Beyond Primitivism: Indigenous Religious Traditions and by Jacob K. Olupona

By Jacob K. Olupona

What position do indigenous religions play in modern day global? past Primitivism is an entire appraisal of indigenous religions - faiths integrally attached to the cultures within which they originate, as designated from international religions of conversion - as practised throughout the USA, Africa, Asia and the Pacific this day. At a time whilst neighborhood traditions the world over are colliding with international tradition, it explores the way forward for indigenous faiths as they stumble upon modernity and globalization. past Primitivism argues that indigenous religions should not inappropriate in sleek society, yet are dynamic, innovative forces of constant energy and effect. together with essays on Haitian vodou, Korean shamanism and the Sri Lankan 'Wild Man', the members demonstrate the relevance of local religions to thousands of believers around the world, not easy the notion that indigenous faiths are vanishing from the face of the globe.

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He presents a thorough critique of scholars such as Edmund Tylor and James George Frazer, demonstrating the straitjacket that their theories constructed for analyzing indigenous rituals. Despite decades of such critiques, the legacy of these scholars continues to shape debates about ritual. Tambiah’s elegant critique of much prior scholarship and his own influential observations about ritual demands careful consideration. In the first section of this chapter, I will address some of the theoretical problems Tambiah raises for us about comparing “Western” and “indigenous” rituals; in the second part, I will examine a test case, Israelite and Ancient Near Eastern scapegoat rituals, chosen because it intersects with material Tambiah discusses.

The sins are not removed because the scapegoat has the power by itself to receive them and bear them away. They are removed because of the divine power and supervision accompanying the performance of the ceremony. 1 W r i g h t ’ s a n a l y s i s o f s c a p e g o a t r i t u a l s Name of ritual Action Wright’s analysis 1 Hittite Ritual of Uhhamuwa Coloured threads Transfer/disposal of evil, appeasement Relies on cathartic instruments, not deity No sacrifice Automatic, no human intention Incantation 2 Akitu Babylonian atonement rite 3 Hittite Ritual of Pulisa 4 Hittite Ritual of Ambazzi 5 Biblical Day of Purgation (Leviticus 16) Source: Wright (1987).

After reviewing theorists such as Max Müller, ironically Trompf asserts that Melanesian “wonder” directed at Western cultural products parallels Western wonder directed at indigenous Melanesian cultural products. Trompf observes that exotic, mysterious items, of course, entail experimentation, usually by imitation and imagined possession, stimulated by belief in “magical manipulations” of “like objects” and mimicry. Magic constitutes a conduit for power, allowing the believer to adapt to and recognize the existence of the Western world.

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