Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/491

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The Religious Ideas of the Arunta.

prima facie case can be made out for this hypothesis. If it be possible to show that the ideas in question are advancing from their assumed centre of origin, then indeed the view is tenable that they are encroaching on the primæval theology of the Arunta nation. From this point of view, it is regrettable that Spencer and Gillen do not mention them in their works, still less attempt to show where the boundary between the two sets of ideas falls at the present time.

If the third theory could be substantiated, we should be confronted with the interesting spectacle of a mythology in the making, not to speak of the evolution of the idea of deity. One cannot indeed see why or how the ideas set forth in this paper should or could take the place of the Arunta philosophy of Spencer and Gillen's natives. On the other hand, it is not difficult to trace the possible course of evolution in the reverse direction; but it seems unnecessary to do so until the explanation of the facts here set forth has been attempted by some believer in the primitive atheism of the Arunta.