Magic, Myth, & Religion

Powerful Essays
Magic, Myth, & Witchcraft

Class Notes up to Midterm

1-24-2013

Symbols and Ritual Symbolism Theoretorical perspective that shape the social science exploration of religion
Core concepts today over Symbols

Symbols The complexity of human communication is made possible through the ability of humans to create and use symbols
They permit people to discuss abstract topics To explain the irrational or things we cannot see or physically interact
Example: Taj Mahj (is a symbol) The world of religion is a symbolic world
We interact with symbol all the time
We assign meanings to things*
Cultural constructs that often do not have universally recognized meanings. They are ARBITRARY! Stand for emotions and complex philosophical concepts
They do not have to be physical Example: Langauge is a system of symbols Displacements > the ability to use symbols to refer to hints and activities that are remote from the user Meaning of a symbol is not intrinsic, it does not emanate from the symbols itself, as if it are a quality that it inherently possesses
Example: The blue bottle of water that turns red when it rains > some might be seen by special people Symbols are important elements in religious practices, and religious rituals center on symbols and the manipulation of symbols The gesture of the body is a symbol
Actions that possesses a symbol Humans beings are Meaning Makers according to Max Weber
Symbolic Classification: the attempt to create and assign meanings to ideas, things actions Example: The age 16, 18, 21
In each of these markers we are not solely dealing with biology, but with classifications > it is what these mean or represent to us that determines behavior towards
Difficult cultures will assign objects, people, thing, events to mean something

Victor Turner******** Important for his

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