anthro.2 - Religious Perspectives in Anthropology...

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Religious Perspectives in Anthropology Weltanschauung is the corpus of beliefs about the life and environment in which members of a society find themselves. Lee says that material cultural therefore is never purely material because the supreme being is so far removed from our everyday affairs that we can only think of him during prayer. In society, there is communion with the unknowable that generates fear and humility on man’s part; it represents the ultimate reality. The relationship to the ultimate reality keeps spreading that it determines basic actions like how much water to drink or which way to point one’s head when sleeping. It is actually religious instead of material. The Baiga are found in India Mysticism for us presupposes a prior separation of man from nature and communion is achieved through loss of self and subsequent merging with that which is beyond. For many cultures there is no distinct separation between self and other which must be overcome. In animism man is in nature already and we cannot speak properly of man and nature. The Tikopia eat their meals with their dead under the floor and hand food and drink to them. The dead are all somewhat divine so it allows them to be closer to the fully divine ancestor of their clan. In the Maya, before a man plants, he builds an altar in the field and prays there. He must not speak in a carefree manner in the cornfield because it is a temple. The cornfield is planted as an incident in a perpetual sacred contract between supernatural beings and men. By this agreement the supernaturals yield part of what is theirs—the riches of the natural environment—to men. In exchanges men are pious and perform the traditional ceremonies in which offerings are made to the supernaturals. The Wintu are from northern California For the Navajo, art is permeated with religion. Sand paintings are no more art than they are ritual, myth, medical practice or religious belief. They are created as an integral aspect of a ceremonial which brings into harmony with the universal order one who finds himself in discord with it or which intensified and ensures the continuation of a harmony which is already present. Every line and shape and color is visible manifestation of myth, ritual and religious belief. The making of the painting is accompanied with a series of sacred songs sung over a sick person or over someone who though healed of sickness by emergency measures has yet to be brought back into the universal harmony; or in enhancing and giving emphasis to the present harmony. When the ceremony is over the painting is over too. It is destroyed and has fulfilled its function. The Hopi salt journey combines economics with the supernatural because only those men who have achieved a certain degree of experience in the Hopi way can go in this journey and only if their minds are pure and they are in a state of harmony with the universe. There is a period of religious preparation followed by
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course ANTH 100 taught by Professor Williamson during the Spring '08 term at UConn.

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anthro.2 - Religious Perspectives in Anthropology...

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