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The Anthropology of Religion, Magic, and Witchcraft


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Table of Contents


1. The Anthropological Study of Religion
The Anthropological Perspective
The Holistic Approach
The Study of Human Societies
The Fore of New Guinea: An Ethnographic Example
Two Ways of Viewing Culture
Cultural Relativism
The Concept of Culture
The Study of Religion
Attempts at Defining Religion
The Domain of Religion
Theoretical Approaches to the Study of Religion
Suggested Readings and Websites
Study Questions

2. Mythology
The Nature of Myths
Stories of the Supernatural
The Nature of Oral Texts
Understanding Myths
Approaches to Analysis of Myths
Common Themes in Myths
Suggested Reading and Websites
Study Questions

3. Religions Symbols
What Is a Symbol?
Religious Symbols
Sacred Art
The Sarcophagus of Lord Pakal
The Meaning of Color
Sacred Time and Sacred Space
The Meaning of Time
Sacred Time and Space in Australia
The Symbolism of Music and Dance
The Symbolism of Music
The Symbolism of Dance
Suggested Reading and Websites
Study Questions

4. Ritual
The Basics of Ritual Performance
Prescriptive and Situational Rituals
Periodic and Occasional Rituals
A Classification of Rituals
A Survey of Rituals
Technological Rituals
Social Rites of Intensification
Therapy Rituals and Healing
Revitalization Rituals
Rites of Passage
Alterations of the Human Body
The Huichol Pilgrimage
Religious Obligations
Jewish Food Laws
Suggested Reading and Websites
Study Questions

5. Altered States of Consciousness
The Nature of Altered States of Consciousness
Entering an Altered State of Consciousness
The Biological Basis of Altered States of Consciousness
Ethnographic Examples of Altered States of Consciousness
San Healing Rituals
The Sun Dance of the Cheyenne
The Holiness Churches
Drug-Induced Altered States of Consciousness
Hallucinogenic Stuff among the Yanomamoe
The Use of Tobacco in South America
The Use of Peyote in the Native American Church
The Use of Marijuana among the Rastafarians
Suggested Reading and Websites
Study Questions

6. Religious Specialists
Defining Shamanism
Siberian Shamanism
Korean Shamanism
Pentecostal Healers as Shamans
Zuni Priests
Okinawan Priestesses
Eastern Orthodox Priests
Other Specialists
Healers and Diviners
Suggested Reading and Websites
Study Questions

7. Magic and Divination
The Nature of Magic
Magic and Religion
Rules of Magic
Magic in Society
Magic in the Trobriand Islands
Magic among the Azande
Sorcery among the Fore
Wiccan Magic
Forms of Divination
A Survey of Divination Techniques
Fore Divination
Oracles of the Azande
Divination in Ancient Greece: The Oracle at Delphi
Magical Behavior and the Human Mind
Magical Thinking
Why Magic Works
Suggested Reading and Websites
Study Questions

8. Souls, Ghosts, and Death
Souls and Ancestors
Variation in the Concept of the Soul
Souls, Death, and the Afterlife
Examples of Concepts of the Soul
Bodies and Souls
The Living Dead: Vampires and Zombies
Death Rituals
Funeral Rituals
Disposal of the Body
U.S. Death Rituals in the Nineteenth Century
U.S. Funeral Rituals Today
Days of Death
Suggested Reading and Websites
Study Questions

9. Gods and Spirits
The Dani View of the Supernatural
Guardian Spirits and the Native American Vision Quest
Christian Angels and Demons
Types of Gods
Gods and Society
The Gods of the Yoruba
The Gods of the Ifugao
Monotheism: Conceptions of God in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Suggested Reading and Websites
Study Questions

The Concept of Witchcraft in Small-Scale Societies
Witchcraft among the Azande
Witchcraft among the Navaho
Witchcraft Reflects Human Culture
Sorcery, Witchcraft, and AIDS
Euro-American Witchcraft Beliefs
The Connection with Pagan Religions
The Witchcraze in Europe
The Witchcraze in England and the United States
Modern-Day Witch Hunts
Suggested Reading and Websites
Study Questions

11. The Search for new Meaning
Adaptation and Change
Mechanisms of Culture Change
Haitian Vodou
Revitalization Movements
The Origins of Revitalization Movements
Types of Revitalization Movements
Cargo Cults
The Ghost Dance of 1890
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormonism)
Neo-Paganism and Revival
The Wiccan Movement
High Demand Religions
The "Cult" Question
Characteristics of High Demand Religions
Examples of High Demand Religions
UFO Religions
Suggested Reading and Websites
Study Questions

12. Religion, Conflict, and Peace
Religion and Conflict
Role of Religion in Conflict and Violence
Characteristics of Fundamentalist Groups
Case Studies of Religion and Conflict
The Iranian Revolution
The Arab Spring
The Hobby Lobby Case in the United States
Religion, Terrorism and Peace
Religious Conflict and Terrorism
Religion and Peace
Suggested Reading and Websites
Study Questions


About the Author

Rebecca L. Stein is Professor of Anthropology and Department Chair at Los Angeles Valley College, USA. Philip L. Stein is Professor of Anthropology (Emeritus) at Los Angeles Pierce College, USA. He is a fellow of the American Anthropological Association and a past president of the Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges.

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