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Ritual and Religion in the Making of Humanity

$142.00

Part of Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology

  • Date Published: March 1999
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521228732

$142.00
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About the Authors
  • This book argues that religion can and must be reconciled with science. Combining adaptive and cognitive approaches, it is a comprehensive analysis of religion's evolutionary significance, and its inextricable interdependence with language. It is also a detailed study of religion's main component, ritual, which constructs the conceptions that we take to be religious and therefore central in the making of humanity's adaptation. The text amounts to a manual for effective ritual, illustrated by examples drawn from a range of disciplines.

    • Written by a very distinguished American anthropologist, author of several important studies
    • Emphasizes the point that just because religious and other conceptions are fabricated, it does not mean that they are not true
    • Arguably more profound than anything published in English over the last several decades and likely to reach a general intellectual readership
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Roy Rappaport's book is an admirable blend of rich information and analytical power. It is a committed and challenging reflection on the importance of religion and the constructive power of rituals for a postmodern world, seen in the light of its pre-modern and modern history. A courageous work in a period of overspecialized scholarship, I have never read such a comprehensive and penetrating treatise on rituals." Hans Kung, Universitat Tubingen

    "Once in a great while there appears a book that alters the dimensions of the intellectual field to which it speaks. This is such a book. In it, the author marshalls insights drawn from ethnography and ecology, the cybernetics of communication, comparative religion and semiotics to establish the centrality of ritual for what it means to be human. In clear and elegant prose, Roy Rappaport calls into question many of the ways we think about the world. The result is an intellectual adventure of the first magnitude." Eric Wolf

    "This...is one of the most comprehensive anthropological studies of religion ever published. But what truly sets it apart from other studies is that it is not only 'about' religion but is also a profoundly religious book." Choice

    "A profound and brilliant work that combines sustained deductive reasoning with a global, holistic vision. It explores the nature of language, truth, and experience, its consequences for moral and social order, and its significance for understanding the place of humanity in nature. As a fine grained, incisive, yet epistemologically complex and generous analysis, this is quite simply the most original and important social scientific investigation into the foundations of religion since Durkheim." Michael Lambek, University of Toronto

    "Ritual and the Making of [Humanity] is truly a magisterial work, breathtaking in scope, breadth, depth, and theoretical power... Rappaport's is an urgent, committed work." Sarah Caldwell, Religious Studies Review

    "...essential...in the developing conversation about how human beings can deeply know their involvement in the biosphere and in each other and how they can act together to preserve it." Whole Earth

    "The text offers a cross-cultural manual of effective ritual, illustrated by examples drawn from anthropology, history, philosophy, and comparative religion." Journal of Psychology & Christianity

    "...an exciting book emerging at the very end of the life of an eminent social scientist and anthropologist of religion. No review can do justice to the riches and erudition of this book." Edith Turner, Journal of Anthropological Research

    "The theologian and the liturgist, as well as the anthropologist, should have this book at hand, for any discussion of ritual in the future will have to deal with this comprehensive and provocative study of how ritual and religion shape human beings." Theological Studies

    ""Ritual and the Making of [Humanity] , Roy Rappaport convincingly argues that religion and ritual have played a central role in the development of the human species...this book's greatest strength is its interdisciplinary breadth and ambitious design, which should give it wide appeal and influence among anthropologists, historians of religion, and any reader willing to be challenged by an intellectually provocative study of religion and ritual." Jrnl of Religion

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 1999
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521228732
    • length: 564 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 35 mm
    • weight: 0.99kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The ritual form
    3. Self-referential messages
    4. Enactments of meaning
    5. Word and act, form and substance
    6. Time, eternity and liturgical order
    7. Intervals, eternity and communitas
    8. Simultaneity and hierarchy, 9. The idea of the sacred
    10. Sanctification
    11. Truth and order
    12. The numinous, the holy, and the divine
    12. Religion in adaptation
    13. The breaking of the holy and its salvation.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Anthropological Study of Religion
    • Art and the Human Spirit
    • Majors Seminar: Sensing the Sacred
    • Religion, Magic, and Witchcraft
    • Witchcraft in Ages of Belief
    • nature of religion
  • Author

    Roy A. Rappaport

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