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Lecture 19

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Antonio Sorge

Anthropology 2R03: Religion, Magic and Witchcraft February 27 2013 Lecture 19: Smith Recap - Smith argued that rituals don’t reflect people’s beliefs, but rather beliefs are incidental to the significance of ritual in religious practice - Rituals are performative – they make the world o Any activity that people perform together (collectively)  By performing that activity collectively – they create a society  Religious ritual then is fundamentally about the group worshipping itself  Imbues in individuals a sense of social obligation to others - Intellectualist approach - Lectures on the religions of the Semites o How the ritual group was progressively enlarged over time  In the earliest social forms in nomadic soc  Sacrifices performed by the male family head  Totems - totemic  Tribal soc  See slide* stages of religious dev – graph o Traced the dev of religion from earliest forms to modern forms - What we notice in studying ancient religion is that the ritual remains pretty much the same, what changes is the belief – the explanation o What remains eternal in religious practice is the ritual core  This for smith was a paradigm for how all cultural forms evolved - Old testament o Certain parts are older than others o These texts tell us about the social form of the soc in which they were written o Compolation of texts originating over 1000s of years about the ancient Hebrew’s existence  Smith thought he could see transition from totemic  monotheism o Oldest texts - Graph explanation – stages of religious dev o Nomadic society  Hebrews in totemic clans – not agriculturalists yet, are nomadic  Have shamanism, nature worship o From nomadic  agrarian tribal soc  Sacrifice changed from animal that hunted or gathered to that raised  E.g. sacrificial lamb consecrated or made holy by a priest and killed in front of the group who received communion as a result o Communion – the group that worships together, essentially worships itself  Worshiping together reiterates your bond with one
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