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This Document Contains Chapters 1 to 2 Chapter One: Studying Religion Through Practice Multiple Choice 1. The best demographic information shows that Muslim women born in Europe are having about the same number of children as non-Muslim __________. A. Asians B. South Asians C. Africans D. Europeans Answer: D 2. German officials have declared that __________ is not a religion. A. Mormonism B. Scientology C. Catholicism D. Epistemology Answer: B 3. This text does not use a hard-and-fast definition of religion but still defines it as __________. A. a set of shared beliefs in spirits or gods B. being based on individual beliefs C. being based on a person’s emotions D. a wide variety of ways in which people in different societies and times have thought about the world beyond the immediate sense-world Answer: D 4. Some people living in the United States would consider modern forms of __________ to be a religion; indeed, the Rhode Island state legislature passed a law making it so in 1989. A. paganism B. hedonism C. witchcraft D. sociology Answer: C 5. Of the following, which might be considered a religious belief? A. the gas laws B. the theory of gravity C. Newton’s laws of motion D. string theory Answer: D 6. The term for an East Asian idea of a life force is __________. A. Amat B. manna C. spirit D. chi Answer: D 7. Anthropologists start studying a topic by learning __________. A. a new language B. local perspectives C. new traditions D. practical matters that effect local cultures Answer: B 8. Most anthropologists approach questions through __________. A. fieldwork B. rigorous questionnaires C. telephonic interviewing whenever possible D. Google searches on advanced computer systems Answer: A 9. Susan Harding (2000), worked to counteract her basic skepticism toward Jerry Falwell by __________ , as the phenomenologist Husserl put it, her preconceptions and trying to accept his statements as true. A. “boxing” B. “searching” C. “replacing” D. “bracketing” Answer: D 10. Most anthropologists of religion teaching in North America or Europe carry out at least their initial fieldwork outside those areas, reflecting the general anthropological emphasis on grasping the __________ possible range of human experiences, practices, and ideas. A. most unique B. most quixotic C. widest D. narrowest Answer: C 11. Even though many __________ carry out fieldwork, the fundamental orientation of their discipline is different from that of anthropology, with a greater interest in developing general propositions about social life, and less of a concern with broad-based comparative studies. A. sociologists B. psychologists C. biologists D. secularists Answer: A 12. Most sociologists of religion teaching in the United States study the organization of religions, changes in religious attitudes and beliefs, or new religious movements, usually focusing on people and institutions found in __________. A. Europe B. Africa C. the United States D. East and South Asia Answer: C 13. Penny Edgell Becker’s (1999) study of congregations illustrates one __________ approach. A. biological B. anthropological C. sociological D. transitional Answer: C 14. Pascal Boyer (2000, 2001) observed that people around the world have a strikingly __________ number of basic ideas about supernatural beings; that they behave much as ordinary beings or objects do except for a slight variation in their properties. A. small B. large C. ridiculous D. quantifiable Answer: A 15. The fast-rising __________ churches in Melanesia, Africa, and Latin America are posing new challenges to indigenous religions. A. Mormon B. Christian C. Muslim D. Buddhist Answer: B 16. The author views religious traditions as __________ of beliefs, practices, and social institutions. A. ever-changing complexes B. non-changing sets C. simple sets D. exemplary sets Answer: A 17. The idea of a separate religious sphere is recent even in __________. A. the East B. The Muslim world C. the West D. South Asia Answer: C 18. According to the Azande, some people carry in their bodies a substance called __________. This substance is inherited, and it sends out emanations when the person feels jealousy, anger, or other negative emotions toward another person. A. tabu B. mana C. manna D. mangu Answer: D 19. Pascal Boyer and others hypothesized that people have an easier cognitive time working with a __________ set of god-concepts. A. large B. limited C. restricted D. tiny Answer: B 20. The emphasis on __________, used in this text, includes the study of doctrines focusing on how doctrines are embodied in texts or other forms and how they are understood. A. sociology B. documents C. practice D. beliefs Answer: C 21. __________ are/is particularly central to Catholicism and the analysis of Catholicism. A. Images B. Iconography C. Idol worshippers D. Symbols Answer: A 22. Certain practices are especially __________ of one or more religious traditions. A. indicative B. characteristic C. remarkable D. predictive Answer: B 23. Anthropology has often been insufficiently attentive to __________ diversity. A. external B. cultural C. sociological D. internal Answer: D 24. Certain religious traditions allow a particularly broad diversity of practices to __________. A. flourish B. languish C. be adapted to the cultural milieu D. die out over time Answer: A 25. A great deal of __________ and wrong-headed public policy in many countries has been based on ideas about religion that ignore diversities, debates, and