Anthropology of Religion: A Handbook

Overview

Religion has experienced growing importance in recent years, and interest in the anthropological study of religion has increased as well. This reference book offers a much-needed overview of the most significant topics and concerns in the field. Chapters by expert contributors examine such matters as snake handling, magic and ritual, shamanism, and the role of religion in particular cultures. Chapters contain extensive documentation, and a bibliography concludes the volume.

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Overview

Religion has experienced growing importance in recent years, and interest in the anthropological study of religion has increased as well. This reference book offers a much-needed overview of the most significant topics and concerns in the field. Chapters by expert contributors examine such matters as snake handling, magic and ritual, shamanism, and the role of religion in particular cultures. Chapters contain extensive documentation, and a bibliography concludes the volume.

The anthropological study of religion is at a crossroads. While fewer textbooks on the anthropology of religion are published each year and much of what is available is decades old, religion is playing an increasingly prominent role in society. Scholars from many fields are reading anthropological works on religion with great interest, and such works are cited frequently in books and articles in a range of disciplines. Religion has been found in all societies studied by anthropologists and is one of the hallmarks of human creativity.

This reference book provides a much-needed overview of the most important topics and trends in the anthropology of religion. Chapters by expert contributors examine the varied manifestations of religion in diverse cultural contexts. Among the topics surveyed are shamanism, snake handling, rituals in particular cultural traditions, religion and altered states of consciousness, and the role of science in religion and anthropology. Chapters contain extensive documentation, and a bibliography concludes the volume.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A survey of the current anthropological study of religion. Looks at the relationship among science, religion, magic, and anthropology; ritual in Africa, India, Japan, native North America, and the European US; the traditions of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Catholicism; and such aspects of shamanism as altered states of consciousness, bioenegetic structural theory, the origin of an illusion and the sacred integration of the cultural self. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313283512
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/22/1997
  • Pages: 552
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.44 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

STEPHEN D. GLAZIER is Professor of Anthropology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Reading "Snake Handling": Critical Reflections 19
2 The Study of Religion in American Society 85
3 Science, Religion, and Anthropology 103
4 Thinking about Magic 121
5 Ritual and Current Studies of Ritual: Overview 139
6 African Ritual 161
7 Ritual Performances in India 191
8 Ritual in East Asia: Japan 211
9 Rituals among Native North Americans 229
10 Ritual in the United States 257
11 The Anthropology of Islam 279
12 Hinduism in Context: Approaching a Religious Tradition through External Sources 305
13 Buddhist Communities: Historical Precedents and Ethnographic Paradigms 319
14 The Pilgrimage to Magdalena 369
15 Altered States of Consciousness and Religious Behavior 393
16 Shamanism 429
17 The Cycle of Meaning: Some Methodological Implications of Biogenetic Structural Theory 471
18 The Origin of an Illusion 489
19 The Sacred Integration of the Cultural Self: An Anthropological Approach to the Study of Religion 505
Select Topical Bibliography 517
Index 523
About the Editor and Contributors 539
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