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Anthropology of Religion

Reviewed Resources for Students and Teachers

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No single page can ever cover this topic completely but there is enough material to give you a good start finding just what 'is' on the Internet.

Here you will find articles and links about the anthropology and history of religion ancient and modern, as well as information about various smaller religions, sects and cults not covered in the sections about Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Hinduism.




Ancient Egyptian Religion __ A good introductory site about ancient Egyptian religion and myth. You will find three sections dealing with gods, mummification and the Book of the Dead. - illustrated - From Aldokkan.com - http://www.aldokkan.com/religion/religion.htm

Ancient Egyptian Religion __ A brief overview of the religion and divinities of ancient Egypt. - From Encyclopaedia of the Orient - http://i-cias.com/e.o/egypt_rl.htm

Anthropology of Religion __ "According to Stephen Glazier, in the introduction to his new collection of essays (Glazier 1997), one could easily arrive at the impression that, in the discipline of anthropology as a whole, anthropology of religion is currently on the run. It is difficult to find programs that take anthropology of religion seriously, where one can do graduate work, where one can find professors for whom religion is a primary concern. But in the post-Cold War era, with rising levels of ethnic and religious conflict, the effects of religion, its impact on our social and political lives, have greater visibility than at any time in the past twenty years. As Glazier and other evidence show, we may in fact be in a sort of Golden Age for the anthropology of religion--but not all the action is taking place inside the discipline of anthropology." Full text of a paper dealing with the anthropology of religion. - By Doug Padgett/Indiana University - http://www.indiana.edu/~wanthro/religion.htm

Anthropology of Religion __ An excellent review of the book "Religion Explained" by Pascal Boyer contains much to think about in its own right. - From Worldtrade.com - http://www.wordtrade.com/society/anthropologyreligion.htm

Anthropology of Religion __ Chapter by chapter review of the book "Anthropology of Religion" by Richley H. Crapo, Utah State University. The outlines along with additional material provided make for an educational read in their own right. - From McGraw-Hill Higher Education - http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0072387238/

Anthropology of Religion: Menu of Topics __ Site which is an introduction to Folk Religion and magic. Several topics ranging from common elements in religion to 'trancing.' - By Dennis O'Neil - http://anthro.palomar.edu/religion/default.htm

Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & Peoples Temple __ About this website "...Its primary purpose is to present information about Peoples Temple as accurately and objectively as possible. Being objective means offering as many diverse views and opinions about the Temple and the events in Jonestown as possible." - From San Diego State University - http://jonestown.sdsu.edu/


The Assyro-Babylonian Mythology FAQ __ Introduction to Assyro-Babylonian mythology. - From University of New Hampshire - http://webster.unh.edu/~cbsiren/assyrbabyl-faq.html 

Aztec Creation Story __ Story of how the Aztecs believed they came into existence. - http://www.indians.org/welker/aztecs.htm

Beliefnet: religions, spirituality, prayer, God, angels, politics, meditation... __ This website has information about most every faith community there is. Some call it biased. I call it objective. This website simply lays out the facts and allows readers to come to their own conclusions. Highly recommended. - illustrated - From Beliefnet - http://www.beliefnet.com/ 
Branch Davidians of Waco, Texas __ Information along with links to sites representing various perspectives on the group and its fate at the hands of the U.S. Government - From - University of Florida - http://www.religiousworlds.com/nrm/waco.html

Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School __ "to advance interdisciplinary, international, and interreligious exchange, learning, and research on the world's religions;"  This is only one of their goals.  Learn more. - illustrated - From harvard.edu - http://www.hds.harvard.edu/cswr/index.html

Confucianism: Founded by K'ung Fu Tzu __ "K'ung Fu Tzu (commonly pronounced Confucius in English) was born in 551 BCE in the state of Lu (modern day Shantung Province). He lived during the Chou dynasty, and era known for its moral laxity. Later in life, he wandered through many states of China, giving advice to their rulers. He accumulated a small band of students during this time. The last years of his life were spent back in Lu, where he devoted himself to teaching." - From Religioustolerance.org - http://www.religioustolerance.org/confuciu.htm

Confucius - K'ung-fu-tzu or Kongfuzi __ A useful introductory interpretation of Confucianism. - By Kelly Ross - illustrated - http://www.friesian.com/confuci.htm

Enuma Elish, The Epic of Creation __ Here is the full text of the Epic of Creation from The Seven Tablets of Creation - By L.W. King Translator - http://www.sacred-texts.com/ane/enuma.htm

