerning the interpretation of totemism as an archaic institution, the relation between individuals and society, the ontological status of society and the empirical nature of social sciences. In the conclusion I will assess those various points of view. The examination and conclusion will be preceded by a biographical sketch and a survey of Van Gennep's oeuvre.

In: Numen
In: The Pragmatics of Defining Religion
In: Decayed Gods
In: Decayed Gods
In: Decayed Gods
In: Decayed Gods