anthropology of religion


  • Specific religious practices and beliefs • Apotheosis – Glorification of a subject to divine level • Apotropaic magic – Magic intended to turn away harm or evil influences
    • Amulet – Object worn in the belief that it will magically protect the wearer • Animism – Religious belief that objects, places, and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence • Circumcision – Removal of the human foreskin • Cult
    (religious practice) – Devotion to a deity, person or thing • Deity – Supernatural being • Demon – Evil supernatural being • Divination – Attempt to gain insight into a question or situation • Esotericism – Range of related ideas and movements
    that have developed in the Western world • Exorcism – Evicting spiritual entities from a person or area • Evil – Opposite or absence of good • Fertility rite – Religious ritual intended to stimulate reproduction • Fetishism – Human attribution
    of special powers or value to an object • Genius (mythology) – Divine nature in ancient Roman religion • God – Principal object of faith in monotheism • Ghost – Supernatural being originating in folklore • Greco-Roman mysteries – Religious
    schools of the Greco-Roman world • Heresy – Belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established belief or customs • Icon – Religious work of art in Eastern Christianity • Immortality – Eternal life • Intercession – Praying to a
    deity or to a saint in heaven on behalf of oneself or others • Kachina – Spirit being in western Pueblo religious beliefs • Magic and religion • Mana (Oceanian mythology) – Life force energy, power, effectiveness, and prestige in Pacific Island
    culture • Mask – Any full or partial face covering, whether ceremonial, protective, decorative, or used as disguise • Miracle – Event not explicable by natural or scientific laws • Medicine – Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of illness
    • Modern paganism – Religions shaped by historical paganism • Monotheism – Belief that there is only one god • Mother goddess – Goddess who represents, or is a personification of nature, motherhood, fertility, creation • Mythology – Type of
    traditional narrative • Necromancy – Magic involving communication with the deceased • New Age – Range of new religious beliefs and practices • Occult – Knowledge of the hidden or the paranormal • Omen – Portent, harbinger • Poles in mythology
    – Stake or post used in ritual practice • Polytheism – Worship of or belief in multiple deities • Prayer – Invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with a deity • Principle of contagion • Prophecy – Message claimed to be from a deity
    • Reincarnation – Concept of rebirth in different physical form • Religious ecstasy – Altered state of consciousness • Ritual – Activities performed according to a set sequence • Sacred food as offering – Concept within anthropology • Sacrifice
    – Offering of material possessions or the lives of animals or humans to a deity • Science and religion • Shamanism – Religious practice • Spell (paranormal) – Formula intended to trigger a magical effect • Supernatural – Supposed phenomena
    not subject to the laws of nature • Supplication – Form of prayer, wherein one party humbly or earnestly asks another party to provide something • Sympathetic magic – Type of magic based on imitation or correspondence • Theism – Belief in
    the existence of at least one deity; the opposite of atheism • Totemism – Emblem of a group of people • Veneration of the dead – Cultural or religious practice • Western esotericism – Range of related ideas and movements that have developed
    in the Western world

  • In the 19th century cultural anthropology was dominated by an interest in cultural evolution; most anthropologists assumed a simple distinction between “primitive” and “modern”
    religion and tried to provide accounts of how the former evolved into the latter.

  • [16] At one time[vague] anthropologists believed that certain religious practices and beliefs were more or less universal to all cultures at some point in their development,
    such as a belief in spirits or ghosts, the use of magic as a means of controlling the supernatural, the use of divination as a means of discovering occult knowledge, and the performance of rituals such as prayer and sacrifice as a means of
    influencing the outcome of various events through a supernatural agency, sometimes taking the form of shamanism or ancestor worship.

  • [4][clarification needed] In 1912 Émile Durkheim, building on the work of Feuerbach, considered religion “a projection of the social values of society”, “a means of making
    symbolic statements about society”, “a symbolic language that makes statements about the social order”;[5] in short, “religion is society worshiping itself”.

