Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/415

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TOTEMISM IN THE EVOLUTION OF THEOLOGY.

among those clans who have what is called a split totem—that is, parts of animals—only a special part is forbidden as food. Dr. Robertson Smith, who has given us so many evidences of totemism among the Semites, says, "In totemism, and in no other system, laws of forbidden food have a direct religious interpretation, and form the principal criterion by which the members of one stock and religion are marked off from all the others." Colonel Garrick Mallery, in his highly suggestive address, before the Association for the Advancement of Science, on the Israelite and Indian, assures us that "the survival of totemism may be inferred from the lists of forbidden food in Leviticus, xi, and Deuteronomy, xiv. It would appear that, at about the time of the Exodus, the Israelites were organized upon the basis of families or clans, tracing through female lines, and named Hezir (swine), Achbor (mouse), Aiah (kite), Arod (wild ass), Shapan (coney), and so on.

Each of the clans refrained from eating the totem animal, or only ate it sacramentally. As the totemic organization declined, the origin would be lost, but the custom lasted, and when the legislation was codified it was incorporated in the code.[1]

The primary meaning of sacrifice, is food offered to the gods, for they were supposed to partake of the gifts of food. In Greece originally each clan had its own gods, which were real totem ancestors. Apollo Lycius had his statue in wolf form at the Lyceum, and, at this god's sanctuary in Sicyon, "legend preserves the memory of the time when flesh was actually set forth for the wolves, as totem-worshipers habitually set forth food for their sacred animals." Prof. Smith states that even the highest antique religions show by unmistakable signs that in their origin sacrifices were literally "the food of the gods."

In Israel the conception, against which the author of the fiftieth Psalm protests so strongly, was never eliminated from the priestly ritual in which the sacrifices are called "food of the deity" (Leviticus, xxi).[2] The idea of a relation between the god and an individual was never grasped by primitive peoples, but they thought the relation existed between the deities and some social group, such as a tribe, clan, or nation. This peculiar method of thought gave rise to the belief that in any offense committed by one member of the tribe all were equally guilty; consequently, when any calamity came upon them it was an evidence that some sin had been committed that must be expiated. This childish fanoy developed into atoning sacrifices, the primordial germ of which is found in the worship of totem deities. It is evident that human sacrifices predominated in early times, but as people be-


  1. See Popular Science Monthly for November and December, 1889.
  2. See article Sacrifices, Encyclopædia Britannica, ninth edition.