"There is much of interest in this well-presented volume.
Mauss's careful discussion of differences among types of oral rites - incantations, spells, invocations - remains instructive." * Social Anthropology "Anthropologists, sociologists and theologians will be grateful for the first English translation of this important early text by Marcel Mauss ...The notes edited by Robert Parkin and some 'Concluding Anthropological Reflections' by Howard Morphy make this a very valuable item for Mauss scholarship." * Reviews in Religion and Theology "Mauss's foray into the issue of prayer, though inchoate, is as unexpected as it is significant ...Pickering has produced a highly scholarly and indispensable volume ...Impeccably translated ...this will be the standard reference for Mauss on the topic of prayer." * New Blackfriars Marcel Mauss (1872-1950) never completed his Doctoral thesis on prayer.
Yet his scarcely mentioned introduction (Books I and II) of 176 pages and privately printed in 1909, can be seen as some of his most important work.
His argument that much of prayer is a social act will be of great interest to anthropologists, sociologists and theologians. Here, the first English translation to be published, is preceded by a general introduction by W.S.F.Pickering and finally a specific commentary on Mauss's use of ethnographic material.
W.S.F. Pickering, British Centre for Durkheimian Studies, Oxford University; postscript by Howard Morphy, University of Canberra.
Published in Association with the Durkheim Press.