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I have a few questions about an article I read:
1. Custom has not been commonly regarded as a subject of any great moment.
What is "great moment"?

2. There is no social problem it is more incumbent upon us to understand than this of the role of custom.
"it is"? or "it " should be replaced by "that"?

3. Anthropology was by definition impossible as long as these distinctions between ourselves and the primitive, ourselves and the barbarian, ourselves and the pagan, held sway over prople's minds. It was necessary first to arrive at that degress of sophistication where we no longer set our own belief over against our neighbour's superstition. It was necessary to recognize that these institutions which are based on the same premise, let us say the supernatural, must be considered together, our own among the rest.
The whole article is in the present simple tense,but this paragraph is in the past simple tense, why? In the clause"... where we no longer set our own belief over against our neighbour's superstition", is the verb "set" in the past simple tense? thank you very much.
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1. great moment means, an important time
2. It's an odd sentence, you're right. I'd replace 'it' with 'that', too.
3. The paragraph is in the simple past because the author is talking about the past. For example,

40 years ago, the field of Anthrology was impossible to define.

4. The verb 'set' has the same form in the present (set) and the past (set).
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(1) great moment = great importance, significance

(2) Using 'that' would merely change the confusion for the reader into a confusion between 'that' and 'this' in the next clause. The sentence, employing both an existential 'there' and a preparatory 'it', is indeed more awkward than it need be:

'No social problem is more incumbent upon us to understand than this/that of the role of custom.'
'There is no social problem more incumbent upon us to understand than this/that of the role of custom.'

Both would be clearer and simpler.

(3) This paragraph is in the past tense apparently because it is speaking of the history of anthropology, and not of how it is pursued today. I cannot address how well it integrates into the rest of the article, but it supports itself well as an independent paragraph. 'Set' is in the past tense.

PS: Hi Casi, nice to see you here. Stick around.