• Henk A. M. J. Ten Have
  • Stuart F. Spicker
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 36)


In his introductory courses, W. Arens did what most professors of anthropology used to do. He was lecturing on kinship, politics and economics until one of his students asked why he did not pay attention to a more interesting topic, e.g., cannibalism. This question prompted Arens to study man-eating, resulting in the publication of The Man-Eating Myth in 1979 [[1]. After assessing critically the instances of and documentation for cannibalism, Arens concluded that there is no satisfactory evidence of the existence of anthropophagy as a socially approved custom in any part of the world: the idea of the cannibalistic nature of homo sapiens sapiens is a myth. When the evidence from all fields on the world’s man-eaters is so sparse, how can we explain the innumerable literary references alluding to cannibalism, and particularly the preoccupation of professional anthropologists with describing and interpreting it as relatively commonplace?


Medical Knowledge Venereal Disease Scientific Fact Health Care Practice Practical Science 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henk A. M. J. Ten Have
  • Stuart F. Spicker

There are no affiliations available

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