Spirit Possession and Communication in Religious and Cultural Contexts explores the phenomenon of spirit possession, focusing on the religious and cultural functions it serves as a means of communication. Drawing on the multidisciplinary expertise of philosophers, anthropologists, historians, linguists, and scholars of religion and the Bible, the volume investigates the ways that spirit possession narratives, events, and rituals are often interwoven around communicative acts, both between spiritual and earthly realms and between members of a community. This book offers fresh insight into the enduring cultural and religious significance of spirit possession. It will be an important resource for scholars from a diverse range of disciplines, including religion, anthropology, history, linguistics, and philosophy.
Religion and its History offers a reflection of our operative concept of religion and religions, developing a set of approaches that bridge the widely assumed gulf between analysing present religion and doing history of religion. Religious Studies have adapted a wide range of methodologies from sociological tool kits to insights and concepts from disciplines of social and cultural studies. Their massive historical claims, which typically idealize and reify communities and traditions, and build normative claims thereupon, lack a critical engagement on the part of the researchers. This book radically rethinks and critically engages with these biases. It does so by offering neither an abridged global history of religion nor a small handbook of methodology. Instead, this book presents concepts and methods that allow the analysis of contemporary and past religious practices, ideas, and institutions within a shared framework.
Religion is a fundamental cultural factor profoundly influential on human mental health and behavioural choices, and, in addition, family is the most proximal and intimate socialization agent contributive to youth development. Religion, Family, and Chinese Youth Development explores how religious involvement of Chinese parents affects their psychological health and family socialization, which leads to various aspects of the development of Chinese youths. Specifically, a structural relationship between religion, family socialization, and youth development was constructed theoretically and tested empirically in the Chinese context, which can portray the linked lives of religious involvement of Chinese parents, parental psychological health, family processes, parenting practices, the development of psychosocial maturity, and the internalizing and externalizing outcomes of Chinese youths. Undeniably, the findings of this book provide insightful social and policy implications for researchers and human service practitioners related to Chinese societies. By clearly depicting and empirically testing the connections between religion, family, and Chinese youth development, the book can be a reference for clergy, family practitioners, researchers, policy makers, management of NGOs, and graduate students of social sciences.
This book introduces and examines the work of two significant 21st century Christian – Muslim dialogue initiatives – "Building Bridges" and the "Christian–Muslim Theological Forum" – and gives close attention to five theological themes that have been addressed in common by them. An overview and analysis, including inception, development, outputs and significance, together with discussion of the select themes – community, scripture, prophecy, prayer and ethics – allows for an in-depth examination of significant contemporary Muslim and Christian scholarship on issues important to both faith communities. The result is a challenging encounter to, arguably, a widespread default presumption of irredeemable mutual hostility and inevitable mutual rejection with instances of violent extremism as a consequence. Demonstrating the reality that deep interreligious engagement is possible between the two faiths today, this book should appeal to a wide readership, including upper undergraduate and graduate teaching as well as professionals and practitioners in the field of Christian-Muslim relations.
This book is an exploration of the ideals and values of the ascetic and monastic life, as expressed through clothes. Clothes are often seen as an extension of us as humans, a determinant of who we are and how we experience and interact with the world. In this way, they can play a significant role in the embodied and material aspects of religious practice. The focus of this book is on clothing and garments among ancient monastics and ascetics in Egypt, but with a broader outlook to the general meaning and function of clothes in religion. The garments of the Egyptian ascetics and monastics are important because they belong to a period of transition in the history of Christianity and very much represent this way of living. This study combines a cognitive perspective on clothes with an attempt to grasp the embodied experiences of being clothed, as well as viewing clothes as potential actors. Using sources such as travelogues, biographies, letters, contracts, images, and garments from monastic burials, the role of clothes is brought into conversation with material religion more generally. This unique study builds links between ancient and contemporary uses of religious clothing. It will, therefore, be of interest to any scholar of religious studies, religious history, religion in antiquity, and material religion.
This volume examines both historical developments and contemporary expressions of blasphemy across the world. The transgression of religious boundaries incurs more or less severe sanctions in various religious traditions. This book looks at how religious and political authorities use ideas about blasphemy as a means of control. In a globalised world where people of different faiths interact more than ever before and world-views are an increasingly important part of identity politics, religious boundaries are a source of controversy. The book goes beyond many others in this field by widening its scope beyond the legal aspects of freedom of expression. Approaching blasphemy as effective speech, the chapters in this book focus on real-life situations and ask the following questions: who are the blasphemers, who are their accusers and what does blasphemy accomplish? Utilising case studies from Europe, the Middle East and Asia that encompass a wide variety of faith traditions, the book guides readers to a more nuanced appreciation of the historical roots, political implications and religious rationale of attitudes towards blasphemy. Incorporating historical and contemporary approaches to blasphemy, this book will be of great use to academics in Religious Studies and the Sociology of Religion as well as Political Science, Media Studies, History.
