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RELIG103- Final Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 43 pages long!)


Department
Religious Studies
Course Code
RELIG103
Professor
allanwright
Study Guide
Final

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U of A
RELIG103
FINAL EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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Myths jan9
Fable- no truth, authority, credibility
Presents itself as fiction
Ex) The boy who cried wolf
Legend- claims to be true but no credibility or authority
Ex) king Arthur and the nights of the round table
History- claims to be true is credible, claims no authority
Narratives that have sufficient persuasive power to gain credibility
Ex) the cold war
Myth- proclaims truth, credibility and authority
The Christ myth through scripture (Matthew and Luke) showed how Christ
advocated for marginalized parts of society as well as the myth reflected
what was going on in South America
Some are true some are not
Ex) liberation theology
Are an authoritative modeof narrative discourse that may be instrumental in
the ongoing construction of social borders and hierarchies
Bruce Lincoln:
Ritual:
o A method for re-affirming social identities and hierarchies and/or
disputing them
o Counter rituals- people who disassociate themselves from the normal
status quo
o Like myth ritual is best understood as an authoritative mode of
symbolic discourse
o The druids, or Aztecs performed human sacrifice.
o The druids used prisoners of war and criminals since the society did
not posess the need for extra labour hands this was a way to get rid of
unwanted citizens
Esposito:
Rituals are actions which have meanings beyond the actions themselves
Ex) newly wedded hindu couples walk around fire as a symbolic action of
their new path together
Ritual actions connect the individual and the community to the sacred
Consists of symbolic re-enactments of the stories that’s are passed from
generations ex)baptism, hanukkah
Jonathan Z Smith:
Important aspect of rituals is their relation to situational incongruity
Ordinary objects are created into sacred objects through their designation to
sacred locations
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Ritual is no big deal
The object of action that receives ritual attention is usually commonplace
Ordinary objects are created into sacred object
Read text chapter
Emit(insider) and emic(outsider) positions
David Kertzer:
Describes ritual as an analytical category that helps us deal with the chaos of
human experience and put it into a coherent framework
They are not products of natural things, or sacred objects, but constructed
versions of reality
Used by politicians trying to gain power
Individuals become part of a larger political unit through induction rituals
Ex) Baptism, circumcision, becoming a citizen (swearing oaths), allegiance to
the flag
Functional society can only exist if people have something common to tie
them together- usually done through rituals
Rituals are usually in some form of conflict over who gets control of them
Ritual is used to describe, and or designate a powerful figure or divine head
Ex) crowing a royal figure, swearing into office
Orderly social life can exist only if certain sentiments are shared by all
members of society
Thus rituals are the means by which these sentiments are communicated and
reinforced
One of the critical functions of ritual is to produce solidarity in the absence of
any commonality of beliefs
Types of myths
1) myths of nature
stories about forces of nature that govern destiny
can be personal or impersonal
cyclical time usually based around seasons
most common in indigenous practice
2) myths of harmony
common in Chinese religions
in Daoism, one develops a harmony with the universal dao or way
creation works on opposites yin and yang
Confucianism has harmony developed through ritual practice in order
to achieve social harmony
3) myths of liberation
common in India
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