possibilities. A. misidentification B. interpretation C. inquisitiveness D. misunderstanding Answer: D Essay Questions 1. How does anthropology approach any social phenomenon? Answer: Anthropology, as a discipline, approaches social phenomena through a holistic, comparative, and relativistic lens. This method involves several key principles and methodologies that distinguish it from other social sciences. First, anthropology adopts a holistic approach. This means that it looks at social phenomena as part of a larger interconnected system. Anthropologists consider cultural, social, biological, historical, and linguistic factors to understand a particular phenomenon comprehensively. For instance, when studying marriage practices, an anthropologist would examine not only the social norms and laws but also the economic, religious, and kinship structures that influence these practices. Second, anthropology relies heavily on ethnographic fieldwork. Ethnography involves immersive, long-term engagement with a community or group, allowing anthropologists to gather in-depth, qualitative data. This fieldwork often includes participant observation, where the anthropologist lives among the people being studied, participates in their daily activities, and learns their language and customs. This method helps anthropologists gain an insider perspective and understand the nuances of social behaviours and beliefs. Third, anthropology emphasizes cultural relativism. This principle advocates understanding a culture on its own terms without imposing one's own cultural biases. Anthropologists strive to interpret behaviours, beliefs, and practices within the context of the culture they are studying, rather than judging them by external standards. This approach helps in avoiding ethnocentrism and promotes a more empathetic and accurate understanding of different societies. Fourth, anthropology is comparative in nature. It systematically compares different cultures and societies to identify patterns and variations in human behavior. By comparing a wide range of cultural contexts, anthropologists can develop theories about human social life that are broadly applicable while also appreciating cultural diversity. Finally, anthropology integrates interdisciplinary perspectives. Anthropologists often draw on insights from other disciplines such as sociology, psychology, history, and biology to enrich their understanding of social phenomena. This interdisciplinary approach allows for a more nuanced and multi-faceted analysis. In summary, anthropology's approach to social phenomena is characterized by its holistic, ethnographic, relativistic, comparative, and interdisciplinary methodologies. These principles enable anthropologists to develop a deep and nuanced understanding of human societies and cultures. 2. The author approaches the religion of Islam from a much different viewpoint than normally heard in the news media. How is his perspective different? Answer: The author approaches the religion of Islam from a perspective that diverges significantly from the often sensationalist and stereotypical portrayals commonly found in the news media. This different viewpoint can be understood through several key aspects: First, the author emphasizes an anthropological and cultural understanding of Islam. Instead of focusing solely on political and extremist narratives, the author delves into the everyday practices, beliefs, and experiences of Muslim individuals and communities. This approach highlights the diversity and complexity within Islam, presenting it as a lived religion rather than a monolithic entity. Second, the author adopts a historically informed perspective. By situating contemporary issues within a broader historical context, the author can show how historical events, cultural exchanges, and socio-political developments have shaped modern Islamic societies. This contrasts with the media’s tendency to view Islamic practices and conflicts as isolated or timeless phenomena. Third, the author uses a comparative and relativistic approach. By comparing Islamic practices and beliefs with those of other religions and cultures, the author demonstrates that many aspects of Islam are not unique but are shared with or parallel to those in other religious traditions. This approach challenges the often implicit notion in the media that Islam is inherently different or incompatible with modernity. Fourth, the author focuses on voices from within the Muslim community. Instead of relying predominantly on external or non-Muslim commentators, the author prioritizes the perspectives of Muslim scholars, practitioners, and ordinary individuals. This inclusion of insider viewpoints provides a more authentic and nuanced understanding of Islam, countering the often external and superficial narratives presented in the media. Fifth, the author highlights positive contributions and peaceful aspects of Islam. While the news media frequently emphasizes conflict, terrorism, and fundamentalism, the author sheds light on Islam’s contributions to art, science, philosophy, and social justice. This balanced portrayal helps to counteract negative stereotypes and promotes a more rounded understanding of the religion. In summary, the author's perspective on Islam differs from the news media by adopting an anthropological, historical, comparative, and inclusive approach. This method provides a deeper, more nuanced, and empathetic understanding of Islam, challenging stereotypes and promoting a more balanced view of the religion and its followers. 