Religions in Practice: An Approach to the Anthropology of Religion / Edition 5

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This widely used textbook offers a unique perspective on how people engage in everyday religious practices--such as prayer, sacrifice, initiation, and healing--by investigating broad-scale issues, such as transnationalism, gender, and religious laws.

No other text examines the full spectrum of religions, from small-scale societies to full-blown “world religious movements.” The in-depth treatment of Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity is of particular interest to students, and is easily expanded to include field projects directly related to material covered in the text. As one reviewer writes, “In our post 9/11 era, it is great to have a book whose author has done fieldwork in Indonesia and is so knowledgeable about Islam.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205795253
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 5/13/2010
  • Series: Pearson Custom Anthropology Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

John R. Bowen is a Dunbar-Van Cleve Professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, where he teaches Sociocultural Anthropology. His research currently focuses on comparative social studies of Islam across the world, and his ethnographic studies take place in Indonesia, France, and England.

Dr. Bowen works with colleagues in several other departments as director of the Pluralism, Politics, and Religion Initiative, which holds regular workshops on questions of religious and political pluralism, and has created a collaborative graduate training program with partner universities in Europe—as of 2009, in Paris, Utrecht, and Göttingen.

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Table of Contents

Preface xi

Chapter 1 Studying Religion through Practice 1

What Is “Religion”? 2

An Anthropological Approach to Religion 4

How is Anthropology Distinctive? 6

Practices, Contexts, and Diversity 7

Chapter 2 The Twin Transformations of “Religion” 9

Axial Age Transformations 9

Enlightenment Transformations 12

Social Theory and the Anthropology of Religion 15

Religion as Intellectual Activity 16

Religions in Social Life 19

The Psychology of Religion 25

Symbols between Society and the Individual 28

Conclusions 29

For Debate 29

Chapter 3 Domains and Boundaries of “Religion” 30

Combining Religious Practices in Japan 30

Practice and Belief 31

Shinto and Spirits 32

Spirits and Social Change 33

Buddhism and Souls 35

The State and Religion 37

Imposed Definitions of Religion 40

Wana Practices and Indonesian Definitions 42

The Case of Islam 43

Conclusions 45

For Debate 46

Films to See 46

Chapter 4 Rituals of Transition 47

Rites of Passage 48

The Pilgrimage to Mecca 49

Death Ritual and the Social Order 56

From Spirit to Household God in Japan 56

Regenerating Life from Death 58

Asmat Headhunting and Birth through Death 58

Secondary Burial 61

Grief and Ritual Form 63

Conclusions 66

Films to See 66

Chapter 5 Healing through Religion 67

Christian Science 67

Narratives and Pain Relief 68

Modern Magic in Japanese New Religions 70

Magic and Religion 75

Healing Muslims–and Hindus? 76

What Does Science Have to Say? 79

Conclusions 82

For Debate 82

Films to See 82

Chapter 6 Sorcery, Witchcraft, and Modernity 83

La Sorcellerie in Cameroon 84

Azande Oracles 86

Sorcery and Modernity 88

Witchcraft as Satan versus God 92

Conclusions 100

For Debate 100

Films to See 100

Chapter 7 Worship, Hierarchy, Conflict: Focus on Hinduism 101

Sacrifice, Offerings, and Deities 101

Bathing at Benares 110

Muslim—Hindu Violence 112

Explaining Where Violence Occurred 114

Conclusions 116

Films to See 116

Chapter 8 Imagery and Faith: Focus on Worldwide Catholicism 117

Relics and Images in Catholicism 117

Mary and Marys in European Societies 123

Conclusions 131

For Debate 131

Films to See 131

Chapter 9 Transatlantic Religion 132

Mary in Mesoamerica 132

Transnational Religion: Africa and Brazil across the Atlantic 135

The Black Atlantic 139

Black Carib Religion in Africa, Honduras, and New York City 140

Conclusions 142

Films to See 142

Chapter 10 Speech and Power 143

Quality and Memory 144

The Qur’ân as Recitation of God’s Speech 146

The Creative Power of Navajo Speech and Song 152

Speech and Grace in Protestant Churches 154

The Letter and the Spirit of Scripture 155

Election and Signs 156

Singing and Certainty among U.S. Primitive Baptists 159

Charismatic and Pentecostal Churches 162

Conclusions 164

Films to See 165

Chapter 11 Authority and Leaders 166

Authority Figures 166

Saints 167

Prophets 172

Mormons 175

Muslims 180

Muhammad as Messenger and Prophet 180

The Development of the Shi’i 181

Masters and Disciples in Sufi Orders 182

Conclusions 183

Chapter 12 New Religious Movements 184

Revivalist Movements 184

Land, Wealth, and Religious Visions 185

Cults, Recruitment, and Violence 187

Aum Shinrikyo 187

Order of the Solar Temple 188

Why Do People Join Violent Movements? 192

Conclusions 195

For Debate 195

Films to See 195

Chapter 13 Migration and Adaptation: Focus on Muslims in Europe 196

Migration and Transnational Ties 197

Transnational Islam in Three Senses 202

Can European Societies Be Muslim? 205

Conclusions 209

For Debate 209

Films to See 209

Chapter 14 Virtual Religion 210

What Can You Do Online? 210

Creole Spaces 212

Information, Communication, and Performance 214

Experience and Community 219

Comparative Communities 223

Conclusions 225

For Debate 1 225

For Debate 2 226

Films to See 226

Chapter 15 Secularisms and Religions in Modern States 227

How to Think About “Secular States” 227

Secularism and Pluralism in the United States 229

Secularism and Public Religion: Three European Variants 233

When Religion Underlies Law 237

Conclusions 243

For Debate 243

Films to See 244

References 245

Index 254

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