Thinking Through Rituals: Philosophical Perspectives

Routledge (2004)
Abstract
Existentialism claims that there is no human reality except in action: pragmatism argues that meaning and truth are given only in practice. Wittgenstein calls for attention to forms of life, Marxism calls for attention to doing, and feminism calls for attention to the body. What do these tell us about ritual acts and their connection to spirit and to truth in Christianity and other world religions? Religious rituals have a special status as virtually pure forms of belief in action. Thinking Through Rituals asks how philosophical tools like existentialism and Marxism can help us to understand the thought behind actions such as tasting the Christian host, joining in ceremony and speaking sacred words. Thinking Through Rituals proposes a new philosophical understanding of rituals as mental strategies giving access to knowledge of the world, in opposition to traditional approaches which see rituals as forms of social organization and control. Covering areas including the body, pilgrimage,initiation, sacrifice and art, this is an exciting look at the relationship between doing and meaning which is implied by ritual practice, but most fully explained by philosophical theory.
Keywords Ritual  Mind and body  Religion Philosophy
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Call number BL600.T47 2004
ISBN(s) 0415290597   0415290589   9780415290593
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