RELIGIOUS STUDIES 200
SACRED & PROFANE
the community is sacred, the individual is profane
he was not just interested in ancient religion, dismissing it as an evolutionary left
over. he was really interested in looking at our own religion, finding an account for
it (not cure it or ease its passing), looking for an explanation of the modern
experience of religion. BUT he looks at the more atomic form in the australian
aborigines because it is less nuanced in his opinion.
uses Spencer and Gillen, two field anthropologists doing ethnographies in Australia.
TRIBE => PHRATRIES => CLANS each identifying with a separate totem
TOTEMISM is the easiest way to understand sacred vs. profane
in these societies of this kind: you can kill and eat animals that are not your totem.
your totem can only be killed and eaten in special ceremonies.
IT IS NOT THE ANIMAL OR PLANT THAT IS SACRED IN ITSELF, BUT THE SYMBOLIC
REPRESENTATION OF THE THING. so the kangaroo is sacred, but much more sacred is the
symbol or idea or the representation of the kangaroo. it is not just sacred but is the
very model of the thing that is essentially sacred. an actual kangaroo is not the
when clan gathers for ceremony, the totem symbol is in the center of the happenings.
TOTEMISM governed the most basic categories and classifications of the world.
THE KANGAROO CLAN DID NOT ACTUALLY WORSHIP A KANGAROO, THE WORSHIP THEY ARE COMMITTING
IS TO AN ANONYMOUS AND IMPERSONAL FORCE FOUND IN THESE BEINGS BUT NOT TO BE CONFOUNDED
IN THEM. IT IS IMPERSONAL. NONE POSSESSES IT ALONE. IT IS IMMANENT IN THE WORLD AND
DIFFUSED IN AN INNUMERABLE MULTITUDE