  • [c][11] The perspective of modern anthropology towards religion is the projection idea, a methodological approach which assumes that every religion is created by the human
    community that worships it, that “creative activity ascribed to God is projected from man”.

  • “[15] Definition of religion One major problem in the anthropology of religion is the definition of religion itself.

  • “[17] Today, religious anthropologists debate, and reject, the cross-cultural validity of these categories (often viewing them as examples of European primitivism).

  • [6][7][incomplete short citation] Anthropologists circa 1940 assumed that religion was in complete continuity with magical thinking,[a][8][dubious – discuss] and that it is
    a cultural product.

  • Anthropology of religion is the study of religion in relation to other social institutions, and the comparison of religious beliefs and practices across cultures.

  • [3] Anthropologists of religion are especially concerned with how religious beliefs and practices may reflect political or economic forces; or the social functions of religious
    beliefs and practices.

  • Communal: elaborate set of beliefs and practices; group of people arranged in clans by lineage, age group, or some religious societies; people take on roles based on knowledge,
    and ancestral worship.

  • [citation needed] According to Clifford Geertz, religion is (1) a system of symbols which acts to (2) establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations
    in men by (3) formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and (4) clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that (5) the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.

  • Shamanistic: part-time religious practitioner, uses religion to heal, to divine, usually on the behalf of a client.

  • [citation needed] Anthropologists have considered various criteria for defining religion – such as a belief in the supernatural or the reliance on ritual – but few claim that
    these criteria are universally valid.

  • [b][9] The complete continuity between magic and religion has been a postulate of modern anthropology at least since early 1930s.

  • Religious authority acquired through one’s own means.


