Robert Ranulph Marett

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Robert Ranulph Marett (1866-1943) was an ethnologist, the only son of Jersey Bailiff Sir Robert Pipon Marett and Julia Anne Marett.

Robert Ranulph Marett.jpg

Robert Marett succeeded Edward Burnett Tylor as Reader in Anthropology at Oxford in 1910 and in 1914 established a Department of Social Anthropology.

Convinced that primitive man had not developed the intellectual ability to form even such simplistic explanations as Tylor proposed, Marett also criticized Tylor’s theories of animism, suggesting that early religion was more emotional and intuitional in origin. He believed that early man recognized some inanimate objects because of their specific characteristics; treated all animate objects as having a life, but never distinguished soul as separate from the body.

He worked on the palaeolithic site of La Cotte de St Brelade from 1910 - 1914, recovering some hominid teeth and other remains of habitation by Neanderthal man. He published "The Site, Fauna, and Industry of La Cotte de St. Brelade, Jersey" (Archaeologia LXVII, 1916).

He became Rector of Exeter College, Oxford.

Works and lectures

  • The Threshold of Religion, (1909)
  • Anthropology, (1912)
  • Psychology and Folklore, (1920)
  • Faith, Hope and Charity in Primitive Religion, (1930–1932)
  • Sacraments of Simple Folk, (1930–1932)
  • A Jerseyman at Oxford, (1941) autobiography
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