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But if it not be true, the myth itself requires to be explained, and every principle of philosophy and common sense demand that the explanation be sought, not in arbitrary allegorical categories, but in the actual facts of ritual or religious custom to which the myth attaches.

William Robertson Smith

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William Robertson Smith FRSE (8 November 1846 – 31 March 1894) was a Scottish orientalist Old Testament scholar professor of divinity and minister of the Free Church of Scotland. He was an editor of the Encyclopædia Britannica and contributor to the Encyclopaedia Biblica. He is also known for his book Religion of the Semites which is considered a foundational text in the comparative study of religion.

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