RLGA02H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Sepphoris, Radical Change, Transnationalism

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Published on 24 Apr 2017
School
UTSC
Department
Religion
Course
RLGA02H3
Professor
World Religions Lecture 2
Defining Religion
Western folk concept of religion: What Arthur Giel meant was there is an idea and concept of
religion and there are ideas and beliefs that people do. Our concepts don’t always relate to
whats in the world. Theres a difference.
Folk: infused with western idea and cultures. Key ideas: supervision involved management of
ideas. Involves it with institutions of religions such as, a church, mosque and temple. Or it
could either be a cooperation. Has some sort of framework of religion..a belief in something
like a divine being. Scripture is a scared information either oral or written down. Our idea of
religion traces back to Europe.
Divine being has characteristics of being monotheistic (singular) particularly in the West.
Exclude polytheistic religions in the West. Very powerful omnipotent. All knowing. Perfected
being, all good. Apparent an authority figure power relation, hierarchy. They are supernaturals
they exhibit a form of transcendence (to go beyond).
Transcendence: off the map we cant relate to them. They think of them being far removed us.
But the opposite thinking is to think the divine being is within us and is imminent.
Taoism and Tao religion in east Asia
Religion phenomena's and the point of listing them is to get us to figure out what they share in
common. All diverse phenomena impossible to link them all together
Shukyo: its Japanese and Japanese interact with the western world so they came up with a
word to discuss religion.
Politically, socially, legally come into play when talking about religion. For example, taxation
there is some tax exemption. Alcoholics anonymous is a meeting to maintain sobriety, they are
confidential a sacred, private setting. The meeting is similar to a confession with a priest.
Key themes and terms for Western history: Roman (Christianity) - Religio <--> Superstitio.
Religio = true and Superstitio = false.
Theres sacred and profane things (non-sacred)
Monotheism: Christianity, Judaism, Islam. Sacred.
Animism/Paganism: anyone who isn’t monotheistic. Secular = non-religious parts of our lives,
nations state, individual, private
Religion is about belief having some type of creed
Religion as “cultural universe”
Primitives/Savages: has some kind of religion
Substantive definition of religion: focuses on what religion is and seeks to define some
universal essence
Functional definition: see what religion does, seeks to talk about religion of a function of
something. Serves some type of role what kind of function it has
Experimental definition: subsection of functional
Tylor theory of animism: religion is a belief in spirits. Religion can be a religion of humanities
and ethical code but not a belief in spirits. So in this case his definition cannot be universally
applicable.
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Tylor is a classic armchair scholar did all their theorizing in their personal library therefore, it
can be exclusivist.
Exclusivist key issue with substantive definitions
Durkhiem he is a sociologist, has scared things that are special and different from everyday
practices. Adheres with the social system of beliefs and practices Functional definition. Why it
could be limited is because its too inclusive
Feeling of absolute independence. Its limitations is being absolute dependent on your parents.
“Religion is a system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long lasting
moods and motivations in Men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and
clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality uniquely realistic.” -Geertz
A system of symbols: more than one idea of something, creates experience and thoughts.
Symbols mobilize us and make us act.
Morass: a confusing situation, FOB, lost in this intellectual mud, one possible solution is
family resemblance (analogy).
Religion is not a entity but a claim
World Religions Lecture 3
Scripture
How many religions are there? Why is the author suggesting we can’t answer that question is
because are we talking sub-type or umbrella religions (Baptist Christian vs. Christian), difficult
to trace back to history, if people come up with new religion. The term religion is ambiguous
and problematic.
The word scripture itself is also ambiguous and complex, doesn’t just refer to one thing
What does it mean to say one person is more religious than others? Why we can’t answer this
is because what is “Religiousness” there is no scale to measure it. A problematic question.
Example) a person is a Christian, if they attend church to prove they are religious but
somebody could still be religious without attending church.
Apocalypse: revelation
Scripture is typically known as a written document but it can also be an oral text
Most written text were originally oral traditions, that were later written down
For example, the Hindu tradition, prefer oral form, transmitted from one Brahmin priest to its
student, we tend to think written is more accurate however, there are counter arguments for that
statement
If there is literature and documents held at a high regard could be a candidate for scripture
Primary vs. Secondary Text. For Jewish Primary = Hebrew bible (5 books of Moses)
Secondary = Mishnah (Oral Torah) - > Talmud
Scripture if often related to a unified, divine, holy, sacred document
Its considered sacred because a community thinks it is
Scripture relates to many things that are grouped together i.e) the idea of a heavenly book
which could be related to many different things
Key one: book of works or book of deeds/actions, especially when referring to the after life
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If this book is sacred and has rules (Authority) then we should follow it
Function of scripture: as holy writ (Christian expression) the document is written and is
manifested in the world, carries the sense of absolute authority
Scripture as a spoken word: orality, aural = heard, these two sides are important when it comes
to scripture
The term Qur’an is now known as a recitation
Meditatio = how they meditated was reading scripture at loud.. in some Eastern traditions they
have some chanting of mantras
Persian religion is the first to talk about judgment and bring in heaven and hell concepts
Scripture has a social function a communal level i.e) ritual, rites of passage
It can be used on a more individualistic life and then gain a more intimate level with the divine
Magical and superstitious ideas can be used to ward off the devil, demons or evil spirits
Scripture being a divine document, its words uphold some type of power
Scripture considered authoritative because of the relationship with the divine thus, it must be
true
Sacrality of scripture: qualitative difference between different types of documents
Most scriptural documents are collected over time
Scripture has this idea that it has been around forever because its connection with the divine
Scripture has seeped in through other parts of cultures very communicative
World Religions Lecture 4
Jewish Traditions: Overview and focus on Ancient Context
Origins of the Jews:
Themes of wandering exile; homeland and homecoming
Ca. 1800 BCE: traditional date of Abraham
Key points: covenant, circumcision
What were the terms of the contract?
Isaac and Ishmael (NAWR-JT, 78)
Ca. 1250 BCE: traditional date of Exodus
Key points: ten commandments; exile; freedom; homecoming; wandering; Moses “sees” but
does not return to Canaan
“According to tradition....”
Abraham:
Land of Canaan
Famines
Jacob becomes Israel (his name of name of people – Israelites)
Moses
Burning bush; warnings to Pharaoh fall on deaf ears; freedom; 10 commandments; “40-year”
wandering; renewal of contract
Homecoming (again) in Canaan
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Document Summary

Defining religion: western folk concept of religion: what arthur giel meant was there is an idea and concept of religion and there are ideas and beliefs that people do. Our concepts don"t always relate to whats in the world. Theres a difference: folk: infused with western idea and cultures. Involves it with institutions of religions such as, a church, mosque and temple. Has some sort of framework of religiona belief in something like a divine being. Scripture is a scared information either oral or written down. Our idea of religion traces back to europe: divine being has characteristics of being monotheistic (singular) particularly in the west. They are supernaturals they exhibit a form of transcendence (to go beyond): transcendence: off the map we cant relate to them. They think of them being far removed us. For example, taxation there is some tax exemption. Alcoholics anonymous is a meeting to maintain sobriety, they are confidential a sacred, private setting.

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