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RELIGST 2M03 Lecture Notes - Gennep, Ikigai, Shinto

Religious Studies
Course Code
Janet Ross

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Religion 2M03- Lecture 2
Exemplary Deaths
Rituals actions that transform, often very connected with sacred texts and can find important clues in
creation stories (genesis).
- start out with everything being perfect with nature and the gods often the humans make a mistake
thus you need a ritual to bring a balance back together (sacrifices done back for harmony)
- sometimes happens on a cyclical bases which can be broad and a community basis
- sacred places that are created, groves buildings, where the human and the divine can come together
- special words said, actions to do, gifts to bring
Most critical piece of creation stories is that it will often tell about a stage of development. For example
a decision made that goes wrong then you see the results to help teach people how to think forward. “If
i do this action what would be the result?”
-When poor decisions made : don’t be too full of pride and arrogant
Anticipatory Rituals
come from teaching an dislike to death. Grimes says a culture wide refusal to
imagine a good death intends to assure that will we not experience one. It comes from European
middle ages take on death....
- Books on how to die well, after the black death in Europe
- The five temptations are: The lack of faith Despair Impatience Pride Arborist
- “As then the bodily death is the most fearful thing of all fearful things”
- In other words the death of the body can mean something worse than what we already think it
means. The death of the body can also have an upbringing of the soul if it is not done in a proper
- In other words dying is punishment for the guilty
Theodicy-the problem of suffering in the world in connection with the being and the divine loving
being (powerful) The idea is that if God loves us he doesn’t want us to suffer and if he is powerful he
can take care of the suffering. Suffering is said to be allowed however because it is a punishment for
sin. Secondly, it is known as a teaching tool. The problem of a teaching tool is that it doesn’t resolve
the issue of children that suffer and are not able to learn.
When Greco roman sank away it was left with personification of good and evil.
Buddhism focuses instead on the what and how. “To be alive is to experience suffering” For instance
major crises to little irritant things.
ARS “ENDING” TRADITION: Death is supposed to make us happy. Heaven is perfect so why wouldn’t
everyone want to go there?

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Salvation of seven deadly sins eating your soul is a ritual
At death the battle for ones soul became very public and sometimes there are very particular people
that can witness it
Eschaton,the end: instead of the focus on a worldwide judgement day, it came down to an
individual’s death. It is a Personal apocalypse at one’s death. The people around them are also
affected though so there is a discontinuity of the community when someone passes.
Pre destination means that when a person is born it is predetermined if they are going to heaven or
hell so death became the ultimate punishment to sin and gateway to glory and keeping them
balanced was tricky.
Now the business of death is heavily privatized in North American culture.
Opposition to Darwin: For a long time the primary opposition to Darwin’s theory of evolution was
the pact that was understood to be between god and humans , a person could ask for salvation (last
rights on their death bed) and whatever they have done in their life they would be forgiven for.
Darwin believed that this pact would not exist if humans come from animals because they would
have to die like all other creatures. His main point was the fear of losing immortality.
Things to NOTE
Phowa, States of Bardo
Eating, re-establishment of life that food suggests with the community.
Mythologizing of death in sacred stories. A myth is a story with a meaning.
Stories are told without a meaning of historical fact. Example two journalists write life on the town
one writes novel on people in the town and the other writes about just one person so which story is
more to life of the people in the town.
Want to always keep in mind the relationship between views of death and views of life. How our
view of death is dependent on how we see life and we have a connection with life after death.
READ ELENI greek myth about graveyards
In many cultures grief is not to be hidden but to be cherished. Grief and death doesn’t come only at
death but during the year at certain seasons.
Grimes says what we need are funerary images not cinematic ones

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Dying in cashie means living forever.
The great cremation ground
Catherine Bell , Rites Of Passage
“raw and the cooked” – levy strauss : how societies take the raw forms of life experiences and cook
them into rituals and ideas. For example taking raw chicken and making it curry or barbeque. Adding
flavours and rituals in order to socialize. Why do Societies do this? Theories: (1)do this in order to try to
get some control over nature. (2) to embrace the natural order of things (not easy to swallow so rituals
make it easier to swallow). Shapes our identities about life and who we and others are. Shapes the way
society is organized and tradition. Will determine what happened at death or after death for example
will determine if a spouse can marry after death.
Cooked structures usually enforce empower and control.
Rites of Passage Pattern
1) Separation: the person is separated from what they were before. Adolescent ritual- separated
from what they used to be from a child.
2) Liminality: place in between. Isn’t what you used to be but not yet what you are going to be.
3) Reincorporation: incorporated into the new group with a new social identity. Ex Big Ally Bride
who becomes her husband’s other half. She loses her own self and no separate sense of self.
We want to look at connections of all three. Funerary traditions are going to move a living person to
being a dead person. Connections between danger and security are also to be noted. Usually rituals
take place at a time when you have to transition or else it could be dangerous. It has to be done
correctly or you will need protection.
Many signs of reincorporation:
New name
New Clothes (robe)
New location
Cleaning or cleansing
In some cultures body identification
Access to new knowledge (sacred texts)
Danger or taboos often associated with events that change structure. Birth, death and sex are a part
of these taboos. In many cultures menstrual blood is seen as power because it can give you life, in
some culture it has to be buried and disposed carefully.
Life long rituals: from birth to adulthood, celibacy to ____. May not happen in
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