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RE 104 Notes for the course

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Religion & Culture

David WooEvilits Symbols Final ReviewthFri April 18 2014st1 WeekSymbolA written character or mark used to represent something a letter figure or sign conventionally standing for some object process etcnd2 Week Evil Eye and SuperstitionWhat is Religionconnection to the divinesearch for truthultimate thingsexpressions of spiritualityReligious Studiesobservable aspects eg social and psychologicalsocialscientific analysis of observations Evil EyeThe evil eye is a superstition that a particular person may cast a malicious gaze which will destroy or harm or inflict bad luck on someone toward whom they are either openly or even unknowingly enviousEvil eye connected to morality envy greed being stingy covetingInvoluntary or intentionaleyewindow toof heart inner beingResult injure or destroy life and health livelihood honour or wealthUbiquitousconstant vigilance needed Elliott 1990 264Especially vulnerable children people with good fortune or social prestigeSocial Implicationsway of marking social boundaries controlling social deviancea way to discredit and hinder opponents because it sways public opinion social sanctionWithin this worldview evil eye accusations are a way to define us and themSuperstitionA widely held but irrational belief in supernatural influences especially as leading to good or bad luck or a practice based on such a beliefDavid WooEvilits Symbols Final ReviewthFri April 18 2014rd3 Week Origins of evil in Western Thought combat myth and religious textMythRather a way of explaining religious beliefs andor why things are the way they areoProvide meaning significance and stability in the midst of chaosoOften connected to ritualCombat MythSocial context of Genesis myth ancient Near EastEarly notion of evilcombat mythndBattle between the gods divine assembly in Near Eastern tales 2 millennium BCEAssociated with creation of humanitySteps of Combat Myth1A force monster threatens politicalcosmic orderchaos2The assembly or head of gods is in great distress trying to find someone to fight the monster3A younger god goes to battle with the monster4He defeats the monster often on the second attempt5His victory restores order and he becomes kingChaosnot an inherently evil god but this role of personified chaosopponent in battlesimilar to role of Satan in ancient Judaism and ChristianityCreation myth compared to combat mythBoth have a deity conquer chaos and create humanityHebrew God conquers the darkness separates the watersdoesnt battle any other gods but elsewhere battles sea monsterBoth contain conflict involving chaos ongoing threatCombat myth solves cosmic chaos before creation but still a threat like in Michael Nichols view of BatmanJoker social chaosKushners view of Genesis 3 though life can appear chaotic the myth can help to create a framework in which individuals understand knowledge of good and evil as what makes us uniquely humanGenesis adaptation of combat mythGenesis 1God as hero creatorGenesis 23serpent as chaos figureDisobediencerealize good and evil
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