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Exam 1 Vocabulary

Introduction Comparison the intellectual act of negotiating sameness and difference in a set of observation Sameness desribes the fact that a set o observations resemble one naother or seem related Difference- describes the fact that a set of observations do not resemble one another but seem distinct Chapter 1 Anthropomorphism tendency to attribute human form to non-human entities like gods Apologetic the discipline of defending through argument one’s own religious system or philosophical position Axial Age the period of time, roughly between 800 and 200 BCE, during which human civilizations around the world developed radically new religious orientations Canon Formation the process whereby a tradition defines the scope and content of its scriptures by choosing certain texts as authoritative or revealed and rejecting others Cosmotheism a religious system that understands the physical universe to be a God and posits local gods as partial manifestations of this cosmic God Diffusion Theory the hypothesis that the religious complex found in one place came from another place through migration, trade, war, or other forms of travel Doctrine specific teaching or system of beliefs Euhemerism The theory that the gods had originally been human beings who were worshipped in their own lives for their accomplishments and were later divinized as local gods Evolutionary Monotheism the historical phenomenon of polytheistic systems developing into an accompanying monotheistic system Explicit Theology a model of the nature of God (or the gods) that is spelled out systematically Gnostics Jewish and Christian communities of the first centuries VE who emphasized a direct mystical knowing (gnōsis) over literalist belief Heretics people who, instead of submitting to the authority of tradition, follow their own opinion and choose to believe something else Heterodoxy any religious system believed to be “other” than/at variance with the official (orthodox) position, hence incorrect, and hence not authoritative Implicit Theology a model of the nature of God or the gods that is not spelled out systematically but assumed in mythology or ritual Monotheism any religious system that holds that there is only one God Mystical a highly individualistic type of religious orientation, which focuses on the direct experience of inner spiritual realities and hence is very difficult to organize socially Neoplatonism Middle Platonism, a continuation of the Platonic tradition in Alexandria in Athens, became “Neoplatonism” from Plotinus on (third century CE) Non-local Self The phenomenon of recognizing one’s self most accurately reflected not in the culture and religion one was born in, but in a “foreign” framework Orthodoxy an ideological system, especially religious- usually the one in authority- believed to be “Straight” (orthos), in other words correct Pagan people (originally from the countryside) who do not accept Christianity Panentheism position claiming that the physical universe is within God or is a part of God’s body, but that God also transcends it Pantheism position claiming that everything is God and God is identical with the physical/natural universe Platonic Orientalism the ancient tendency to locate in the orient (“the East”) revelation and wisdom, thought to resemble or prefigure the teachings of Plato

Polemic the art or practice of arguing against against an alien philosophical position or religious belief Polytheism any religious system that holds that there are many gods Revolutionary Monotheism- a type of monotheism that denies the existence of other gods rather than seeing them as expressions of its own cosmic god Scripture- any set of writings believed to be revealed or divinely inspired Theology-intellectual domain consisting in attempts to relate human reason to a revelation, particularly around the nature of God, in the traditions of a given community of believers

Chapter 2 Altered States of Consciousness- forms of mind, often of an extreme religious nature, that are experienced as radically other than the social ego Ancient Wisdom Narrative- an imagined history of religious truth that posits a line of inspired teachers who passed on a specific revelation Christ of Faith- the theological understanding of Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah or Son of God, within a Christian community or belief system Class- the place of an individual or group in a hierarchical social system, usually determined by birth, wealth, education, and/or political power Constructivism- position claiming that all forms of human experience, including religious forms, are best explained as “constructed” through local processes Contextualism- position claiming that human behavior and experience are best explained as the product of local linguistic, social, and political processes that cannot be universalized Counter Culture- a youth movement, roughly from 1960 to 1975, that aimed to “counter” established society and to embrace alternative forms of consciousness and culture Deism- natural theology that views the universe as a kind of machine assembled by a God who “steps back” after creation, leaving the world to its own mechanisms False Consciousness- any form of awareness that relies for its stability on the person remaining ignorant about the nature, dynamics, and/or origin of his or her ideas and beliefs Fundamentalism- a modern way of being religious that relies on highly selective literalists readings of an inerrant scripture and on a return to fundamentals-the postulated original truths of the faith Gender- the “standard” model of what it means to be a man, a woman, or some third gender in a particular culture Historical Critical Method- contextualizing a text by treating it as a human product written at a particular time, in a particular place, for a specific audience, and with a specific purpose Historical Jesus- the historical figure of Jesus of Nazareth, as best we can approximate his life and teachings through academic methods Holocaust/Shoah- the systematic murdering of approximately ten million people, mostly Jews, in the labor prisons of the Nazi concentration camps Idealism- a philosophical position that understands mind as the ultimate nature and source of reality Linguistics- the study of languages-sometimes pursued from a comparativist angle and aimed toward modeling the universal structures of languages Marxism- the philosophical doctrine of Karl Marx-a form of dialectical materialism positing that all the forms of human consciousness, social behavior, political order, culture, art, and ideology (“the superstructure”) are produced by their corresponding economic systems (“the base”) Materialism- a position according to which matter is the primordial factor or “existent” in the

