religion lecture 5

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Published on March 11, 2008

Author: Virginia

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Religion, Myth, and Ritual:  Religion, Myth, and Ritual Dr. James Tate Office: 936 Office Hours: MW 2-4; TTH 1-2 Drop by anytime Phone: 225-4773 Animism:  Animism Thought to be the first form of religion It dates back to the earliest humans and continues to exist today, making it the oldest form of religious belief on Earth Characteristic of aboriginal, native, and all other cultures How did it develop?:  How did it develop? What makes the difference between a living and a dead body? What causes waking, sleep, disease? What are the human shapes in dreams? Slide6:  There naturally aroused a need to distinguish between an individual who was awake and one who was asleep, or an individual who lived and one who did not. Also there was a need to give a reason for the pictures some saw when they slept. The spirits were the people’s explanations. Sir Edward Burnett Tylor (1871):  Sir Edward Burnett Tylor (1871) According to him primitive peoples believed the spirits or souls caused life in human beings. They pictured these souls as vapors or shadows going from one body to another. Thought that people arrived at animistic belief to help explain the causes of sleep, dreams, and death. http://www3.shastacollege.edu/jtate/:  http://www3.shastacollege.edu/jtate/ The website is up and running!!! The idea of the human soul or spirit:  The idea of the human soul or spirit A life, and a phantom Separable from the body The cause of life and thought in the individual it animates Able to enter into, possess, and act in the bodies of other people, animals, and things Some traditions believe in multiple souls Animism:  Animism Humans share the world with a population of extraordinary, extracorporeal, and mostly invisible beings Souls, ghosts, saints, faeries, angels, demons, gods Animism:  Animism Nature is animated by spirits Animals, plants, mountains May have individual spirits These spirits can be benevolent, malevolent, etc People need to worry about them Animism:  Animism Common among people who view themselves as part of nature Do not see much difference between human and other forms of life Is this common in our society? Totemism:  Totemism Ancestor spirits Ancestor worship Taking the name or image of an animal or natural feature Represents a common heritage Common responsibility to the ancestors Evolutionary Theory:  Evolutionary Theory Major influence on most 19th-20th century thought General idea that: Complex, heterogeneous present has gradually developed from a simpler, more uniform past People thought that “relics” of the past still existed Researchers sought to identify all forms of religion from most “primitive” to most “advanced” When we identify the most “primitive” we can see where it began (at least that was the idea) Historical Influences on Anthropology of Religion:  Historical Influences on Anthropology of Religion History Emphasized nature of primitive reasoning Stages of evolution into civilized thought Positivist reaction to historical approach Split of social sciences into psychological/sociological Psychological Emotional basis of religious ritual and belief Religious practices as expressions of unconscious psychological forces Sociological Role of ritual and belief in social integration Concern for the ideational Symbolic aspects of religion Evolution of the Mind:  Evolution of the Mind 3 phases Mind dominated by general intelligence General intelligence supplemented by multiple specialized intelligences Social, natural history, technical, linguistic Swiss army knife Specialized intelligences are working together – flow of knowledge Unconscious thought Stephen Mithen 1996 Prehistory of the Mind How do we recognize the earliest traditions? :  How do we recognize the earliest traditions? Attempts to deal with the “big” issues, questions, problems that we talked about Death Dreams When did people first begin burying their dead?:  When did people first begin burying their dead? +100,000-30,000 BP Slide22:  Neanderthals Cave burials in europe, southwest asia, eurasia Typically single burials Accompanied by stone tools, food, cooked game meat Sometimes covered in red ochre Upper Paleolithic Art:  Upper Paleolithic Art 40,000-30,000 B.C.:  40,000-30,000 B.C. Europeans begin to create personal adornments Cave paintings 25,000 B.C.:  25,000 B.C. Art is a worldwide phenomena Found from Africa to Australia Limited number of examples 18,000 B.C.:  18,000 B.C. Art becomes more common throughout Europe 10,000 sculpted and engraved objects Art for Art’s sake?:  Art for Art’s sake? Anthropomorphic themes Link between social, spiritual, natural worlds What is art?:  What is art? A non-utilitarian object to be placed on pedestals in a gallery Slide29:  The Sorcerer Trois Freres France 13,000 BP What are the images?:  What are the images? Animals People Symbols Caves as sacred places:  Caves as sacred places Hunters gather to perform rituals Sympathetic magic to ensure fertility Success of the hunt Shamanism:  Shamanism Difficult to define Common to hunter-gatherer societies Change in consciousness to communicate/visit with spirits Trances, out of body experiences

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