anth_203_winter_2016_lecture_ten_religion_webnotes

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1 ANTH 203: Lecture 10 Religion After this lecture you will be able: To define religion Distinguish between Religion and magic Witchcraft and socery Discuss different types of magic List and describe different types of religious organisation Discuss different theories for religion Intellectual/cognitive, psychological, social Defining religion Three components to all religions Belief in spirit infusing creation A body of knowledge about supernatural powers – theory about the nature of supernatural power and the relationship between supernatural power, the natural world, and living people A set of practices for interacting with or controlling supernatural power Religion focuses on supernatural beings – establishing rapport by becoming subordinate Religion vs. magic Magic focuses on supernatural forces – control using specific rites or practices
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2 Witchcraft vs. sorcery Witches are people who have unique magical knowledge or power while sorcerers are people who use this knowledge to do harm to others (to perform anti- social acts) 19 th century Witchfinder General – Matthew Hopkins Imitative Magic The magician manipulates a representation of the object or person he/she wishes to affect (such as an effigy of a person) and alters it in the way that is desired; the logic of course is that the effect of the action on the representation will be imitated in the real object Contagious magic Homeopathic (or “contagious”) magic - the magician acquires a part of the object or person (e.g., fingernail clipping or fragment of hair) against whom the spell is directed, and alters it in the way desired; The logic here is that the effect will spread from the part to the whole. Rituals The behavioural side of religion Patterned sets of behaviour for interacting with or manipulating supernatural beings and forces
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3 Types of rituals Calendrical rituals occur on a regular schedule Crisis rituals occur on the basis of need Rites of passage Naming rites, puberty rites, funerals Saman piid sacrifices to a landgod Types of religious organization Individualistic or personal Shamanistic Communal Ecclesiastical Individual or personalistic Each person establishes a direct connection with supernatural beings, who then guard and assist Contact with the supernatural usually comes in the form of a vision that is brought about by some type of sensory alteration: fatigue, tension, pain, drugs, or self-hypnosis (trance) Typically, after a time of trial a being appears and directs the supplicant to do certain things in return for supernatural assistance Shamanistic A shaman is a person with unusual knowledge of the supernatural, a person who has special abilities to make contact with supernatural beings; however, shamans rarely are full time professional functionaries Shamans usually serve as mediums; i.e., they make contact with the supernatural to benefit
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