3. Why is only reading a religion’s scriptures not enough when it comes to understanding a groups entire social life? Answer: Reading a religion’s scriptures is an important starting point, but it is not sufficient for understanding a group's entire social life for several reasons: 1. Contextual Interpretation: Scriptures are often ancient texts that need to be interpreted within their historical, cultural, and linguistic contexts. The meanings of scriptural texts can vary significantly based on the circumstances in which they were written. Without considering the historical and cultural contexts, readers might miss crucial nuances or misinterpret the texts. 2. Diverse Practices and Beliefs: Within any religion, there is a wide range of interpretations, practices, and beliefs. Different sects, denominations, and cultural groups may understand and practice their religion in various ways. Scriptures alone cannot capture this diversity. Observing and studying the lived experiences of religious communities is necessary to grasp the full spectrum of how a religion is practiced. 3. Role of Tradition and Custom: Many aspects of a group's social life are shaped by traditions and customs that may not be explicitly mentioned in their scriptures. These practices often evolve over time and are influenced by local cultures, historical events, and social dynamics. Understanding a group's social life requires an appreciation of these traditions and how they interact with scriptural teachings. 4. Social and Political Influences: The way a religion is practiced can be significantly influenced by social and political factors. Power dynamics, economic conditions, and social structures can shape religious practices and beliefs. Scriptures may provide moral and ethical guidelines, but the implementation and interpretation of these guidelines can be heavily influenced by contemporary social and political contexts. 5. Personal and Communal Experiences: Religion is not only about following scriptures but also about personal and communal experiences of the divine or the sacred. Rituals, festivals, and communal gatherings play a vital role in shaping a group's social life. These experiences create a sense of community and identity that goes beyond what is written in scriptures. 6. Syncretism and Cultural Integration: Religions often absorb and integrate elements from other cultures and belief systems. This syncretism can lead to practices and beliefs that are not found in the scriptures but are integral to the group's social life. Understanding these integrated elements requires fieldwork and interaction with the community. In summary, to understand a group's entire social life, one must look beyond scriptures and consider the broader cultural, social, and historical contexts, as well as the diverse interpretations and practices within the community. Ethnographic research, participant observation, and engagement with the community are essential methodologies in anthropology for achieving this comprehensive understanding. 4. How does the author define religion? It would be best to break this answer up into its various components. Answer: The author defines religion by breaking it down into several key components, providing a multi-faceted understanding of this complex phenomenon: 1. Belief System: Religion involves a set of beliefs about the nature of reality, the cosmos, and the human place within it. These beliefs often include ideas about deities, the afterlife, the origin of the universe, and moral principles. The belief system provides a framework for understanding the world and one's role in it. 2. Ritual Practices: Religion encompasses various rituals and ceremonies that are performed by individuals or communities. These rituals can include prayer, worship, sacraments, fasting, and festivals. Rituals serve to reinforce beliefs, create a sense of community, and connect individuals with the sacred or the divine. 3. Ethical Guidelines: Religions provide ethical and moral guidelines that govern the behavior of their adherents. These guidelines often address issues of right and wrong, justice, compassion, and social responsibility. They are intended to guide individuals in leading a morally upright life. 4. Sacred Texts: Many religions have sacred texts that are considered authoritative and foundational. These texts contain teachings, stories, laws, and religious history. Sacred texts are often seen as divinely inspired and are used for instruction, worship, and guidance. 5. Community and Identity: Religion plays a crucial role in forming communal bonds and individual identity. It provides a sense of belonging and shared purpose among its adherents. Religious communities often have social structures, leadership, and communal activities that foster unity and support. 6. Spiritual Experience: Religion involves personal and communal experiences of the sacred or the divine. These experiences can be mystical, emotional, or transcendental and often play a central role in an individual's religious life. Spiritual experiences provide a direct connection to the divine and can be transformative. 7. Cultural Influence: Religion is deeply intertwined with culture and influences various aspects of life, including art, music, literature, and social norms. It shapes and is shaped by the cultural context in which it exists, leading to diverse expressions and practices across different societies. 