Myth, Ritual, Prohibition/Taboo

On Google ngrams. (Click image for enlarged view.)

Instances of “prohibition” spiked during the U.S. period of alcohol prohibition, even though the search is case-sensitive (and “Prohibition” would be the more usual way to speak about the alcohol ban, I’d think … you can see that graph here) but otherwise the graph below probably accurately shows the use of “prohibition” in its general meaning of “things not allowed.” I added taboo for more data points about this concept. (Also checked ‘tabu’ but instances of that old-fashioned spelling were almost invisible on the graph.)

Girard speaks of myth, ritual and prohibition (or taboo) as the key elements of religion, of the scapegoating mechanism, which is meant to limit societal violence.

ngram: mythritualprohibitiontaboo


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