Ritual Perspectives and Dimensions--Revised Edition

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  • Edition: Revised
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-12-29
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Over The Past Two Decades, Ritual Studies has emerged as a major player in modern religious discourse-due in large part to the canon of literature that Catherine Bell produced throughout her career. Bell's second book on ritual, already a classic in the field, Ritual: Perspectives and Dimensions, offers a practical introduction to ritual and its study. A significant contribution to our understanding of this ubiquitous human phenomenon, this book considerably advances Bell's earlier and influential Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice.

Author Biography

Former Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies, Santa Clara University

Table of Contents

Cheories: The History of Interpretationp. 1
Myth or Ritual: Questions of Origin and Essencep. 3
Early Theories and Theoristsp. 3
The Myth and Ritual Schoolsp. 5
The Phenomenology of Religionsp. 8
Psychoanalytic Approaches to Ritualp. 12
Profile: Interpreting the Akitu Festivalp. 17
Conclusionp. 20
Ritual and Society: Questions of Social Function and Structurep. 23
Early Theories of Social Solidarityp. 24
Functionalismp. 27
Neofunctional Systems Analysesp. 29
Structuralismp. 33
Magic, Religion, and Sciencep. 46
Profile: Interpreting the Mukanda Initiationp. 52
Conclusionp. 59
Ritual Symbols, Syntax, and Praxis: Questions of Cultural Meaning and Interpretationp. 61
Symbolic Systems and Symbolic Actionp. 62
Linguisticsp. 68
Performancep. 72
Practicep. 76
Profile: Interpreting British and Swazi Enthronement Ritesp. 83
Conclusionp. 88
Rites: The Spectrum of Ritual Activitiesp. 91
Basic Genres of Ritual Actionp. 93
Rites of Passagep. 94
Calendrical Ritesp. 102
Rites of Exchange and Communionp. 108
Rites of Afflictionp. 115
Feasting, Fasting, and Festivalsp. 120
Political Ritesp. 128
Conclusionp. 135
Characteristics of Ritual-like Activitiesp. 138
Formalismp. 139
Traditionalismp. 145
Invariancep. 150
Rule-Governancep. 153
Sacral Symbolismp. 155
Performancep. 159
Conclusionp. 164
Contexts: The Fabric of Ritual Lifep. 171
Ritual Densityp. 173
Systemsp. 173
Typologiesp. 177
Orthopraxy and Orthodoxyp. 191
Traditional and Secularp. 197
Oral and Literatep. 202
Church, Sect, and Cultp. 205
Conclusionp. 209
Ritual Changep. 210
Tradition and Transformationp. 212
Ritual Inventionp. 223
Media and Messagep. 242
Conclusionp. 251
Ritual Reificationp. 253
Repudiating, Returning, Romancingp. 254
The Emergence of "Ritual,"p. 259
Conclusionp. 266
Notesp. 269
Referencesp. 313
Indexp. 343
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