8. Institutional Structures: Many religions have organized structures and institutions that oversee religious practices, education, and governance. These institutions may include churches, temples, mosques, religious schools, and clerical hierarchies. Institutional structures help to maintain and transmit religious traditions and practices. In summary, the author's definition of religion includes belief systems, ritual practices, ethical guidelines, sacred texts, community and identity, spiritual experiences, cultural influences, and institutional structures. This comprehensive definition highlights the multifaceted nature of religion and its pervasive influence on individual and communal life. 5. Look at your own behavior in view of how you have ritualized it. Are any of these practices religious or just repetitious? Why or why not? Answer: Examining one's own behavior through the lens of ritualization involves scrutinizing the repetitive actions and habits that form the fabric of daily life. This analysis seeks to distinguish between behaviors that have religious significance and those that are merely habitual or repetitious. Understanding Ritualization Ritualization refers to the process by which certain behaviors are formalized and repeated regularly, often imbued with meaning beyond their mere execution. These behaviors can be divided into two broad categories: 1. Religious Rituals: Actions that are performed as part of a religious practice, often with the intention of connecting with a higher power, observing religious laws, or participating in communal worship. These rituals are typically characterized by their symbolic meaning and their role in reinforcing faith and religious identity. 2. Repetitious Behaviors: Actions that are repeated regularly but lack the symbolic or spiritual significance of religious rituals. These behaviors are often driven by habit, convenience, or psychological comfort rather than by any deeper meaning or purpose. Personal Behaviors and Ritualization To determine whether my own behaviors fall into the category of religious rituals or repetitious behaviors, I will examine a few of my daily practices: 1. Morning Routine: Each morning, I wake up, brush my teeth, have a cup of coffee, and read the news. This routine is highly repetitious but not religious. The purpose of these actions is to start the day refreshed and informed, rather than to fulfill a spiritual need. The predictability and regularity provide a sense of structure and comfort, but they lack any deeper symbolic meaning. 2. Meditation Practice: I meditate for 20 minutes every evening. This practice, while not tied to any specific religion, can be considered spiritual. Meditation is a form of mindfulness that helps me connect with my inner self and maintain mental well-being. Although it is a repetitive practice, it carries more significance than a mere habit. The intent behind meditation – to achieve inner peace and clarity – imbues it with a purpose beyond routine. 3. Family Dinner: Every Sunday, my family gathers for dinner. This tradition is both repetitious and imbued with meaning. While it is not religious in a conventional sense, it serves to strengthen familial bonds and provide a sense of continuity and belonging. The ritual of gathering, sharing food, and conversing acts as a reaffirmation of family ties and mutual support. Distinguishing Religious from Repetitious Practices The key distinction between religious rituals and repetitious behaviors lies in the presence of symbolic meaning and intentionality. Religious rituals are performed with the understanding that they connect the practitioner to something greater – whether it be a deity, a community of believers, or a spiritual goal. These rituals often follow prescribed forms and hold significant importance within a religious framework. Repetitious behaviors, on the other hand, may offer comfort, structure, or efficiency, but they do not carry the same weight of symbolic meaning. They are primarily functional and are performed to fulfill practical needs rather than spiritual ones. Conclusion Reflecting on my own behaviors, it becomes evident that most of my daily practices are repetitious rather than religious. My morning routine, while structured and comforting, lacks deeper symbolic significance. In contrast, my meditation practice, though not religious per se, carries spiritual meaning and intent, placing it closer to the realm of ritual. The weekly family dinner, while not a religious ritual, has a significant emotional and social function that elevates it above mere repetition. This analysis highlights the importance of intentionality and symbolic meaning in distinguishing religious rituals from habitual behaviors. While both forms of behavior serve important roles in our lives, understanding their differences can provide insight into the ways we find meaning and structure in our daily actions. Chapter Two: The Twin Transformations of “Religion” Multiple Choice 1. It was the philosopher Karl Jaspers, writing in 1949, who first drew attention to an extraordinary thing: that in a relatively short span of human history, between about 800 and 200 B.C.E., people living across __________ radically changed how they thought about divinity and how they acted toward it. A. Asia B. South Asia C. Africa D. Eurasia Answer: D 2. Socrates (469–399 B.C.E.), who radically challenged established truths in Athens, had two elements in common with Buddha and Lao Tse: the argument that power lay in a transcendent realm (heaven and God) and that truth lay in a/an __________ code. A. moral B. ethical C. quixotic