universe Metaphysical Religion- a phrase used to describe those alternative movements in modernity that emphasize mind, magical powers, energy, and healing “beyond the physical” Modernity- a period characterized by a very broad and influential style of thought and practice, which emphasizes scientific progress, reason, and universalism Natural Theology- a way of thinking about GOd that relies on the study of the natural world as an expression of God’s nature, wisdom, and intentions Perennialism- position claiming that the different major religions all possess a single mystical truth or a common core Projection Theory- a model of religion that posits that the gods and other religious phenomena are expressions of human nature rendered “objective” or external to human beings Race- a person’s or a group’s identity, as constructed on the basis of skin color or presumed physical features Romantic Reversal- an employment of projection theory during the romantic movement that suggested that the human projector may in fact be divine Spirituality- term used to signal a personal way of relating to the divine or the underlying reality, a way that is more or less independent of religious authority and its social institutions Tantra- an umbrella term covering a set of Asian traditions that emphasize the unity between the divine and the human nature, particularly as this unity is manifested in the human body and its erotic energies

Chapter 3 Agnosticism position claiming that we cannot know the truth about religious matters; it is often combined with the conviction that science is the only reliable means of knowing Alchemy a practice that combines chemical and spiritual techniques to transform matter into gold and/or the human being into spirit Both-and the paradoxical cognitive structure that robust comparison often produces Cultural Anthropology the study of human nature through the analysis of social practices, symbols, myths, rituals, and so on Culture the entire network of institutions, laws, customs, symbols, technologies, and arts that constitute the life of a particular society Experience a subjectivity felt, perceived, or cognized event that is self-evident to the person “having” it General History of Religions the full historical sweep of humanity’s religious experience, from prehistory to the present day Humanities the study of consciousness coded in culture Initiation a set of formalized activities and teachings through with a person’s social or religious identity is transforms Insider-outside problem the question of who makes a better scholar of religion: the “inside” believer or the “outside” analyst Liminal State the middle or “in-between” phase of an initiation in which the person’s old identity is deconstructed Magic ritual practice in which an assumed correspondence between a mental state and some aspect of the physical world allows the former to influence the latter Plausibility the degree to which an idea is accepted or rejected within a particular cultural context, very ofteirrespectivety of its objective truth or falsehood Principle of Extremity the hypothesis that the dynamics of religion can best be seen in extreme

forms of religious experience, where they are magnified and therefore rendered “objective” or external to human beings Profane that which is ordinary, banal, or mundane Reflectivity capacity to think about thinking, become aware of awareness, and hence free consciousness temporarily from the parameters of society and ego Religion any set of established stories, rituals, mental and bodily practices, and institutions that have built up around extreme encounters with some anomalous presence, power, or hidden order Religious Question any question that attempts to address matters of ultimate concern, such as the nature of reality, the meaning of life, or the purpose of suffering Sacred that which is special or set apart from the ordinary and is often experienced as a power or presence at once terrifying and attractice Secularism any system of thought or practice that does not invoke a religious principle and does not rely on explicitly religious values World Religion a religious tradition that has expanded beyond its original cultural context, to reach a global audience

Chapter 4 Asceticism- a religious lifestyle of discipline and denial of bodily pleasures for spiritual ends Blood Sacrifice- a sacrifice that involves killing an animal or a human being Chaos- state of complete disorder and non-meaning Civil Religion Rituals- public ceremonies that draw on religious structures for political purposes, thus imbuing the city or nation-state with sacred values Cosmos- state of order and meaningful structure Creation Myths-sacred stories about how the world came into being Divination- any practical, formal or spontaneous, that attempts to intuit, predict, or fathom the future, usually toward some practical end (such as deciding on a course of action) Founding Myth- sacred story about the founding figure of a religion Funerary Rituals- religious practices around death and the handling of corpses Gift Model of Sacrifice- the implicit or explicit understanding that a sacrificial offering is a “gift” to the deity for which something is expected in return Hagiography- an idealized story of a saint or founder that expresses the self-understanding and values of the tradition in question Hero or quest myths- a type of mth that works through the staged topes of departure, adventure in a foreign land, temptation, battle, discovery or victory, and return Immanence- being present in (or coextensive with) the natural or the physical world Libation Rituals- religious practices of spilling a liquid, often over or before the image of a deity, and often in commemoration of the dead or chthonic deities Life cycle rituals- religious practices around a biological event or a social transformation related to a biological event (such as birth, puberty, marriage, death) Liturgical Rituals- religious practices designed to honor, worship, or praise a deity Mythology- the systematic study of myths and sacred stories Oracles- prophecies or ecstatic and enigmatic utterances given by a professional medium at a client’s request Pilgrimage Rituals- ritual acts of traveling, for a religious purpose, to a place held to be sacred Prophecy- the use of altered states of consciousness to predict the future or to criticize a political or religious authority Ritual- the re-enactment of a muth through repeated scripted actions, usually in a culturally

