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by: Zenia Mason

RELS 2001 WEEK 4/5 NOTES Rels 2001

Zenia Mason

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About this Document

All notes covering ritual theory, Hinduism and death ritual, and Ritual and Liminality.
Mr. Pedro E. Alvarado
Class Notes
into to world religions, Religious Studies, religion, Rels, 2001, ritual, Hinduism, deathritual
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This 9 page Class Notes was uploaded by Zenia Mason on Wednesday September 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Rels 2001 at Georgia State University taught by Mr. Pedro E. Alvarado in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 13 views. For similar materials see INTRO TO WORLD RELIGIONS in Religious Studies at Georgia State University.


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Date Created: 09/28/16
Ritual Theory: Baptism and Bris FOUR FUNCTIONS OF RITUAL • Orients participants to sacred space and time • Connects participants to divine • Connects participants to larger community • Includes the body as an instrument for religion THREE KINDS OF RITUALS • Calendar Rituals • Daily- Shala (praying five times a day) • Weekly- Going to Church • Monthly- • Yearly- Christmas, Hanukkah etc. • Life Cycle Ritual • Birth • Coming of age (Rite of Passage) • Marriage • Death • Special Occasion Rituals • Ordination o Designates a priest and allows them to teach the word of the religion o Exorcism BAPTISM • Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? o How does this video illustrate the four basic functions of rituals? o The relationship that the participant had to the religion made the space sacred, the person baptizing acted as the Axis Mundi; the congregation being present connects to community, he had everlasting life thereafter because his sins were washed away, so he is connected to the divine. The actual baptism was the use of the body as an instrument. The difference between the sacred and profane is the relation between the participant and the baptism. • Which kind of ritual is baptism? o Special Occasion Ritual • What role does baptism play in Christianity? o Because Jesus was baptized it became the basis for the getting closer to God and cleansing sins o Every disciple of Jesus or his followers had to be baptized as well and had to baptize others o Those who had been baptized now had identified with Jesus, and formed a relationship with God o Matthew 3:1-17 Jesus was baptized (Theophany, God appeared after the baptism) o Matthew 28:16-20 Jesus tells the disciples to baptize others o Matthew 6:1-11 Identifies believers with Jesus CARDOZO ARTICLE • Emic or Etic? o Emic view because she’s a Jew • Key Terms: o Azhkenazic Jews- Jews who originated in Eastern Europe o Sephardic Jews- Jews who are from areas around the Mediterranean Sea; including Portugal, Spain, the Middle East, and North Africa o Diaspora Jews- Jews who were dispersed as a result of a foreign invader; i.e. Babylonian exile, WWll • Naming a daughter • Key Terms: o Kiddush- meal after a sacred event; or ushering in the Sabbath o Seudat- a festive meal, usually following the fulfillment of a mitzvah (commandment) 2 o Difference between the Kiddush and Sudat is that Sudat is prepared by the family of the child and the Kiddush is prepared by the family friend…might be in the opposite order (commandment) • Brit (Covenant) • Key Terms o Mohal- person performing the Brit o Minyan- minimum number of people necessary for certain prayers o Sandek- assistant to mohal o Sign of the covenant between God, Abraham, and Abraham’s descendants • Watchnight o Based on folkloric interpretation of evil spirits (Lilith)ß Equal creation with Adam, but Adam got rid of her and Eve was created. She’s an evil spirit who kills newborns because of her jealousy of Adam and Eve. During watchnight (the night before naming ceremony) family sat around the baby and said prayers and lit candles to keep the evil spirits away. o Watchnight- is the night in 1864 when the emancipation proclamation was signed freeing the slaves from the rebel states. Slaves were scared that the white people would kill them so they got together and prayed. (In African tradition) o Watchnight in Jewish Tradition- two creation stories in Genesis. People would pray when the baby was born so the evil spirit would go away. Then they would name the baby. 3 Hinduism and Death Rituals BASICS OF HINDUISM • There is no Hinduism… o Westernized term, from old folkloric tradition o It’s the oldest religion on the planet! • Sanatana Dharma (“eternal religion”) • Began with Brahamanism- Predecessor to current understanding of Hinduism (Folkloric Tradition) o Vedic period 2500-500ish Bst o Four Vedas (Rig Veda is 1 one) o Puja- the act of showing reverence to a god, a spirit, or another aspect of the divine through invocations, prayers, songs, and rituals o Brahman- in the Upanishads (Indians sacred writings) the supreme existence or absolute reality o Ganges River o ATMAN- soul/self SACRED TEXTS • Sruti- Sanskrit for “that which is heard” and refers to the body of most authoritative, ancient religious texts comprising the central canon (accepted text) of Hinduism • Smriti- “That which is remembered,” refers to a body of Hindu texts usually attributed to an author, traditionally written down but constantly revised • The Vedas- The Hindu Canon o Rigveda- Vedic Sanskrit Hymns o Yarjurveda- The veda of prose mantras; a compilation of ritual offering prayers that were said by a priest while performing a ritual o Samaveda- The veda of melodies and chants o Atharvaveda- The “knowledge storehouse of Atharvaveda, the procedures for everyday life.” The