ritual and its consequences an essay on the limits of sincerity

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Ritual And Its Consequences An Essay On The Limits Of Sincerity

Author : CURA Adam B. Seligman Professor of Religion and Research Associate, BU USA
ISBN : 0195336003
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 31. 34 MB
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This pioneering, interdisciplinary work shows how rituals allow us to live in a perennially imperfect world. Drawing on a variety of cultural settings, the authors utilize psychoanalytic and anthropological perspectives to describe how ritual--like play--creates "as if" worlds, rooted in the imaginative capacity of the human mind to create a subjunctive universe. The ability to cross between imagined worlds is central to the human capacity for empathy. Ritual, they claim, defines the boundaries of these imagined worlds, including those of empathy and other realms of human creativity, such as music, architecture and literature. The authors juxtapose this ritual orientation to a "sincere" search for unity and wholeness. The sincere world sees fragmentation and incoherence as signs of inauthenticity that must be overcome. Our modern world has accepted the sincere viewpoint at the expense of ritual, dismissing ritual as mere convention. In response, the authors show how the conventions of ritual allow us to live together in a broken world. Ritual is work, endless work. But it is among the most important things that we humans do.

Ritual And Its Consequences

Author : Adam B. Seligman
ISBN : 9780195336009
Genre : Religion
File Size : 79. 64 MB
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Drawing on examples from many places and times, this work argues for the continuing tension across historical contexts between movements emphasizing ritual and movements emphasizing sincerity. It contends that our contemporary age has, at great risk, downplayed the importance of ritual.

Religion And Charity

Author : Robert P. Weller
ISBN : 9781108311267
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 23. 2 MB
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Free markets alone do not work effectively to solve certain kinds of human problems, such as education, old age care, or disaster relief. Nor have markets ever been the sole solution to the psychological challenges of death, suffering, or injustice. Instead, we find a major role for the non-market institutions of society - the family, the state, and social institutions. The first in-depth anthropological study of charities in contemporary Chinese societies, this book focuses on the unique ways that religious groups have helped to solve the problems of social well-being. Using comparative case studies in China, Taiwan and Malaysia during the 1980s and onwards, it identifies new forms of religious philanthropy as well as new ideas of social 'good', including different forms of political merit-making, new forms of civic selfhood, and the rise of innovative social forms, including increased leadership by women. The book finally argues that the spread of these ideas is an incomplete process, with many alternative notions of goodness continuing to be influential.

To Become A God

Author : Michael J. Puett
ISBN : 0674009592
Genre : Religion
File Size : 85. 62 MB
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Evidence from Shang oracle bones to memorials submitted to Western Han emperors attests to a long-lasting debate in early China over the proper relationship between humans and gods. One pole of the debate saw the human and divine realms as separate and agonistic and encouraged divination to determine the will of the gods and sacrifices to appease and influence them. The opposite pole saw the two realms as related and claimed that humans could achieve divinity and thus control the cosmos. This wide-ranging book reconstructs this debate and places within their contemporary contexts the rival claims concerning the nature of the cosmos and the spirits, the proper demarcation between the human and the divine realms, and the types of power that humans and spirits can exercise. It is often claimed that the worldview of early China was unproblematically monistic and that hence China had avoided the tensions between gods and humans found in the West. By treating the issues of cosmology, sacrifice, and self-divinization in a historical and comparative framework that attends to the contemporary significance of specific arguments, Michael J. Puett shows that the basic cosmological assumptions of ancient China were the subject of far more debate than is generally thought.

Gender And Timebound Commandments In Judaism

Author : Elizabeth Shanks Alexander
ISBN : 9781107067899
Genre : Religion
File Size : 77. 29 MB
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The rule that exempts women from rituals that need to be performed at specific times (so-called timebound, positive commandments) has served for centuries to stabilize Jewish gender. It has provided a rationale for women's centrality at home and their absence from the synagogue. Departing from dominant popular and scholarly views, Elizabeth Shanks Alexander argues that the rule was not conceived to structure women's religious lives, but rather became a tool for social engineering only after it underwent shifts in meaning during its transmission. Alexander narrates the rule's complicated history, establishing the purposes for which it was initially formulated and the shifts in interpretation that led to its being perceived as a key marker of Jewish gender. At the end of her study, Alexander points to women's exemption from particular rituals (Shema, tefillin and Torah study), which, she argues, are better places to look for insight into rabbinic gender.

