Foundations II: The Historical Anthropology of Religion
Anthropology is the science of humans. Anthropology of religion observes and interprets the phenomenon 'religion' in social and cultural context. Historical anthropology of religion focuses on the beginnings of this approach started in the 19th century. Although the course concentrates mainly on the beginnings, we will signalize links to the present theoretical approaches and research strategies of religion. Although anthropology is an autonomous approach it includes historical, sociological, psychological and theological theories.
The structure of the course is based on the main authors and main issues of "Religionswissenschft" and try to be near to original textual resources. Every unit will have one part theoretical introduction, another part collective readings of the most relevant passages with discussion and one part creative using of the approach by common analyze of contemporary social and cultural phenomena.
- From the naive to professional view
- Main definitions of religion (substantive and functional)
- Religion in different disciplines (history, sociology and anthropology)
- definitions of religion
- myths, narratives, orientations
- myth versus logos discussion
- defining the term "primitive"
...of or relating to a preliterate or tribal people having cultural or physical similarities with their early ancestors (Further reading: Eller 18ff)
...prelogical / logical // inclusive / disjunctive (Lévy-Bruhl)
- culture (and / or civilization)
...survival theory of Tylor
...theory of "animism"
...theory of the universal animation of nature
- Discussion on Busójárás festival
-Main theorists of ritual transformation
Life cycle of religions
- The dynamic of the religions and religious organizations
- Life cycle of religious organizations
- Syncretism in different approaches
- Typology of religious organizations - especially of the NRM's
The term 'world religions' is very common in the discourse about religion. But in the approach of cultural anthropology world religions are afterward theoretical concepts.
The Axial Age theory was elaborated by the German philosopher, Karl Jaspers, and actualized by Norbert Bellah and Hans Joas. It can show, how works the theorization regarding religion.
Guest lecturer: Sándor Cserháti on René Girard's theory of religion and violence.
Two insights will be discussed regarding the transformation or development of religion both based on the Darwinism. The positive progress theory and the negative progress theory. Both the positive and the negative is present in the historical anthropology of religion.
But in the popular recognized theory of secularization, there is only the negative progress theory present. Therefore, it's important to understand secularization in a more distinctive way.
Religion and Tribalism
Summary and Closing
For a successful completion of the course are participation (40%) and presentation (60%) important.