text is fourth Veda, but has been a late addition to the Vedic scriptures of Hinduism • Bhagavad- Gita o 700 verse Hindu scripture that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata o A dialogue between Pandava prince Arjuna and his guide and charioteer Lord Krishna. Facing the duty as a warrior to fight a righteous was between Pandavas and Kauravas, Arjuna is counselled by Lord Krishna to “fulfill his Kshatriya (warrior) and establish dharma.” o The setting of the Gita in a battlefield has been interpreted as an allegory for the ethical and moral struggles of the human life. o The Bhagavad Gita’s call for selfless action inspired many Indian leaders o Mahatma Gandhi referred to it as his “spiritu al dictionary” PRIMARY CONCEPTS • SAMSARA-THE “ATMAN (SOUL/SELF)” comes back over and over again, “the cycle of life, death and rebirth.” • Karma- The things we do in this life shape the circumstances of future lives; the circumstances of this life are the result of choices/actions we have performed in past lives • Moksha- Liberation from the process of life, death, and rebirth VARNASHRAMADARMA • DARMA- One’s duty in life • Varna- one’s social caste • Brahmin- priestly caste • Kshatriya- ruling caste and military elite (two lives, lived a previous life) • Vaisya- business caste; agriculture, laborers, traders, bankers, etc. • Shudra- servant caste (your first life) • Ashrama- one’s stage in life (child, householder, elderly) • One’s social duties come from one’s caste and stage i n life • Performing these properly in the basis of liberation 2 FOUR GOALS OF HINDUISM • Dharma- conducting one’s duties with compassion towards all beings; absence of jealousy, greed and cruelty; presence of purity, goodness, and tranquility • Artha- Earning money honestly to provide for the family; acquiring wealth and power • Kama- pursuing love ad pleasure only in marriage o Kamasutra- a book of aphorisms (sayings/proverbs) or a condensed manual about pursuing love pleasure in the context of marriage • Moksha- leading soul towards liberation/ salvation THE DEITIES • Three major groupings • Saktas- also called “Shakti” is Power, energy- the active principle of the universe which is personified as a goddess. Every form of activity - however it be named- proceeds from primordial Shakti. • Durga- “the inaccessible” or “invincible”, one of the main forms of the Goddess Shakti • Kali- another form of Shakti whose earliest appearance is that of a destroyer principally of evil forces • Saivities- “Shiva’s Path”, also known as Shivaism and Salvam, is one of the major branches of Hinduism; revering Shiva ad the Supreme Being • Vaishnavites- also called Vishnuism, its followers are called Vaishnavas, and it considers Vishnu as the Supreme Lord HINDU CREMATION RITUAL • How does this video compare to the reading? o The purification process is similar o The first born son lights the body o The youngest son lights the fire for the mother o Filial responsibility 3 • “An account of the Rites for the Dying”- Class reading • How does this ritual illustrate the four functions of life-cycle rituals? o The youngest son lights the fire for the mother, and the older son lights for the father. o The son is the final son is the final son of the mother, so he has the final act to light the mother. 4 Ritual and Liminality ARNOLD VAN GENNEP (Fore writer to Victor Turner) • Rites of passage • “Rites which accompany every change of place, state, social position and age” • A religious ceremony that has to do with transitions in life • Three stages of Initiation Rites • Separation (preliminal): The initiate is removed from the rest of the community • Transition (liminal): the initiate leaves the community until the rites are completed • Re-Aggregation (post liminal)- the initiate rejoins the community VICTOR TURNER • Victor Turner on rites of passage (major scholar on ritual) • 1920-1983 • Scottish anthropologist • Actually participated in rituals in Ndembu, and was eventually initiated in the tribe • Fieldwork in the 1950s in Ndembu, Central Africa • Key Terms • Liminality • Liminal Institutions- seeks to keep you in a liminal stage i.e. monasteries or hippibeat communities • Communitas • Limen- Threshold LIMINALITY • Being “betwixt and between” • There is no clear social status • Pilgrimage- Religious journey to the promise land o Turner thinks this is a part of liminality because the actual journey is the transformative process. When you get there, and come back with a token, you come back officially a changed person. • Examples • Pledging a fraternity • Being in college- transitional from being a dependent to an adult • Military basic training- separated from society, not really a full soldier, but also not a civilian COMMUNITAS • A group of people who are all in the same liminal state • It is in complete contrast to structured society, as all social distinctions fall away • Involves a “common generic bond” DISENCHANTMENT • Hopi initiation ritual o Takes place for boys 8-10 years old. o The Hopi teach their children that the Gods are real until the initiation. They separate the children, and the parents conducting the ritual dance around the children in costumes pretending to be the Gods. The children assume they are real. The parents take off the costumes, and beat the children. The reason is that they want the children to become disenchanted with the physicality of the Gods, so when they come back to the community they have a spiritual understanding of them, and they can better serve the community and the Gods. • Ritual vs Community o Ritual is transformative of the status quo, while ceremony confirms the status quo 2


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