Heaven And Earth Are Not Humane

Author : Franklin Perkins
ISBN : 9780253011763
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 80. 88 MB
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That bad things happen to good people was as true in early China as it is today. Franklin Perkins uses this observation as the thread by which to trace the effort by Chinese thinkers of the Warring States Period (c.475-221 BCE), a time of great conflict and division, to seek reconciliation between humankind and the world. Perkins provides rich new readings of classical Chinese texts and reflects on their significance for Western philosophical discourse.

The Path

Author : Michael Puett
ISBN : 9781476777832
Genre : Body, Mind & Spirit
File Size : 65. 54 MB
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For the first time an award-winning Harvard professor shares the lessons from his wildly popular course on classical Chinese philosophy, showing you how these ancient ideas can guide you on the path to a good life today. The lessons taught by ancient Chinese philosophers surprisingly still apply, and they challenge our fundamental assumptions about how to lead a fulfilled, happy, and successful life. Self-discovery, it turns out, comes through looking outward, not inward. Power comes from holding back. Good relationships come from small gestures. Spontaneity comes from practice. And excellence comes from what you choose to do, not your “natural” abilities. Counterintuitive. Countercultural. Even revolutionary. These powerful ideas have made Professor Michael Puett's course the third most popular at Harvard University in recent years, with enrollment surging every year since it was first offered in 2006. It's clear students are drawn by a bold promise Professor Puett makes on the first day of class: “These ideas will change your life.” Now he offers his course to the world.

The Ambivalence Of Creation

Author : Michael Puett
ISBN : 080478034X
Genre : History
File Size : 85. 84 MB
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This book studies the debates that raged in China from the Warring States period to the early Han concerning how and under what circumstances new institutions could be formed and legitimated.

The Huainanzi

Author : An Liu
ISBN : 9780231520850
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 88. 37 MB
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Compiled by scholars at the court of Liu An, king of Huainan, in the second century B.C.E, The Huainanzi is a tightly organized, sophisticated articulation of Western Han philosophy and statecraft. Outlining "all that a modern monarch needs to know," the text emphasizes rigorous self-cultivation and mental discipline, brilliantly synthesizing for readers past and present the full spectrum of early Chinese thought. The Huainanzi locates the key to successful rule in a balance of broad knowledge, diligent application, and the penetrating wisdom of a sage. It is a unique and creative synthesis of Daoist classics, such as the Laozi and the Zhuangzi; works associated with the Confucian tradition, such as the Changes, the Odes, and the Documents; and a wide range of other foundational philosophical and literary texts from the Mozi to the Hanfeizi. The product of twelve years of scholarship, this remarkable translation preserves The Huainanzi's special rhetorical features, such as parallel prose and verse, and showcases a compositional technique that conveys the work's powerful philosophical appeal. This path-breaking volume will have a transformative impact on the field of early Chinese intellectual history and will be of great interest to scholars and students alike.

Ritual Innovation

Author : Brian K. Pennington
ISBN : 9781438469041
Genre :
File Size : 47. 80 MB
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Challenges prevailing conceptions of what religious ritual does and how it achieves its ends. Religious rituals are often seen as unchanging and ahistorical bearers of long-standing traditions. But as this book demonstrates, ritual is a lively platform for social change and innovation in the religions of South Asia. Drawing from Hindu and Jain examples in India, Nepal, and North America,the essays in this volume, written by renowned scholars of religion, explore how the intentional, conscious, and public invention or alteration of ritual can effect dramatic social transformation, whether in dethroning a Nepali king or sanctioning same-sex marriage. Ritual Innovation shows how the very idea of ritual as a conservative force misreads the history of religion by overlooking ritual’s inherent creative potential and its adaptability to new contexts and circumstances. “The breadth of coverage in Ritual Innovation is extraordinary and refreshing in terms of the types of contemporary ritual practices and practitioners receiving attention, not to mention the geographic spread across South Asia. This book makes a significant contribution to the scholarly literature on South Asian religions and contemporary Hinduism.” — Karline McLain, author of The Afterlife of Sai Baba: Competing Visions of a Global Saint

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