Anthro Notes.docx - Anthropology of Religion Ethnocentrism...

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Anthropology of Religion 06/22/2017 ° Ethnocentrism vs. Cultural Relativism Famous 19 th century writer claimed that all religions have: “…” o Central sacred text o Exclusive allegiance on the part of adherents o System of organized dogma o Clerical hierarchy or priesthood o Pantheon of deity or deities o Systematic conception of the afterlife o Missionary activity o Set of practices apart from secular life o BUT NOT TRUE---ETHNOCENTRISM: assuming all cultures do the same thing (ours is right yours is wrong) ° Central Theological Concerns of World Religions Certain precepts found in almost all religions o Epistemology (revelation): god said so, scripture o Eschatology: Greeks: end of days, day of judgment o Theodicy: God is omnipotent so why doe bad things happen o Soteriology: how to achieve salvation o Religion: ever changing complexes of beliefs, practices, and clergies that postulate a spiritual reality beyond that immediately available to the senses: Latin: to re-connect ° Anthropology of Religion: to study a religion by Cultural relativism (instead of ethnocentrism) Focusing on local praxis Holism (as part of a larger cultural system) Using participant observation to obtain emics
Longitudinal study: staying somewhere to learn the culture for a long period of time ° Frazer’s Golden Bough A true classic of the 19 th century. Immense erudite work revolutionized anthro, folklore, and religious studies. Influenced countless books ever since, including Graves’ own classics White Goddess: a historical grammar of poetic myth 3 stages to become civilized: o Privitism o Barbarism/savagery o Civilized ° Forms of Religion Monism vs. Dualism o Believing both in God and Devil is Dualism: separated sources: good and evil two separate places o Monism: good and evil come from one place ° Deism vs. Theism Both believes in a deity o Theist: believes in a deity that believes in a being intervenes in the world, changing world, making miracles and answers prayers o Deity: believes that the being created the laws and set it in motion but is now taking a siesta and the god doesn’t intervene or change the law or respond to prayers ° Agnosticism vs. Atheism Atheist: person without belief in god “no” Agnosticism: person without knowledge if there is a god or not “idk” ° Animism They believe everything is a lie : they think everything has a life/soul ° Forms of Theism: Polytheism: Greeks/Norse: they believe in many different deities Henotheism: kind of like Greeks/Norse but one deity is much more above than others
Monotheism: Christianity, Buddhism: only one god Pantheism: creator and creation is one God is the universe ° “The Evolutionary Chain” Magic -> Animism -> Local Paganism -> Polytheism -> Henotheism- > Monotheism Privative magic and ideas of animal souls became an idea that all nature was inhabited by spirits (animalism) Spirits eventually became locally worshipped genii loci, and then part of pantheon deities (polytheism) Polytheist began picking one god as a ruler over all others (henotheism)

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