1. Please describe the elements that all initiation rites have in common, referencing Arnold van Gennep and Victor Turner. What contribution does Sam Gill add to this with his research? Be sure to include specific information from the Gill reading.
2. Describe Purity Balls and explain their function within their own religious community. Also, discuss how this ritual fulfills the four functions of ritual and explain how this ritual does or does not include the classic elements of initiation rites.
3. Contrast any two of the following four creation stories: Enuma Elish, Hymn to Aton, and the 2 creation stories in Genesis with respect to the historical context and basic narrative of each story. How would Mircea Eliade analyze these stories? How would Rosemary Radford Ruether analyze them. Be thorough and specific.
4. Use specific examples to explain how both the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary present challenges to the canonical gospels as discussed in class. Be sure to mention historical context and use your analysis as a way to discuss the major issues Elaine Pagels explores in “What Ever Happened to God the Mother?”
5. What are the four functions of ritual as described in class? What are three kinds of ritual that often fulfill these functions? Please describe in detail two rituals we have discussed and identify: 1) what kind of ritual it is, and 2) how this ritual exemplifies the four functions of ritual. Please reference two of the three following rituals: baptism, bris, and/or Hindu cremation.
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