Ordered Universes / Edition 1

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Overview


This innovative introduction to the anthropological study of religion challenges traditional categories and assumptions, arguing that too many of them reflect ethnocentric perspectives long discarded by contemporary anthropologists. The continued use of such terms as “supernatural” and “cult” inescapably communicates that what is under study is not as real or true as the beliefs of the observer. This conflict between the axioms of science and Western scholarship and those of the belief systems under study can be avoided with careful attention to terminology and underlying assumptions.Ordered Universes introduces and explores important anthropological issues, concerns, and findings about the institution of religion approached as a human cultural universal. Klass applies a non-ethnocentric perspective to each topic, relying on contemporary anthropological theories and using approaches deriving from other subdivisions of the discipline. Offering operational, non-judgmental definitions that avoid taking a position on whether the belief under study is “true” and providing examples from ethnographic (and other) literature on religion, Klass explores values, beliefs, witchcraft, shamans, sacrifice, ghosts, revitalization, and many other concepts. In the final chapters, he considers the emergence of new religious movements and leaders and evaluates the continuing ideological conflict between proponents of scientistic, fundamentalist, and post-rationalist systems of thought.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A comprehensive alphabetical reference (abacus to zoot suit) that supplies information on archaic or obscure terms in significant literature from the Bible and Shakespeare's plays to The Autobiography of Malcolm X and The Handmaid's Tale. Such terms can elucidate character and reveal history, fashion, and custom. Pronunciation, etymology, alternate spellings, and examples of literary uses are included, as well as some 800 small b&w illustrations. With bibliography, references, and author/title and subject indexes. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813312149
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/1995
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Lexile: 1410L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 0.44 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Morton Klass is professor of anthropology at Barnard College.
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Table of Contents

Preface
1 At Play in the Sacred Grove 1
2 The Noisome Bog 8
3 The Definitional Daisy Chain 17
4 The Problem with Supernatural 25
5 An Operational Definition of Religion 34
6 The Value of Values 41
7 Assumptions, Beliefs, and Facts 49
8 Exploring Explanation: Why Do People Die? 56
9 Clerical Orders 63
10 What Kind of Shaman Would You Want? 72
11 Community and Conflict 79
12 On the Other Side of the Forest 88
13 The Incorporeal Dimension 98
14 Divining the Divine 106
15 Into the Land of Moriah 114
16 A Myth Is As Good 123
17 Wondrous Portals 131
18 When Worldviews Collide 140
19 The Modern Hosts of Heaven 149
References 163
About the Book and Author 170
Index 171
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