Anthropology of Religion


Anthropology of Religion

A group for discussion of all aspects of the anthropology of religion. Discussion can concern cross-cultural analysis, or specific religions. Any other topic tangentially related to religion is also welcome, including folklore studies, etc.

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Latest Activity: Jul 26

Discussion Forum

Ludwig Feuerbach and Naivety 2 Replies

Started by Kate Walters. Last reply by Tobia Farnetti Jan 28, 2011.

Comment Wall

Comment by Piers Locke on January 29, 2010 at 1:10pm
Presumably you are asking something about anthropological approaches towards the constitution of the mind/body/spirit demographic and the guru business in contemporary western society? Not sure what question you are answering with your question about Eckhart Tolle and 'a spiritual way'?
Comment by Francisco on January 29, 2010 at 6:39pm
Yes, I asking about anthropological approach to the social process through which produces the collection of acolytes and benefits of guru business in contemporary western society, like Eckhart Tolle or The Secret, and similar social movements.
Comment by Ranjan Lekhy on January 29, 2010 at 6:50pm
Primitive thinking, savage mind, ethno-cognition, folk perception and indigenous cosmology like idioms have been invented by anthropologists in the notion of emic view (s) of the subjects. My own mentor Prof. K.K. Misra, following Levi-Bruhl, suggests synthesizing the two extremist approaches: ‘universal-reductionist’ and ‘relativistic-deconstructionist’, “human perception of nature is multiple and not unitary, incorporating the elements of cognitive universals and cultural specificities”. For this he gives an example of perception of nature of the Konda Reddy tribal group of Andhra Pradesh.

Similarly, Buddha also well explains perception (sanna) is caused by feeling (vedana). Perception (sanna) is the aggregate (skandha) which recognizes an object and subject by means of an image stored in memory and is the source of the world of multiplicity. However, it can mistake to recognize a snake for a rope.

Since perceptions vary, it would be important to rethink that it may employ to those Buddhists and their culture(s). Even in Buddhas time his disciples started to preach Buddha’s teachings in different ways and Buddha had to give orientation classes again and again. Even those higher monks (who have some extra ordinary memory powers, out of 84000 verses of Dharma, 82,000 verses were memorized by him, he is the main source of present Pali Canon) used to do mistake understand Buddha’s teachings. For instance, Rev. Ananda who was brother, personal secretary, and store-keeper of Buddha’s teachings, could not realize Nirvana until the last moment.

Empiricism and rationalism have been subjects of debate in social sciences. Buddha sees them in continuity but not in binary oppositions. According to Buddha, mind is the sixth sensual organ through which human reproduce intellect. In this way, can Buddhist ontology and epistemology give some input in our modern social sciences?

Please see Prof. Lewis Lancaster on Buddhist philosophy, perception and cognitive neuroscience
Comment by Stacy A A Hope on April 28, 2010 at 5:23pm
I am quite aware that a discussion in this group has already manifest itself on the current OAC E-seminar topic--i.e. Why do the gods look like that?" by John McCreery--but I thought that it would be fitting to make everyone aware that the series is currently on until the 11th May, so please participate.
Comment by Tame Ramya (Tarh) on September 10, 2010 at 7:12pm
I have just joined in the anthropology of religion and feels it will yields fruitful debates and discussion
Comment by Ian UK on September 10, 2010 at 8:06pm
I had that hope Yame, but it has gone rather quiet and, as as an unqualified person in this area, I am unsure what it means. Any anthropological hypotheses?
Comment by John McCreery on September 11, 2010 at 1:07am
Ian, the one and only proper response to lack of activity is to write something and put it out for others to chew on. Lurking and waiting for others to entertain you doesn't work.
Comment by Ian UK on September 11, 2010 at 1:32am
Ah, John, entetrtainment I do not seek, edification maybe. I am sure anything I might write would be too thin for chewing, drinking more like. But while I am here, I wonder, has there been any research on the rise of paganism in the US? I have read the generalities/speculations in opinion columns, but I am looking for any fieldwork research on the subject. Particularly on the parallels or otherwise to the rise of christian fundamentalism. UK stuff would also be interesting.
Comment by Piers Locke on September 11, 2010 at 4:18am
Ian- You might like to join the group 'Researching Contemporary Paganism'.

Here's a few useful references:
Greenwood, S. 1997. British Paganism, Morality and The Politics of Knowledge. In The Ethics of Anthropology: Debates and Dilemmas (ed.) P. Caplan. London: Routledge. pp.195-209.

Luhrmann, T.M. 1993. The Resurgence of Romanticism: Contemporary Neopaganism, Feminist Spirituality and The Divinity of Nature. In Environmentalism: The View From Anthropology (ed.) K. Milton. London: Routledge. pp219-232.
Comment by Ian UK on September 11, 2010 at 1:12pm
Thank you Piers, the references and advice are most welcome. My qualifications are in Applied Sociology and Psychology and I am not always sure whether I am framing my questions correctly in an anthropological milieu! But my interest in anthropology has been piqued so often in my reading those subjects that I thought I should start looking. Thanks again.


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