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Lecture 4

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Arti Dhand

Tylor: -evolved argument that religious sentiment begins in Animism (difference between what is dead and alive) -a living body has a soul/spirit, the aboriginals Tylor studied brought this view and applied it to everything ‘living’ on the earth (ie: water has personification in a deity) -evolved higher concepts of god gradually Muller: -studied some of the oldest religious texts in existence, through this study he argued that ancient peoples were terrorized by natural forces of the world -had a kind of reverence for the natural forces -would address hymns to nature with hope of making the forces kindly disposed to human kind -language has power of naming and shaping ideas and concepts -as soon as you name something you start to imbue it with personality -through language we give form and personality to natural forces, this is how we came up with the idea of gods Frazer: -was a student of Tylor, carried on same kind of work -published 12 volumes on origins of religion, very influential -said religion was like ‘magic’ in the way that we chant prayers and make offerings to gods in hope of having a good outcome -somewhat more sophisticated way of thinking of relationship between cause and affect Sociological Approahces to Religion Emile Durkheim: -studied Australian aboriginals -through this study coined the term Totemism -more concerned with question of “how does religion function in society” as well as “what is religions function in society” -Totem is something that a society holds to be sacred and symbolic to the society itself -Gods of a society tells us much more about the society than it tells us about god -what a society considers sacred tells us about the values of that society and what they consider important -function of the totem is to unite the group, give identity, give values and purpose to the group, achieve social cohesion -approach to religion can be deemed Functionalist Sigmund Freud: -interested in life of the mind, wanted to understand how we develop psychologically -perspective on religion re
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