Ritual : Perspectives and Dimensions: Perspectives and Dimensions (Google eBook)

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Oxford University Press, Oct 30, 1997 - Religion - 368 pages
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From handshakes and toasts to chant and genuflection, ritual pervades our social interactions and religious practices. Still, few of us could identify all of our daily and festal ritual behaviors, much less explain them to an outsider. Similarly, because of the variety of activities that qualify as ritual and their many contradictory yet, in many ways, equally legitimate interpretations, ritual seems to elude any systematic historical and comparative scrutiny. In this book, Catherine Bell offers a practical introduction to ritual practice and its study; she surveys the most influential theories of religion and ritual, the major categories of ritual activity, and the key debates that have shaped our understanding of ritualism. Bell refuses to nail down ritual with any one definition or understanding. Instead, her purpose is to reveal how definitions emerge and evolve and to help us become more familiar with the interplay of tradition, exigency, and self- expression that goes into constructing this complex social medium.
  

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Contents

Che History of Interpretation
1
Questions of Social Function and Structure
23
Questions
61
Che Spectrum of RitualActivities
91
Five Characteristics of Rituallike Activities
138
Che Fabric of Ritual Life
171
seveN Ritual Change
210
eiGHC Ritual Reification
253
Notes
269
References
313
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