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chp. 1- 4

Course Code
David Perley

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RLGA02World Religions western traditions text book notes
Wave 1: Shamanism
A kind of priest, medicine man, soul doctor
Ancient cave drawings depict hunting scenes
Comes from a specific Asian culture, but it has become the generic term for a person who acts as
an intermediary between humans and the spirit world
Wave 2: Connecting to the cosmos
Stonehenge= sacred areas having huge stones in complex patterns
Political motivation ex. Weddings, puberty rites
Important function of priests- was to track the seasons and determine the best times for seasonal
Hilltop tombs/ fear of death/afterlifehigh places were commonly used as burial sites
Associate animals with specific deities
Male gods= strength and virility of the bull/ greek mythology= zeus took the form of the white
Wave 3: Temple Religion
Indo-european priests= language family and cultural system, may have originated around the
black sea
Farming was NOT part of the culture
1st jewish temple- after David had been chosen as king he captured Jerusalem. He transformed the
city into a proper capitol. His son Soloman built the 1st temple
Jewish priesthood was hereditary
Wave 4: Prophetic Religion
Prophet: a person who speaks on behalf of a deity and predicts the future
Zarathustra, left behind a collection of poems devoted to a wise lord

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The site of the temple at Delphi, Greece where a virgin priestess under the inspiration of Apollo
delivered prophecies
Wave 5: The Energy god= the divine
Inspires Important minorities in cultures worldwide
Similar to the principles of modern physics
Underlies everything that exists
The Sage who became known as Laozi- wrote the Daodejing
German mystics such as Jacob Bohme- unground (ungrounded), urgrund (original ground) to
refer to the divine as a primal cause
Wave 6: purity + monasticism (northern India)
Intense bodily disciplineasceticism
Non-violent ethic, goal was to perfect the human potential for purity of the mind
Difference between the indo-european and gangetic cultural systems is that IE= priests were
recruited only from the bahmin social class where as in the Ganges tradition= hereditary
priesthood is rejected entirely; anyone can lead the life of a holy person
Wave 7: mystery religion
Wave of Greek and Roman traditions in which the core teachings+rituals were kept secret from
outsiders and revealed only to those prepared to undergo initiation in the hope of securing a
heavenly paradise in the afterlife
Eleusinian mystery tradition may be the oldest named after Eleusis (a greek town), grew out of a
myth that a young girl was abducted by the God of the dead
Wave 8: God on earth
Avatar- God in a truly human form
Krishna, avatara of Vishnu
Amitabba, the Buddha of saving grace
Jesus Christ, god come down
Wave 9: scriptural religion
Emerged in full force with the rise of Islam

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Living by Torah
The word of god
Gods final prophet
The locus sutra
Creation through the word of god
Wave 10: Fundamentalism
Ex. Children are sent to religious schools to be taught secular values
Reject the authority of science
Tend to be male dominated
Obon= a Japanese festival honouring its ancestors
Comes from the latin term religio- can be derived from religare: to bind or relegere: to go over
Mesopotamian phrase translates to fear of God”
Greek phrase: to honour the God’s by participating in customary practises
Egyptians described Herodotusas the most pious people of the ancient world- the true religious
practioners were those who met the standards of the book of the dead”
Antiquity/ the ancient world
The earliest historically documented civilization was = Sumerian people
Ziggurat = a temple tower understood to represent a stairway to heaven
Ahura Mazda = Lord Wisdom/ Wise Lord”, the pre-eminent male divinity of early
Zoroastrianism. Later referred to as Ohrmazd
Amun/Amun-Re = the principal Egyptian state God. Initially known as the hidden one
Anubis = the jackal-headed deity who was egypts principal funerary God during the old kingdom
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