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ANTH 209 (39)

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ANTH 209
Emilie Parent

What is Religion Introduction and Definitions Spirituality and religion are inseparable No unique definition Is only the belief in something more than the visible world? Westerners see religions as having a structure Analytic definitions Classification Analyzing what's happening in front of you e.g. Prayers, chants, rituals ∴ If these things aren't there, then it's not a religion Functional definitions Trying to determine the functions of religions On different levels Individuals Society What does religion do to us? Essentialist definitions Trying to find the universal features in religions and to define religions by that Lack substance All types of definitions have limits Very subjective topic General Characteristics of Contemporary Anthro. of Religion Sympathizes with the practicalities of religious experiences Religious experience: religion on the ground, in the populace, and the tensions felt there Emphasizes the local particularities of religious life Attempts to overcome the prejudicial, Western-biased understanding of religion Methodologically and theoretically diverse Emphasizes place Theoretical Approaches Evolutionism Cultural evolutionism All culture start the same and evolve UNILATERAL evolution Everybody goes through the same stages 1850's John F. McLennan E.B. Tylor (1832-1917) Founding father of anthropology of religion Theory Stages of material "advancement" corresponded with those of a spiritual nature Every society has a belief in a spiritual being SB: affect the material world and the life of humans Easy to venerate them and prohibitions are created easily Man could have evolved from non-religious past (least advanced stage) Doctrine of souls All people everywhere have the same capacity to comprehend all phenomena in the known and imagined universe by use of their own cultural symbols and languages Three tenets
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