Ritual: Perspectives and Dimensions--Revised Edition

Ritual: Perspectives and Dimensions--Revised Edition

by Catherine Bell
     
 

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From handshakes and toasts to chant and genuflection, ritual pervades our social interactions and religious practices. Still, few of us could identify all of our daily and festal ritual behaviors, much less explain them to an outsider. Similarly, because of the variety of activities that qualify as ritual and their many contradictory yet, in many ways, equally

Overview

From handshakes and toasts to chant and genuflection, ritual pervades our social interactions and religious practices. Still, few of us could identify all of our daily and festal ritual behaviors, much less explain them to an outsider. Similarly, because of the variety of activities that qualify as ritual and their many contradictory yet, in many ways, equally legitimate interpretations, ritual seems to elude any systematic historical and comparative scrutiny. In this book, Catherine Bell offers a practical introduction to ritual practice and its study; she surveys the most influential theories of religion and ritual, the major categories of ritual activity, and the key debates that have shaped our understanding of ritualism. Bell refuses to nail down ritual with any one definition or understanding. Instead, her purpose is to reveal how definitions emerge and evolve and to help us become more familiar with the interplay of tradition, exigency, and self- expression that goes into constructing this complex social medium.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A multidimensional treatment covering the history of theories about ritual and religion, the spectrum of both ritual and ritual-like activities, and the fabric of social and cultural life that forms the context in which people turn to ritual practices and even ritual theories. Emphasizes that ritual is not an intrinsic, universal category or feature of human behavior, but a cultural and historical construction that helps differentiate various styles and degrees of religiosity and rationality. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
From the Publisher
"A very impressive achievement....[Bell's] is one of the most interesting and important voices in the field of ritual studies today."—Worship

"A rich and detailed interdisciplinary analysis of the nature and functions of ritual. Scholars in all fields will profit from this sound and probing study."—Religious Studies Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199889907
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
12/29/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Former Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies, Santa Clara University

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