D. social Answer: B 3. How we prove a theorem in geometry and how we proceed to know something about the good life are two examples of __________. A. first-order thinking B. hypothesis testing C. matrix logic (deductive thinking) D. second-order thinking Answer: D 4. Questions about how we do and how we should reason through tough issues are the bases for __________. A. first-order thinking B. hypothesis testing C. philosophy D. psychology Answer: C 5. Movement and __________ lead people to seek “common denominators.” A. exchange B. thought C. slavery D. economic sanctions Answer: A 6. The Law of Moses as contained in the first five books of the Bible, is known as the __________. A. 5 books B. Torah C. Pentateuch D. cinq livres Answer: C 7. This religion had shifted from the group’s sacrifice of animals, to each individual’s avoidance of certain tabooed animals. From destroying life in atonement for sin, religious life was refocused on living according to the Law. A. Christianity B. Judaism C. Buddhism D. Hinduism Answer: B 8. The word religion comes from the Latin word religion, whose early meaning appears to have been, “__________”or a “feeling relative to such a power.” A. a power outside the individual B. a power inside the individual C. a force for good originating in the individual D. a force for good originating outside of the individual Answer: A 9. The phrase “the Christian religion” was often used to mean the __________, the central ritual performed by people considering themselves Christians. A. Eucharist B. Trinity C. Confession D. Appraisal Answer: A 10. The Reformation continued the idea that there would be only one kind of religion, but it would be exist in different degrees in different people; both Martin Luther and John Calvin stressed the importance of individual piety and faith over and against any external religious system, by which they meant the __________ Church. A. Episcopal B. Islamic C. Lutheran D. Catholic Answer: D 11. The idea of religion as a system of beliefs, as opposed to personal piety, did not take hold until the __________. A. sixteenth century B. fifteenth century C. seventeenth century D. eighteenth century Answer: C 12. As Europeans began to study other religions, they tended to use the religions most familiar to them, namely Judaism and Christianity, as a general model. They assumed all religions would have three central elements: __________. A. a central dogma , exclusivity, and separation B. a central text , exclusivity, and dogmatic beliefs C. a central text , exclusivity, and separation D. a central text , dogmatic beliefs, and separation Answer: C 13. __________, writing in the late seventeenth century, advocated the separation of state and religion as a way of ensuring toleration and religious freedom. A. John Locke B. Benjamin Franklin C. Thomas Jefferson D. Samuel Adams Answer: A 14. The nineteenth-century European notions of what counted as a religion have powerfully shaped how other religions and other countries have viewed religion. With few exceptions, the creation of terms for religion and for particular religions, has been the result of Western Christian influence transmitted through __________ domination. A. imperial B. colonial C. mercantile D. exchange-system (trade) Answer: B 15. People who followed Buddhism, Confucianism, or Taoism, did not follow a ___________, but rather a __________. A. religion; collection of teachings B. collection of teachings; religion C. truth; religion D. collection of teachings; truth Answer: A 16. The names for religions were often provided by outsiders—for example the term Judaism is __________, not Hebrew. A. Roman B. Italian C. English (from the Crusades) D. Greek Answer: D 17. The ideas of soul, spirit, and dreams that Tylor described as basic or primitive do indeed __________ many religious systems. A. transform B. reanimate C. animate D. reflect on Answer: C 18. Boas’s complex approach to myths probably was best continued by the French anthropologist __________. A. Claude Lévi-Strauss B. Edward Tylor C. Bronislaw Malinowski D. John Locke Answer: A 19. Max Weber argued that the doctrine of “unknowable election,” taught by the theologian __________, was so unsettling that people worked hard to succeed in this world, grasping at the idea that the material signs of their success also were signs of God’s favor. A. Martin Luther B. Pope Pius IX C. John Paul D. John Calvin Answer: D 20. In his Natural History of Religion (1757), Hume argued that religion first came from “the incessant hopes and fears which actuate the human mind.” Religion thus offers one way of overcoming __________. A. behavior B. bad behavior C. anxiety D. hubris Answer: C 21. The sociologist Émile Durkheim (1858–1917), saw the birth of religion in the ideas and __________ generated out of collective social action. A. behaviors B. bad behaviors C. anxieties D. emotions Answer: D 22. Friedrich Engels showed that the power of religion was to __________ as well as to confirm the existing social order. A. buttress B. subvert C. shore up D. reduce Answer: B 23. In Weber’s study of India, he argued that the caste system and the doctrine of __________ , the idea that one’s actions in this or a previous life determined the course of one’s life, inhibited the development of a rational economic ethic because it led religious energies away from this world and directed them toward the “other world.” A. dharma B. debt C. karma D. position Answer: C 24. __________ occupies an important place in late twentieth-century