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a Few Kind Words For Superstition Summary - by …

How did the Melanesians come by the same idea?" (9)


Purpose
Davies wrote this essay to describe the influence, impact & importance of superstition.

He wants to prove that superstition is not as bad as society deems it, and that it does not necessarily indicate naivete or ignorance.
Structure
"A Few Kind Words for Superstition" is a classification essay told in Davies' point of view.

Classification Definition Comparison

Paragraphs (1) and (2) of the essay make up the opening.

Paragraphs (3), (4), (5) and (6) contain a series of ideas and events, classifying the four different forms of superstition:
1) Vain Observances
2) Divination
3) Idolatry
4) Improper Worship of the True God

Each point is explained by a description and an event for a better understanding.

A few kind words for superstition essay - …

If it is one of the goals of religion to liberate mankind as far aspossible from the bondage of egocentric cravings, desires, and fears, scientificreasoning can aid religion in yet another sense. Although it is true thatit is the goal of science to discover rules which permit the associationand foretelling of facts, this is not its only aim. It also seeks to reducethe connections discovered to the smallest possible number of mutuallyindependent conceptual elements. It is in this striving after the rationalunification of the manifold that it encounters its greatest successes,even though it is precisely this attempt which causes it to run the greatestrisk of falling a prey to illusions. But whoever has undergone the intenseexperience of successful advances made in this domain is moved by profoundreverence for the rationality made manifest in existence. By way of theunderstanding he achieves a far-reaching emancipation from the shacklesof personal hopes and desires, and thereby attains that humble attitudeof mind toward the grandeur of reason incarnate in existence, and which,in its profoundest depths, is inaccessible to man. This attitude, however,appears to me to be religious, in the highest sense of the word. And soit seems to me that science not only purifies the religious impulse ofthe dross of its anthropomorphism but also contributes to a religious spiritualizationof our understanding of life.

a few kind world for superstition Essay Example | …

a few kind world for superstition - Essay Example


Description
Davies does not go into any deep and visual descriptions, but he provides enough detail to let the readers imagine all the different events he describes.

Events that I could imagine well:

"I saw a deeply learned professor of anthropology, who had spilled some salt, throwing a pinch of it over his left shoulder; when I asked him why, he replied, with a wink, that it was 'to hit the Devil in the eye.' I did not question him further about his belief in the Devil: but I noticed that he did not smile until I asked him what he was doing" (3).

"If you have ever supervised a large examination room, you know how many jujus, lucky coins and other bringers of luck are placed on the desks of the candidates" (5).
Point of View
Davies writes his essay in his own point of view, so he talks about himself a few times throughout the essay.

He describes his past self whenever he talks about the different events.

Soon accusations spread, as usually happens, because of the proceedings going on, and several incidents occurred. An anonymous document was published containing the names of many persons. Those who denied that they were or had been Christians, when they invoked the gods in words dictated by me, offered prayer with incense and wine to your image, which I had ordered to be brought for this purpose together with statues of the gods, and moreover cursed Christ--none of which those who are really Christians, it is said, can be forced to do--these I thought should be discharged. Others named by the informer declared that they were Christians, but then denied it, asserting that they had been but had ceased to be, some three years before, others many years, some as much as twenty-five years. They all worshipped your image and the statues of the gods, and cursed Christ.

A few kind words for superstition essay

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Shall we then allow these two circumstances to compensate each other, to wit, monastic vows and the exposing of children, and to be unfavourable, in equal degrees, to the propagation of mankind? I doubt the advantage is here on the side of antiquity. Perhaps, by an odd connexion of causes, the barbarous practice of the ancients might rather render those times more populous. By removing the terrors of too numerous a family it would engage many people in marriage; and such is the force of natural affection, that very few, in comparison, would have resolution enough, when it came to the push, to carry into execution their former intentions.

I therefore postponed the investigation and hastened to consult you. For the matter seemed to me to warrant consulting you, especially because of the number involved. For many persons of every age, every rank, and also of both sexes are and will be endangered. For the contagion of this superstition has spread not only to the cities but also to the villages and farms. But it seems possible to check and cure it. It is certainly quite clear that the temples, which had been almost deserted, have begun to be frequented, that the established religious rites, long neglected, are being resumed, and that from everywhere sacrificial animals are coming, for which until now very few purchasers could be found. Hence it is easy to imagine what a multitude of people can be reformed if an opportunity for repentance is afforded.

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Free Essays on A Few Kind Words For Superstition - …

Flourish () Something made or performed in a fanciful, wanton, or vaunting manner, by way of ostentation, to excite admiration, etc.; ostentatious embellishment; ambitious copiousness or amplification; parade of words and figures; show; as, a flourish of rhetoric or of wit.

A Few Kind Words for Superstition By: Davies by …

Few () Not many; small, limited, or confined in number; -- indicating a small portion of units or individuals constituing a whole; often, by ellipsis of a noun, a few people.

A Few Kind Words for Superstition By: ..

All the best manuscripts of PLINY read the passage as here cited, and fix the compass of the walls of ROME to be thirteen miles. The question is, What PLINY means by 30,775 paces, and how that number was formed? The manner in which I conceive it, is this. ROME was a semicircular area of thirteen miles circumference. The Forum, and consequently the Milliarium, we know, was situated on the banks of the TYBER, and near the center of the circle, or upon the diameter of the semicircular area. Though there were thirty-seven gates to ROME, yet only twelve of them had straight streets, leading from them to the Milliarium. PLINY, therefore, having assigned the circumference of ROME, and knowing that that alone was not sufficient to give us a just notion of its surface, uses this farther method. He supposes all the streets, leading from the Milliarium to the twelve gates, to be laid together into one straight line, and supposes we run along that line, so as to count each gate once: In which case, he says, that the whole line is 30,775 paces: Or, in other words, that each street or radius of the semicircular area is upon an average two miles and a half; and the whole length of ROME is five miles, and its breadth about half as much, besides the scattered suburbs.

A Few Kind Words for Superstition. College English …

He speaks of that river's freezing as a common event. Many passages of HORACE suppose the streets of ROME full of snow and ice. We should have more certainty with regard to this point, had the ancients known the use of thermometers: But their writers, without intending it, give us information, sufficient to convince us, that the winters are now much more temperate at ROME than formerly. At present the TYBER no more freezes at ROME than the NILE at CAIRO. The ROMANS esteem the winters very rigorous, if the snow lie two days, and if one see for eight and forty hours a few icicles hang from a fountain that has a north exposure."

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