LOCATIVE VS. UTOPIAN styles of religion

LOCATIVE VS. UTOPIAN styles of religion - (Excerpted from...

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(Excerpted from: Robert Ford Campany, “Two Religious Thinkers of the Early Eastern  Jin:  Gan Bao  and Ge Hong  in Multiple Contexts,”  Asia Major  3 rd  series 18  [2005]:175-224.) Locative vs. utopian In response to Mircea Eliade’s universalizing mono-conception of the function of cosmogonic myth, Jonathan Z. Smith, in a series of essays beginning in 1970, introduced a binary typology of worldviews or styles of religion that he would eventually come to label “locative” and “utopian.” 1 This was not a proposed way to characterize all religions, nor, as we saw above, is Smith a proponent of lumping religions together as wholes and then applying facile adjectival characterizations to them. It was rather an attempt to delineate two contrastive tendencies that may be seen at work in some religions and cultures at some times, and it is most useful in its fingering of precisely what it is that makes the two tendencies so fundamentally different. Smith first suggested the typology in the following passage, without yet naming it: One finds in many archaic cultures a profound faith in the cosmos as ordered in the beginning and a joyous celebration of the primordial act of ordering as well as a deep sense of responsibility for the maintenance of that order through repetition 1 The following discussion relies heavily on Smith’s recent retrospective essay “When the Chips are Down,” in Relating Religion: Essays in the Study of Religion (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004), 14-19.
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of the [cosmogonic] myth, through ritual, through norms of conduct, or through taxonomy. But it is equally apparent that in some cultures the structure of order, the gods that won or ordained it, creation itself, are discovered to be evil and oppressive. In such circumstances, one will rebel against the paradigms and seek to reverse their power, frequently employing … the very same ritual techniques which had maintained the original order. Such a phenomenon may be seen in India where the yogi utilizes the structures of the archaic Brahmanic sacrifice—
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LOCATIVE VS. UTOPIAN styles of religion - (Excerpted from...

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