Final Exam Review
Part 1 – Short Answers
• Chaos: the center of the creation of myths, that rules a realm of confusion on the edges of hell. It is a frightening
place, where deities contend for power.
- (Ethnographic Example): In Hinduism, Vritra symbolizes chaos as a serpent that seized all the water to
himself in the mountains, leaving the world in a drought, until Indra killed him. Vritra tried to prevent the
world from being made, he represents chaos that existed before Creation.
• Cosmogony: the creation of the world, theories that explain the origin of the world. It is referred to as the navel
of the universe; places that gave embryonic birth, associated with temples, mountain tops, etc.
- (Ethnographic Example): Golgotha is known as paradise, the place where Adam was created from clay and
the place where he had died, Paradise is at the center of the cosmos.
• Sacred Centers is one of Mircea Eliade’s most emphasized concepts. The sacred center can be defined as center
of the world- axis mundi, it is where all 3 cosmic regions meet; heaven, earth, and hell, and every temple, sacred
city is an extension of the sacred mountain, thus becoming a Center.
- (Ethnographic Example): Regarding Iranian beliefs, the mountain Elburz is placed at the center of the earth
and connects with heaven.
• Obligation (with regards to pilgrimage): an individual’s moral duty or a vow made for their kin or family,
significant others, to go on pilgrimage.
• Voluntariness or Voluntary Pilgrimage: an individual makes a choice for themselves to go on pilgrimage for their
- (Ethnographic Example): Everyone goes through rites of passage as to reinforce social order, but in
pilgrimage there is distinction between obligation and voluntariness. Obligation is stressed across several
religions. According to A.J. Wensinck, in Islam, the pilgrimage to the hajj “is a journey obligatory on every
Muslim, man or woman, who has reached the age of puberty and is of sound of mind, at least once in his or
her life provided that they have the means to do so.” However, the obligation of going on pilgrimage should
be regarded as desirable. Going on pilgrimage is a personal act followed by personal decisions, resulting in
significant personal experiences.
• Archaic societies/Feudal Societies: (Archaic) refers to kin-based societies previously known as primitive
societies. (Feudal Societies) refers to medieval societies; people lived in small communities, (agricultural
societies), there is a liege lord that protects people, and maintains social order. These people pay back for their
protection by growing crops on lord's land or providing him with some service.
- (Ethnographic Example): [Archaic societies] – Ancient Egypt, Babylonia, pre-Christian Europe. [Feudal
societies] – Medieval Europe