Works Cited

[‘In 1944, Ernst Cassirer wrote:
It seems to be one of the postulates of modern anthropology that there is complete continuity between magic and religion. [note 35: See, for instance, RR Marett, Faith, Hope, and Charity in Primitive Religion, the Gifford
Lectures (Macmillan, 1932), Lecture II, pp. 21 ff.] … We have no empirical evidence at all that there ever was an age of magic that has been followed and superseded by an age of religion.[8]
o ^ T. M. Manickam wrote:
Religious anthropology suggests
that every religion is a product of the cultural evolution, more or less coherent, of one race or people; and this cultural product is further enriched by its interaction and cross-fertilization with other peoples and their cultures, in whose vicinity
the former originated and evolved.[9]
o ^ R. R. Marett wrote:
In conclusion, a word must be said on a rather trite subject. Many leading anthropologists, including the author of The Golden Bough, would wholly or in the main refuse the title of
religion to these almost inarticulate ceremonies of very humble folk. I am afraid, however, that I cannot follow them. Nay, I would not leave out a whole continent from a survey of the religions of mankind in order to humour the most distinguished
of my friends. Now clearly if these observances are not to be regarded as religious, like a wedding in church, so neither can they be classed as civil, like its drab equivalent at a registry office. They are mysteries, and are therefore at least generically
akin to religion. Moreover, they are held in the highest public esteem as of infinite worth whether in themselves or for their effects. To label them, then, with the opprobrious name of magic as if they were on a par with the mummeries that enable
certain knaves to batten on the nerves of fools is quite unscientific; for it mixes up two things which the student of human culture must keep rigidly apart, namely, a normal development of the social life and one of its morbid by-products. Hence
for me they belong to religion, but of course to rudimentary religion—to an early phase of the same world-wide institution that we know by that name among ourselves. I am bound to postulate the strictest continuity between these stages of what I have
here undertaken to interpret as a natural growth.[10]
1. Adams 2017; Eller 2007, p. 2.
2. ^ Walbridge 1998.
3. ^ Eller 2007, p. 22; Weber 2002.
4. ^ Eller 2007, p. 4.
5. ^ Durkheim 1912; Bowie 1999, pp. 15, 143.
6. ^ Nelson 1990.
7. ^
Durkheim, p.266 in the 1963 edition
8. ^ Jump up to:a b Cassirer 2006, pp. 122–123.
9. ^ Jump up to:a b Manickam 1977, p. 6.
10. ^ Marett 1932.
11. ^ Cassirer 2006, pp. 122–123; Marett 1932.
12. ^ Guthrie 2000, pp. 225–226; Harvey 1996,
p. 67; Pandian 1997.
13. ^ Feuerbach 1841; Harvey 1995, p. 4; Mackey 2000; Nelson 1990.
14. ^ Cotrupi 2000, p. 21; Harvey 1995, p. 4.
15. ^ Harvey 1995, p. 4.
16. ^ Jump up to:a b Eller 2007, p. 7.
17. ^ Geertz 1966, p. 4.
18. ^ Rathman,
Jessica. “Anthony Francis Clarke Wallace”. Archived from the original on 27 September 2003. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
2. Adams, Charles Joseph (2017). “Classification of Religions”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Archived from the original on 29 October
2020. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
3. Bowie, Fiona (1999). The Anthropology of Religion: An Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell.
4. Cassirer, Ernst (2006) [1944]. Lukay, Maureen (ed.). An Essay On Man: An Introduction to a Philosophy of Human Culture.
Hamburg: Meiner. ISBN 978-3-7873-1423-2.
5. Cotrupi, Caterina Nella (2000). Northrop Frye and the Poetics of Process. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0-8020-8141-4.
6. Durkheim, Émile (1912). The Elementary Forms of the Religious
7. Eller, J. D. (2007). Introducing Anthropology of Religion. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-203-94624-4.
8. Feuerbach, Ludwig (1841). The Essence of Christianity.
9. Geertz, Clifford (1966). “Religion as a Cultural System”. In Banton,
Michael (ed.). Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Religion. London: Tavistock (published 2006). pp. 1–46. ISBN 978-0-415-33021-3.
10. Glazier, Stephen (1999). Anthropology of Religion: A Handbook. Westport, CT: Praeger.
11. Guthrie, Stewart
Elliott (2000). “Projection”. In Braun, Willi; McCutcheon, Russell T. (eds.). Guide to the Study of Religion. London: Cassell. ISBN 978-0-304-70176-6.
12. Harvey, Van A. (1995). Feuerbach and the Interpretation of Religion. Cambridge, England: Cambridge
University Press (published 1997). ISBN 978-0-521-58630-6.
13. ——— (1996). “Projection: A Metaphor in Search of a Theory?”. In Philips, D. Z. (ed.). Can Religion Be Explained Away?. Claremont Studies in the Philosophy of Religion. London: Palgrave
Macmillan. pp. 66–82. doi:10.1007/978-1-349-24858-2_4. ISBN 978-1-349-24860-5.
14. Mackey, James Patrick (2000). The Critique of Theological Reason. Cambridge University Press.
15. Manickam, T. M. (1977). Dharma According to Manu and Moses. Bangalore:
Dharmaram Publications.
16. Marett, Robert Ranulph (1932). Faith, Hope and, Charity in Primitive Religion. New York: Macmillan Company. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
17. Nelson, John K. (1990). A Field Statement on the Anthropology of Religion.
Berkeley, California: University of California, Berkeley. Archived from the original on 2 March 2007. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
18. Pandian, Jacob (1997). “The Sacred Integration of the Cultural Self: An Anthropological Approach to the Study of
Religion”. In Glazier, Stephen D. (ed.). Anthropology of Religion: A Handbook. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger.
19. Walbridge, John (1998). “Explaining Away the Greek Gods in Islam”. Journal of the History of Ideas. 59 (3): 389–403. doi:10.1353/jhi.1998.0030.
ISSN 1086-3222. S2CID 170321617.
20. Weber, Max (2002). Baehr, Peter R.; Wells, Gordon C. (eds.). The Protestant Ethic and the “Spirit” of Capitalism and Other Writings. Translated by Baehr, Peter R.; Wells, Gordon C. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN
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