Cover: Creation of the Sacred: Tracks of Biology in Early Religions, from Harvard University PressCover: Creation of the Sacred in PAPERBACK

Creation of the Sacred

Tracks of Biology in Early Religions

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$37.00 • £32.95 • €33.95

ISBN 9780674175709

Publication Date: 01/13/1998


272 pages

6 x 9 inches


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  • Preface
  • 1. Culture in a Landscape: Situating Religion
    • Beyond Culture
    • Sociobiology?
    • A Common World: Reduction and Validation
  • 2. Escape and Offerings
    • Finger Sacrifice
    • Biology, Fantasy, and Ritual
    • Castration and Circumcision
    • Scapegoats
    • Life for Life
  • 3. The Core of a Tale
    • “Caught up in Tales”
    • The Propp Sequence: The Quest
    • From Biological Programs to Semantic Chains
    • The Shaman’s Tale
    • The Initiation Tale: The Maiden’s Tragedy
  • 4. Hierarchy
    • The Awareness of Rank
    • Rituals of Submission
    • The Strategy of Praise
    • Two-Tiered Power
    • The Language of Power: The Envoy
  • 5. Guilt and Causality
    • Religious Therapy and the Search for Guilt
    • Present Sufferings
    • The Foundation of Cults
    • The Mediators: Risks and Opportunities
    • Explanatory Models: Fetters, Wrath, Pollution
  • 6. The Reciprocity of Giving
    • Le don in Perspective
    • Giving in Religion
    • Genealogy of Morality?
    • Failing Reciprocity: Religious Criticism
    • Failing Reciprocity: The Facts of Ritual
    • Gift and Sacrifice
    • Aversion and Offerings: From Panic to Stability
  • 7. The Validation of Signs: A Cosmos of Sense
    • Accepting Signs: Divination
    • Decision through Signs: The Ordeal
    • Creating Signs: Territory and Body
    • Language Validated: The Oath
  • Conclusion
  • Abbreviations
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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