anthropology for his efforts to bring together Weber’s emphasis on cultural orientations, often born of religious ideas, with a semiotic emphasis on the symbolic mediation of ideas and social forces. A. Bronislaw Malinowski B. Nihls Bohr C. Franz Boas D. Clifford Geertz Answer: D 25. Augustine of Hippo emphasized the necessity of discipline, administered through law, family, and schools, to induce the proper capacity to understand and absorb Christian teachings. Symbols did not induce faith; __________ did. A. discipline B. understanding C. obedience D. reflection Answer: A Essay Questions 1. Relate Talal Asad’s attack on the Western understanding of religion in relationship to transhistorical definitions of religion. Answer: Talal Asad, a prominent anthropologist, challenges the Western conceptualization of religion, particularly its tendency to frame religion through a universal and transhistorical lens. Asad's critique is rooted in his broader examination of how power and historical contexts shape what we understand as "religion." Critique of Western Understanding Western definitions of religion, particularly those influenced by Enlightenment thinking, often emphasize belief systems, personal faith, and the separation of religion from other spheres of life such as politics, economics, and science. This perspective posits religion as a universal human phenomenon that can be studied independently of its cultural and historical context. Scholars like Clifford Geertz, for instance, have defined religion as a system of symbols that acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in people by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence. Asad argues that this approach is flawed because it abstracts religion from its social and historical contexts, imposing a Western-centric notion that might not apply globally. He points out that what constitutes "religion" is deeply intertwined with historical power structures and cannot be universally defined without acknowledging these influences. Transhistorical Definitions of Religion Transhistorical definitions aim to identify characteristics of religion that remain consistent across different historical periods and cultures. These definitions often emphasize elements such as belief in supernatural beings, sacred texts, rituals, and moral codes. The assumption behind such definitions is that there is a common essence to all religious phenomena that transcends time and space. Asad criticizes this notion by highlighting that what we consider religious has been shaped by specific historical processes, especially within Western societies. He argues that the modern concept of religion as a distinct and private sphere is a product of specific historical developments in Europe, such as the Protestant Reformation and the Enlightenment. These events contributed to the secularization process, which redefined religion as a personal, internal, and belief-oriented domain, separate from public and political life. Implications of Asad’s Critique Asad’s critique has significant implications for the study of religion. It calls for a more nuanced and context-sensitive approach that recognizes the variability and fluidity of religious practices and beliefs. Scholars are encouraged to examine how power dynamics, colonial histories, and cultural contexts shape what is understood as religion in different societies. This perspective moves away from searching for a universal definition and towards understanding religion as a historically contingent and socially constructed phenomenon. 2. Describe Karl Jaspers’ (1949) idea of the “axial” age. Which philosophical systems are included in this? Answer: Karl Jaspers’ Idea of the “Axial Age” Karl Jaspers, a German-Swiss philosopher, introduced the concept of the “Axial Age” in his book "The Origin and Goal of History" (1949). He identified a pivotal period in human history, roughly between 800 and 200 BCE, during which major philosophical, religious, and cultural ideas emerged independently in different parts of the world. These ideas have profoundly influenced the subsequent development of human societies. Characteristics of the Axial Age The Axial Age is characterized by the emergence of new ways of thinking about human existence, ethics, and the cosmos. Jaspers argued that during this period, a shift occurred from mythological to rational thought, and from local, tribal religions to more universal and ethical worldviews. This era saw the birth of critical reflection, the questioning of traditional authorities, and the development of philosophies that sought to understand the human condition and the nature of reality. Philosophical Systems Included The Axial Age encompasses several major philosophical and religious systems that emerged independently in different regions: 1. China: Confucianism and Daoism • Confucius (Kong Fuzi): Emphasized ethics, family loyalty, and social harmony. • Laozi: Founded Daoism, advocating for living in harmony with the Dao (the Way). 2. India: Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism • Upanishads: Philosophical texts exploring the nature of reality and the self. • Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha): Taught the path to enlightenment through the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. • Mahavira: Promoted Jainism, emphasizing non-violence and asceticism. 