prescribed space and time by a religious specialist Sacrifice- a ritual in which some vegetable, fluid, animal, or human being is offered to a deity, sometimes through violence and usually in hopes that the deity will give something in return Scapegoat Model of Sacrifice- model that works on the implicit or explicit assumptions that the sacrificial offering is a replacement or stand-in for the community Sky god- a deity, generally male, believed to reside in the sky Transcendence- state of being above, beyond, or outside the natural-physical world Trickster- a mythical figure who, through various comedic, deceitful, and offensive behaviors upsets the established order in order to mock, renew, or reform the world Chapter 5 Anthropocentrism tendency to think of human beings as the most valuable species on earth Anthropogony myth about how human beings came to be Binary any set of opposites (Self/other, subject/order, mental/material, inside/outside) within a cultural or cognitive system that structures through, feeling, and behavior within that system Comnensality the required practice of eating with one’s own social class or subgroup Contagion the belief that an attribute of a social nature (like pollution or impurity) can be transmitted through touch or physical contact Cosmogony myth about the genesis of the universe Cosmology the study of the origin, evolution, and structure of the physical universe Deep ecology a broad environmentalal movement that seeks to awaken human beings to the biological fact that they are intimate parts of a larger ecosystem, which is their bigger body Draper-white thesis a model of the interaction of religion and science that emphasizes conflict and the attempted suppression of science by religious authorities Ecology of religion the study of religions as expressions of their natural local environments Endogany practice of marrying strictly within one’s close social subgroup Entheogen generating a god within,” a modern name given to sacred plants and substance that can catalyze extreme religious states Gaia theory the hypothesis that the earth is a self-regulating system Hierarchy any system that subordinates “lower” classes of people to “higher” classes of people within an idealized social whole Hierophony a “manifestation of the sacred” through the medium of a natural object or event, for instance a tree, a rock, a place, an image, or a celestial phenomenon Kosher laws dietary rules prominent in many forms of Judaism Merton thesis a model of the interaction between religion and science that emphasizes resonance and religion’s influence on the development of science Purity codes a set of rules and attending moods and assumptions that structure a particular community around the binaries of “purity” and “pollution”

Shaman a religious specialist found in many indigenous cultures, who specializes in trance states, ecstatic journeys, healing, magical powers and battle, music and mythical lore Structuralism method within anthropology that understands particular phenomena as meaningful parts of a larger metasystem, whole, or “structure” Chapter 6 Agricultural Pattern- a widely distributed comparative pattern through which sexuality is rendered analogous to agriculture, the male being viewed as planter of the “seed” in the female “soil” Celibacy- a religious state defined by the commitment not to engage in any sexual activity for the sake of some religious end

Circumcision- the cutting of the tip of the foreskin as a mark of religious identity

Divinization- the process of becoming a god or goddess Erotic- describes a sexual event that also functions as an opening or trigger to a religious experience Gender Equity-the ethical principle that the genders should be treated as equal Gender- the “standard” model of what it means to be a man, a woman, or some third gender in a particular culture Male Androgyne- a mythical figure, often symbolizes wholeness or divinity, who is both male and female but whose maleness is privileged as a primary feature Monasticism- the practice of living in celibacy, within a same-sex community, for the sake of religious principles or belief Paternity-patriarchy principle- a mode of comparison that follows issues of “correct” family line, inheritance, and the privileging of male authority Patriarchy- rule by the father”- a term that characterizes societies and cultures heavily dominated by male interests, perspectives, and authority; a very stable, nearly universal feature in traditional social systems of the past Queer Criticism- an approach to interpreting human sexuality and its expressions that emphasizes the fluid and morphing nature of sexual desire and gender identity Sexual orientation- the specific (but often quite fluid) ways in which a person’s sexual desires are oriented toward an object or objects of a particular gender Sexual Trauma-condition in which the psyche has been wounded, cracked open, or otherwise compromised by some previous sexual violation or negative experience Sexuality- a biologically driven instinct that, although genetically determined to varying degrees, is nevertheless open to cultural shaping Super Sexualities- altered states of energy and consciousness commonly experienced both as sexual and as the means of divinization, transcendence, and/or religious transmutation Third gender- general phrase for all those mixed genders, alternative sexualities, bisexualities, or transsexualities that do not follow the traditional binary logic of male/female Transgression- ritual act of subverting a purity code system toward some religious end