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Preface to the Third Edition

SINCE the publication of the second edition of this book (1900) much new evidence as to the existence of the belief in an ‘All Father’ has accrued. For Australia the classical sources are ‘Native Tribes of South-East Australia’ by the late Mr. A. W. Howitt (1904) and ‘The Euahlayi Tribe’ by Mrs. Langloh Parker (1905). For other regions the ‘Journal of the Anthropological Institute’ since 1900 may be consulted with the book of Père Schmidt S.V.D. ‘L'Origine de l'Idée de Dieu’ published in ‘Anthropos’ 1908–09. For a theory of the mental condition of man in the dawn of religion Mr. Marett's ‘The Threshold of Religion’ (1909) must be studied.

I owe especial thanks to Père Schmidt for his learned advocacy of the ideas contained in the second part of this work (pp. 160–305) and for his amusing account of its fortunes at critical hands.

The study of ‘The Northern Tribes of Central Australia’ by Messrs. Spencer and Gillen (1904) and of the German work on ‘The Luritja and Aranda (Arunta) Tribes’ of Central Australia by the Rev. Mr. Strehlow (1907–1908) has led me to think it highly probable that the godless Arunta studied by Messrs. Spencer and Gillen have possessed but have lost the conception of an All Father which has left conspicuous traces in the belief of the Luritja and the Arunda in Mr. Strehlow's region.

As to the earlier part of the book which deals with the basis of animism in super-normal as well as normal experiences it is hardly necessary to recommend the study of Mr. F. W. H. Myers' ‘Human Personality’ (1903) and the ‘Proceedings’ and ‘Journal’ of the Society for Psychical Research.

A. L. May 1909.

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