Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 23, 1912.djvu/165
eternal existence, omniscience, ubiquity, and goodness, his "morally pure and high character" being specially insisted upon. But the way in which the author seeks to establish these attributes is often not conclusive. To prove morality, seven cases are adduced ; in two of them the Supreme Being commits incest and steals females, but the author regards these incidents as later additions ; in two other cases the Supreme Being is simply not able to do anything bad, without being positively good, — he "cannot be unjust, and cannot be impure," but he does not promote morality ; the Tamei Zingei of Central Borneo and the Lowalangi of Nias seem to be actually judges of good and evil; the Supreme Being of the Batak performs only an insignificant moral function, as guardian of oatlis. The part played by tlie Supreme Being in the cult and in control of morality does not seem sufficiently set out, but it must be borne in mind that the author is reconstructing from what he regards as "fragments of this ancient religion." It is difficult to agree with his conclusion that the primitive Austronesians had a " high and dignified" religion, from which their present belief is a degenera- tion, but he contributes greatly to our store of knowledge, and dissent from his views does not impair respect for his scholarship and untiring collection of facts.
The Idea of God in Early Religions. By F. B. Jevons. Cam- bridge : Univ. Press, 1910. Sm. 8vo, pp. x+170.
This panorama of the evolution of the idea of God ought to draw multitudes of fresh eyes towards folklore. It will also be found enthralling by the expert, even should he object to some of the colours and a few outlines. It would hardly be fair to Dr. Jevons to criticise elaborately such condensed summaries of his views, and it would be superfluous to praise his well-known lucid and persuasive style. This is emphatically a book to buy.