3. Persia: Zoroastrianism • Zarathustra (Zoroaster): Introduced the concept of a single god, Ahura Mazda, and the dualistic struggle between good and evil. 4. Greece: Classical Philosophy • Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle: Developed foundational concepts in ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology. 5. Israel: Early Judaism • Prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah who emphasized ethical monotheism and social justice. Significance of the Axial Age Jaspers believed that the ideas developed during the Axial Age laid the groundwork for modern civilizations. These philosophical systems promoted critical thinking, ethical conduct, and the search for universal truths. They provided new frameworks for understanding human existence and the cosmos, influencing the development of major world religions and philosophical traditions. The concept of the Axial Age underscores the interconnectedness of human history and the simultaneous emergence of transformative ideas across different cultures. It highlights a period of profound intellectual and spiritual development that continues to shape contemporary thought and societies. 3. Explain how it is that there is not a single formulation of the Hindu Religion. Answer: Hinduism, often described as one of the world's oldest and most diverse religions, does not have a single formulation. This complexity arises from several factors, including its historical development, geographical spread, and internal diversity. Historical Development Hinduism's roots can be traced back to the ancient Indus Valley civilization (around 2500-1500 BCE) and the subsequent Vedic period (approximately 1500-500 BCE). The Vedic texts, which form the core of early Hindu thought, were composed over centuries and contain hymns, rituals, and philosophical ideas. The later development of Upanishadic thought introduced new metaphysical and philosophical dimensions, further enriching the tradition. Unlike many other religions, Hinduism did not originate from a single founder or a singular event. Instead, it evolved over millennia, absorbing and assimilating a wide range of cultural, philosophical, and ritualistic practices. Geographical Spread and Regional Variations Hinduism's spread across the Indian subcontinent resulted in significant regional variations. Different regions developed their own traditions, deities, rituals, and interpretations of sacred texts. For instance: • Northern India: Strong influences from the Vedic and subsequent Puranic traditions, with deities like Vishnu, Shiva, and Devi being central. • Southern India: Rich traditions of temple worship and bhakti (devotional) movements, with deities like Murugan and Venkateswara being prominent. • Eastern India: Distinct traditions like Shaktism (worship of the Goddess) and Vaishnavism centered around the deity Jagannath. Philosophical and Theological Diversity Hinduism encompasses a wide range of philosophical schools (darshanas) and theological perspectives. Key philosophical traditions include: • Advaita Vedanta: A non-dualistic school of thought that emphasizes the oneness of the individual soul (Atman) and the ultimate reality (Brahman). • Dvaita Vedanta: A dualistic school that maintains a distinction between the individual soul and God. • Samkhya and Yoga: Schools that focus on dualism between consciousness (Purusha) and matter (Prakriti) and practical methods for achieving spiritual liberation. These philosophical differences reflect diverse understandings of the nature of reality, the self, and the path to spiritual liberation (moksha). Rituals, Practices, and Sectarian Movements Hinduism is marked by a wide variety of rituals and practices, ranging from elaborate temple rituals to personal devotional practices. Sectarian movements, such as Shaivism (worship of Shiva), Vaishnavism (worship of Vishnu), and Shaktism (worship of the Goddess), further contribute to the diversity within Hinduism. Influence of Social and Cultural Factors The caste system, regional languages, and local customs have also shaped Hindu practices and beliefs. Additionally, the interaction with other religions and cultures, including Buddhism, Jainism, and later Islam and Christianity, has influenced and diversified Hindu traditions. 4. In Tylor’s book Primitive Culture (1871), he stated that primitive people acted as proto-scientists when they created religion. What did he mean by this? Answer: Edward Burnett Tylor, in his seminal work Primitive Culture (1871), proposed that early human beings acted as proto-scientists when they created religion. This idea is central to his theory of animism, which he considered the earliest form of religious belief. Tylor’s Theory of Animism Tylor argued that primitive religion originated from the human tendency to explain natural phenomena and the mysteries of life. Animism, the belief that natural objects and phenomena are inhabited by spirits or possess a life force, was, according to Tylor, the foundation of all religious thought. He suggested that early humans, through their observations and experiences, sought to understand and rationalize their environment. Religion as Early Science Tylor posited that early humans were like proto-scientists in the following ways: • Observation and Interpretation: They keenly observed the world around them and attempted to explain phenomena such as death, dreams, and natural disasters. For instance, they might interpret a dream as a spirit leaving the body temporarily or a thunderstorm as the anger of a deity. • Causal Relationships: Early humans sought to identify causal relationships in their environment. If certain rituals or