Under Heaven's Brow: Pre-Christian Religious Tradition in Chuuk

Front Cover
American Philosophical Society, 2002 - Philosophy - 421 pages
For the people of Chuuk and for students of religion and Micronesian culture, this book pulls together and makes available in English the somewhat scattered published accounts (largely in German), along with Goodenough's own (as yet unpublished) information about religious beliefs and ritual practices in pre-Christian Chuuk. The materials are presented in a way that seeks to document and illustrate a particular approach, a functional one, to understanding the kinds of human concerns that give rise to religious behavior. Simply to describe traditional beliefs and rituals without the relevant social background information leaves the reader without any feeling for what were the emotional concerns, engendered by life in Chuukese society, that ritual practices helped people address. Ward Goodenough offers a theoretical introduction, the necessary background information about Chuuk and the ways in which members of Chuukese society experienced themselves and their fellows, the world view and overall set of beliefs providing the intellectual framework within which ritual practices were formulated and understood, and the various bodies of ritual practices. He concludes the book with a summary that pulls together how the rituals described appear to related to the emotional concerns that growing up and living in Chuuk tended to create.

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Page 2 - It is the premise of every religion — and this premise is religion's defining characteristic — that souls, supernatural beings, and supernatural forces exist. Furthermore, there are certain minimal categories of behavior which, in the context of the supernatural premise, are always found in association with one another and which are the substance of religion itself. Although almost any...
Page 2 - ... religion consists of belief and behavior associated in some way with a supernatural realm, a sphere of divine or spiritual beings
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Page 123 - ... n. the name of a wicked deity much feared, who is the great promoter of war and all mischief: jouraAim, a sorcerer.
Page 158 - ... should be clearly understood that the western concept of supernatural reward and punishment is completely absent from Ifaluk thought. An alusengau. a malevolent alus, is not such because he is punished for his immoral behavior on earth; nor is the moral person rewarded at death by becoming an alusemar. Both good and evil persons ascend' at death to the sky, their characters persisting in the sky as they were on earth.
Page 258 - It is said that these medicines have caused more than one woman to discard her clothing and to rush about completely naked in frantic pursuit of the man who applied the medicine.

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