Note for REL 100 with Professor Jacobs at UA-Intro To Religious Studies
Note for REL 100 with Professor Jacobs at UA-Intro To Religious Studies
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by an elite notetaker on Friday February 6, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to a course at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by a professor in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 43 views.
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Date Created: 02/06/15
REL 100 INTRODUCTION TO RELIGIOUS STUDIESquot The Academic Study of Religion Requires the Practical Skills of 1 Interpretation 2 Translation 3 Understanding amp 4 Analysis 1 Organizes 2 Systematizes 3 Compares 4 Redescribes amp 5 Analyzes the Data 2 Requires Knowledge of 1 Anthropology 2 Economics 3 History 4 Language 5 Linguistics 6 Literature 7 Philosophy 8 Political Science 9 Psychology 10 Sociology amp 11 Theology Studying Religion quotThe modern critical study of religion looks not only to the positive contributions that religion has made but also to the suffering it has caused and the destruction it has wroughtquot The Academic Study of Religion Problem The Question of Authority Which Perspective is Authoritativequot 1 Which viewpoint is to be authorized 2 Is etic scholarship to bejudged by the informant 3 Is the informant to be judged by the comparative conclusions reached by the observer 4 Does scholarship operate apart from the concerns of insiders or is it intimately connected to their lives 5 Is the goal of scholarship on human behavior belief and institutions to have the people whom we are studying agree with our conclusions and generalizations or is it instead the goal of developing logical scientific theories on why it is that humans do this or that in the first place regardless of what they think 6 To whom do scholars of human behavior answer The Academic Study of Religion Problem The Question of Definition Emile Durkheim 18581917 on Religion A religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things that is to say things that are set apart and forbidden beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a Church sic all those who adhere to them 1 Religion is awareness expressed through symbols of relationship to or participation in the fundamental power of life 2 Religions are symbol systems which facilitate relationship to or participation in what the members understand to be the fundamental power of life According to Professor Jonathan Z Smith religion is solely the creation of the scholar s study It is created for the scholar s analytic purposes by his sic imaginative acts of comparison and generalization Religion has no independent existence apart from the academy 1982 The Academic Study of Religion Problem Insider vs Outsider Emic vs Etic Jacob Neusner on Faith and Scholarship 1 How does the practitioner of a faith negotiate the con icts between the af rmations of the tradition and the results of critical analysis 2 How does one understand hisher position visavis one s readers and students 3 How does one avoid that which is unseemly apologetics through suppressing what contradicts contemporary sensibility 4 Is there no place in departments of religious studies forthe representation of conviction or should faith be left off campus 5 Where are the acute not merely chronic tensions between faith and scholarship Answer Two unremitting sources of controversy a The political problem is not to be ignored b The cultural problem derives from the premise that the academic study of religion that Judaism is a religion to be studied like any other religion compared and contrasted as well Types of THEORY gtExplanatory Why Questions of causality gtnterpretive Theories of meaning culturally specific universal Daniel L Pals Seven Eight Theories of Religion Introduction the business of defining religion is closely linked to the enterprise of explaining it the matter of definitions is considerably more difficult than common sense at rst look would have lead us to believe Theories ofreligion no less than definitions may also be either functional or substantive in character with theories of religion no less than with de nitions the seemingly simple often masks the deceptively complex Animism and Magic E B T Tylor 18321917 amp J G Frazer 1854 1941 two great laws of culture come clearly into view 1 the principle of psychic unity or uniformity within the human race 2 the pattern of intellectual evolution or improvement over time the essence of religion like mythology seems to be animism the belief in living personal powers behind all things scienti c analysis ethnology the ethnologist gathers facts classi es and compares them and searches for underlying principles what she has found Primitive thinking is in fact governed not by one but by two quite difference systems of ideas the one is magic the other religion Understanding both of these and the connection between them is the key that offers entry into the primitive mind Magic is built on the assumption that once a proper ritual or action is completed its natural effects must occur as prescribed Religion and Personality Sigmund Freud 18561939 Freud found no reason to believe in God and therefore saw no value or Purpose in the rituals of religious life religious beliefs are in the end delusionsthey cannot pass the test of the scienti c methodthe only way we have of reliably telling us what is true and what is not Religion that persists into the present age of human history can only be a sign of illness to begin to leave it behind is the first signal of healthin the deep psychological needs they fill and the unconscious emotions they express Society as Sacred Emile Durkheim 18581917 The critical distinction is between the sacred and the profane The totem is simultaneously the symbol of both the god and the clan because the god and the clan are really the same thing Karl Marx 18181883 Economic realities determine human behavior human history is the story of class struggle Religion he says is pure illusion Worse it is an illusion with most definitely evil consequences Religion is so fully determined by economics that it is pointless to consider any of its doctrines or beliefs on their own merits Mircea Eliade 19071986 The profane isthe realm of everyday business of things ordinary random and largely unimportant The sacred is just the opposite It is the sphere ofthe supernatural of things extraordinary memorable and momentous The language ofthe sacred is to be found in symbols and in mythsA myth is notjust one image or sign it is a sequence of images put into the shape of a story E E EvansPritchard 19021973 A theorist ofreligion who actually entered two primitive sic societies learned their languages lived for a time by their customs and carefully studied them in action Clifford Geertz 19262006 RELIGION 1 A SYSTEM OF SYMBOLS WHICH ACT TO 2 ESTABLISH POWERFUL PERVASIVE AND LONGLASTING MOODS AND MOTIVATIONS IN MEN sic BY 3 FORMULATING CONCEPTIONS OF A GENERAL ORDER OF EXISTENCE AND 4 CLOTHING THESE CONCEPTIONS WITH SUCH AN AURA OF FACTUALITY THAT 5 THE MOODS AND MOTIVATIONS SEEM UNIQUELY REALISTIC CULTURE A PATTERN OF MEANINGSquot OR IDEAS CARRIED IN SYMBOLS BY WHICH PEOPLE PASS ALONG THEIR KNOWLEDGE OF LIFE AND EXPRESS THEIR ATTITUDES TOWARD IT The Four 4 Classical Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Religion 1 Evolutionary focusing on change 2 Functionalist focusing on social glue 3 Psychodynamic focusing on human experience 4 Symbolic focusing on cultural context and code Nye Rituals are just one particular type of bodily place in which religiosity is practicedquot Eight particular ways of looking at rituals 1 meaning 2 symbolism 3 communication 4 performance 5 society 6 repetition 7 transformation 8 power Types of Religious Ritual 1 Lifecycle Rituals 2 LifeCrisis Rituals 3 Periodic Cyclical Rituals Gender is a very important category of analysis for the study of religion and culturethere are other categories of difference as well as gender such as race class ethnicity age and sexuality There is no essential basis for gender instead gender is dependent on what each particular culture holds gender to be if we take the assumption that gender is culturally constructed then one could also argue that sexuality is too Androcentrism is the assumption that maleness the male perspective and men s experiences are the central had most important points of reference Hermeneutics is about recovering an understanding of the meaning of texts SYMBOL 1 Religion is awareness expressed through symbols of relationships to or participation in the fundamental power of life 2 Religions are symbol systems which facilitate relationship to or participation in what the members understand to be the fundamental power of life Ring Representational symbols or signs point to or stand for something else but do not necessarily participate in the realities for which they stand eg green light Presentational symbols are things which suggest something else by virtue of analogous qualities eg church as ship God as shepherd The meaning of symbols is determined by the contexts in which they are located Symbols may awaken our consciousness to new ways ofthinking about ourselves and our world
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