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University of Toronto St. George
Joseph Bryant

Sociology of Religion- Nov 17- Lec 08 Max Weber (1864-1920) The historical sociology of the world of religions • sought to establish the interconnections btw economics, politics, war, religion etc. as these interelations shift and unfold in the course of shaping and driving human history • the importance of “relgiously determined systems of life regulation” for economics, poltics, warfare, art , the erotic, education and intellectual life etc .. • starting point: differnig levels or degrees of religious aptitude or interest among individ- uals ‘virtuoso’ or ‘heroic religiosity’ ‘everyday’ or ‘mass religiosity’ • basic orentation is that humans seek supernatural support and aid “so that they ‘may prosper and have long life on earth’ ...” ( health, wealth, status, power, etc.) and they seek assurances of advantages in an afterlife • mass religiously is thus given to beliefs in: • magical assistance and ritual or sacramental grace/ empowerment; and/or • faith in the redeeming power of a saviour god, saintly beings or priesthoods • in other words the mass devotees receive the gifts of sacred power in exchange for worship loylatly, ritual compliance etc. [ external sacrecdness power is received or be- stowed] • for religions charismatics or virtuosi they need and seek a far greater and more thor- ough life or religious intensity and invovlement [ they need internal spirtiuality, holiness within ] • there are creators in religion and there are carriers (Tiager) • charismatics or virtuosi such as Moses and the Hebrew prophets, the Buddha, the Hindu sages -gurus • they must find disciples and followers .... how to attract? they must offer promises, pratices, worldviews that appeal - a ‘program’ that will win support • Messenger Creator + Message+ Audiences Followers= a new religious move- ment • audiences/carriers are socially startifed or ordered peasants artisans & merchants, aritocrats, intellectuals & aritist, warriors, bureaucratic officals, ethnic groups, gen- der etc. - - -> the tenison btw Tradition and Charisma • humans generally prefer order, stability, the familiarity of rountine • religion is one of the most conservative of social insitutions its truths are ‘timless’, ‘sarced’, ‘unchanging’- religions address the ultimate questions of value , meaning , pur- pose • i.e. religion is not orientated towards being fashionable or trendy ‘now’- rather it lays claim to being permament and forever • to successfully launch a new religion to bring about major reforms , requires: • Charisma- extraordinary traits of character, perosnality- charisma is a force that rupturs or challenges traditions • religions charismatics call ppl to a higher , more intense religiousity a “spiritual awak- ening”, a new or higher truth • but charisma is unstable- the leader can fil or pass away, to bring about lasting changes, charisma must find institutional emboidment or expression • Charismas & its Rountinization • kinship/blood • disciples • office (an organizational hierachy) • law, rituals, sacraments, texts • charismatic foun
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