actions seemed to produce desired outcomes, such as rain or a successful hunt, they would continue these practices, believing they had discovered a cause-and-effect relationship. • Systematization: They developed systems of beliefs and practices based on their observations. These systems became codified into myths, rituals, and traditions, much like how scientific knowledge is organized into theories and laws. Implications of Tylor’s View Tylor’s perspective implies that religion and science share a common origin in humanity’s quest for understanding and control over the environment. While modern science relies on empirical evidence and systematic experimentation, early religious thought represented humanity’s first attempts at explaining the unknown using the cognitive tools available at the time. Criticisms and Legacy While Tylor's theory was pioneering, it has faced criticism for its evolutionary framework, which tends to view religious beliefs as inferior to scientific understanding. Critics argue that this perspective is ethnocentric and oversimplifies the complex functions of religion in human societies. Nevertheless, Tylor's work laid the foundation for the anthropological study of religion and highlighted the intellectual efforts of early humans to make sense of their world. In conclusion, Tylor’s assertion that primitive people acted as proto-scientists underscores his belief in the rationality and observational skills of early humans. It reflects an important stage in the development of anthropological thought, emphasizing the continuity between religious and scientific ways of knowing. 5. Max Weber wrote that one can only come to understand social action by first discovering the meaning of the action for the individual and second, by explaining it in terms of the social conditions and actions that preceded it. Explain this set of conclusions in your own words. Answer: Max Weber, a foundational figure in sociology, emphasized that to truly understand social action, one must approach it by considering both the subjective meaning individuals attach to their actions and the broader social context that influences these actions. This dual approach forms the core of Weber's interpretive sociology. Understanding Social Action: Weber's Approach Individual Meaning Weber argued that the first step in understanding social action is to uncover the meaning it holds for the individual performing it. This requires delving into the actor's subjective perspective, intentions, and motivations. Social actions are not just behaviors; they are actions imbued with meaning that guide individuals in their social contexts. For instance, when someone decides to donate to charity, understanding their personal motivations—whether altruism, religious beliefs, or a desire for social recognition—is crucial. Social Context and Conditions The second step is to situate this individual action within the broader social context. This involves examining the social conditions, historical precedents, and structural factors that influence and shape the action. Social actions do not occur in a vacuum; they are deeply embedded in and conditioned by the social environment. This might include societal norms, economic conditions, cultural traditions, and institutional influences. For example, the act of donating to charity can also be influenced by societal values around philanthropy, economic policies promoting charitable giving, or historical events that highlight the importance of such actions. Application of Weber’s Conclusions To illustrate Weber's conclusions, consider a contemporary example such as voting behavior: 1. Individual Meaning: To understand why an individual votes, we need to explore their personal motivations. This could involve their political beliefs, desire for civic duty, expectation of personal or societal benefit, or even social pressures from peers and family. 2. Social Context: Next, we place this individual decision within the larger social framework. This includes examining the political climate, historical voting trends, the influence of media, the impact of political campaigns, and societal values around democracy and participation. Additionally, understanding the socio-economic background, educational level, and cultural factors that shape voting behavior is essential. Integrating Both Aspects By integrating both the individual's subjective meaning and the broader social context, Weber's approach provides a comprehensive understanding of social actions. This method recognizes that human behavior is complex and multi-dimensional, shaped by both internal motivations and external conditions. It avoids reductionist explanations that either overly emphasize individual agency or ignore the individual's perspective in favor of deterministic social structures. Conclusion Max Weber's insistence on understanding social action through both individual meaning and social context highlights the intricate interplay between personal agency and societal structures. This dual approach allows for a richer and more nuanced analysis of human behavior, acknowledging that actions are both personally significant and socially conditioned. By applying this framework, sociologists can gain deeper insights into the motivations behind actions and the ways in which these actions are shaped by and, in turn, shape the social world. Test Bank for Religions in Practice: An Approach to the Anthropology of Religions John R. Bowen 9780205961047

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