Download Anthropology and religion : what we know, think, and by Robert L. Winzeler PDF

By Robert L. Winzeler

Drawing from ethnographic examples came across through the international, this revised and up to date textual content deals an creation to what anthropologists recognize or take into consideration faith, how they've got studied it, and the way they've got interpreted or defined it because the overdue 19th century. Robert Winzeler’s balanced attention of vintage issues, simple thoughts, and new advancements within the anthropological learn of faith strikes past cultural anthropology and ethnography to assemble info from actual anthropology, prehistory, and archaeology. Written as a worldly yet available therapy of the problems, Anthropology and Religion is a key textual content for upper-division classes.

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Faith healing is important for religious groups (Barnes and Sered 2005). But generally, physical and psychological healing and counseling are the province of medical doctors, psychologists, counselors, social workers, and other secular specialists. Religious institutions are involved in the distribution of food and meals as charity to the poor. However, in contrast to the distribution of food, religious belief and ritual in Western society has little to do with the production of food. Food production has become a highly specialized activity carried out by a small number of farmers and ranchers.

RELIGION AND IDENTITY: ONE AT A TIME A second important Western notion about religion is that, generally speaking, everyone is an adherent of only one at a time. To use the most common denominations, an American identifies himself or herself as a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Hindu, and so on, and labels others in such terms as well. More particular identities may be even more important. To leave out the fast-growing new religions, a Christian can be a Roman Catholic or an Eastern Religion Here and There 23 Orthodox or a Protestant, and a Protestant can be a Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, Presbyterian, and so on, while a Muslim may be Sunni or Shiite.

In this view, people perform rituals for various concrete purposes, for example, to achieve success in hunting animals, making crops grow, curing the sick, or sending the souls of the dead to their new home. 1 Raglan states a position generally referred to as myth-ritualism (discussed more fully in chapter 6). William Robertson Smith, a British scholar of biblical and Semitic studies, developed this view of religion, which was articulated at the end of the nineteenth century. Smith wrote in his Lectures on the Religion of the Semites that the religions of ancient peoples consisted almost entirely of rituals rather than beliefs, or rather, that while people had beliefs or myths, they were not very important and were liable to vary endlessly.

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