This collaboration between two scholars from different fields of religious studies draws on three comparative data sets to develop a new theory of purity and pollution in religion, arguing that a culture’s beliefs about cosmological realms shapes its pollution ideas and its purification practices. The authors of this study refine Mary Douglas’ foundational theory of pollution as "matter out of place," using a comparative approach to make the case that a culture’s cosmology designates which materials in which places constitute pollution. By bringing together a historical comparison of Ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean religions, an ethnographic study of indigenous shamanism on Jeju Island, Korea, and the reception history of biblical rhetoric about pollution in Jewish and Christian cultures, the authors show that a cosmological account of purity works effectively across multiple disparate religious and cultural contexts. They conclude that cosmologies reinforce fears of pollution, and also that embodied experiences of purification help generate cosmological ideas. Providing an innovative insight into a key topic of ritual studies, this book will be of vital interest to scholars and graduate students in religion, biblical studies, and anthropology.
This book explores the shifting and negotiated boundaries of religion, spirituality, and secular thinking in Britain and North America during the twentieth century. It contributes to a growing scholarship that problematises secularization theory, arguing that religion and spirituality increasingly took diverse new forms and identities, rather than simply being replaced by a monolithic secularity. The volume examines the way that thinkers, writers, and artists manipulated and reimagined orthodox belief systems in their work, using the notion of heresy to delineate the borders of what was considered socially and ethically acceptable. It includes topics such as psychospiritual approaches in medicine, countercultures and religious experience, and the function of blasphemy within supposedly secular politics. The book argues that heresy and heretical identities established fluid borderlands. These borderlands not only blur simple demarcations of the religious and secular in the twentieth century, but also infer new forms of heterodoxy through an exchange of ideas. This collection of essays offers a nuanced take on a topic that pervades the study of religion. It will be of great use to scholars of Heresy Studies, Religious Studies and Comparative Religion, Social Anthropology, History, Literature, Philosophy, and Cultural Studies.
The Shakers emerge as the culmination of the century's religious quest, preserving the immediacy of spirit possession while making it the basis for the formation of an ideal Christian community.Originally published as Spirit Possession and Popular Religion: From the Comisards to the Shakers
Although the Great Anti-Cult Crusade links new religious movements to dangerous cults, brainwashing, and the need for deprogramming, Karla Poewe and Irving Hexham argue that many cults are the product of a dynamic interaction between folk religions and the teachings of traditional world religions. Drawing on examples from Africa, the United States, Asia, and Europe, they suggest that few new religions are really new. Most draw on rich, if localized, cultural traditions that are shaped anew by the influence of technological change and international linkages. With the widespread loss of belief in biblical mythology in the nineteenth century, new mythologies based on science and elements derived from various non-Western religious traditions emerged, leading to the growth and popularity of new religions and cults.
Spirit possession is a phenomenon that often elicits a response of fear, particular in those who are ignorant of its meaning and role within its particular religious and cultural traditions. Possession by divine beings (such as spirits or gods) is, however, a key practice in religions worldwide. It is therefore important to gain an understanding of this practice in its cultural context before trying to develop a wider theory about it. This fascinating book contains several case studies that present new interpretations of spirit possession worldwide. The authors show the diversity of possible interpretations and methodological approaches that provide a new insight into the understanding of possession and trance.
This important textbook provides a critical introduction to the social anthropology of religion, focusing on more recent classical ethnographies. Comprehensive, free of scholastic jargon, engaging, and comparative in approach, it covers all the major religious traditions that have been studied concretely by anthropologists - Shamanism, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Christianity and its relation to African and Melanesian religions and contemporary Neopaganism. Eschewing a thematic approach and treating religion as a social institution and not simply as an ideology or symbolic system, the book follows the dual heritage of social anthropology in combining an interpretative understanding and sociological analysis. The book will appeal to all students of anthropology, whether established scholars or initiates to the discipline, as well as to students of the social sciences and religious studies, and for all those interested in comparative religion.