First Fieldwork in Religious Anthropology - North Africa __ A report about anthropological fieldwork among the Islamic population of Tunisia which also makes enjoyable reading. "Gradually, in well-calculated doses, Khumiriya and its inhabitants are set loose upon us. We meet the first interpreters hailing from villages in the vicinity: neat, intelligible and friendly. On two fascinating walks around the best known sheikhdom (the smallest administrative unit) the project leader opens our eyes to the ecology of the mountain region and the ensuing socio-cultural impact. No more enjoying the scenery: even the most magnificent valleys turn into ‘social/economic/political units bound by nature’, woodlands left intact ‘indicate the absence of springs’ (the land would have otherwise been cultivated), the signs of erosion are not picturesque but tragic. The distance of the tourist fades away and participant observation begins to take its place. - By Wim van Binsbergen - http://www.shikanda.net/african_religion/field68.htm

Folklore and Mythology Electronic Texts, D. L. Ashliman, University of Pittsburgh __ Hundreds of click-to-read articles and other resources. - From pitt.edu - http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/folktexts.html

Gregory Flood's Roman Gods and Goddesses __ As complete a list of Roman civilization gods and goddesses as you may ever find - From About.com - http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/bl/bl_gregory_gods.htm
Heaven's Gate __ A short list of links to sites dealing with the comet and cosmic traveler group - From University of Florida - http://www.religiousworlds.com/nrm/gate.html 

A History of Christianity in Egypt __ "Coptic (or Christian) Egypt is one of the more overlooked aspects and time frames of ancient Egyptian civilization even though the period lasted almost 700 years." - From Tour Egypt - http://touregypt.net/chiste0.htm 

Hittite/Hurrian Mythology REF __ Find out just who the Hittites were and learn about some of their history.- http://pubpages.unh.edu/~cbsiren/hittite-ref.html

Jain Tradition Websites __ Here you will find a collection of online websites dealing with Jain traditions ancient and modern. - From Asian Traditions - http://www.religiousworlds.com/jain.html  

Lord Mahavir and Jain Religion __ "Lord Mahavir was the twenty-fourth and the last Tirthankara of the Jain religion. According to Jain philosophy, all Tirthankaras were born as human beings but they have attained a state of perfection or enlightenment through meditation and self realization. They are the Gods of Jains. Tirthankaras are also known as Arihants or Jinas." Topics include: Introduction, Directories, Songs and Prayers, Vegetarianism and Ahimsa, Jain Texts, Jain Pilgrimage, Jain Images, and Jainism in the Eyes of Others. - illustrated - From Colorado State University - http://www.cs.colostate.edu/~malaiya/mahavira.html

Maya Creator Gods __ You will need Acrobat Reader for this. An excellent paper dealing with Maya Creator Gods including over 60 illustrations - From Mesoweb.com - http://www.mesoweb.com/features/bassie/CreatorGods/CreatorGods.pdf

Naturalism and Scientific Aspirations in the Anthropology of Religion __ "Naturalism has had a deep and spirited influence on the anthropology of religion. I will explore this influence, particularly naturalism's connection to the goal of studying religion scientifically. While naturalism has been central to anthropology's scientific aspirations, at least since Tylor and Frazer, I argue that it has not been an essential factor in what success we have had at developing a science of religion. I begin by reviewing the varied ways naturalism can influence the study of religion." Full online text of the paper. - From Bates College - http://www.leaderu.com/offices/koons/docs/Wason.html

Overview of World Religions __ A large website with overviews and explanations of the world's major faiths. - From St. Martins college - http://philtar.ucsm.ac.uk/encyclopedia/index.html 

The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria__ "The religion of the Babylonians and Assyrians was the polytheistic faith professed by the peoples inhabiting the Tigris and Euphrates valleys from what may be regarded as the dawn of history until the Christian era began,..." - From Theophilus G. Pinches LL.D - http://www.sacred-texts.com/ane/rbaa.htm

Sacred Texts: African Religion __ An excellent source of information covering South Africa, the Bantu, West and Central Africa and the Carribean. - From sacred-texts.com - http://www.sacred-texts.com/afr/index.htm

Santeria, A syncretistic Caribbean Religion __ "The name by which the religion is now most commonly known, "Santeria," is a pejorative term first applied by the Spanish to the religious practices of the peasantry. It was used as a derogatory reference to the unusual amount of devotion and attention paid to the Catholic Saints, often in preference to Jesus Christ. This term was again used in Cuba to identify the "pagan" religion. The Yoruba devotion to the Orishas, who were often referred to as "santos" ("saints") by both slave and slave-owners, was mistakenly seen as the 'fanatical' worship of demigods and the neglect of 'God.' Therefore, the opprobrious and demeaning term 'Santeria' was extended to the religious practices of the so-called 'savages.' Only in recent years, after having the label applied by outsiders for an extended period of time, has the term begun to be used by members of the religion." - From Religioustolerance.org - http://www.religioustolerance.org/santeri.htm

Scientology __ "The Founder of the Church of Scientology was Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (1911-1986), born in Tilden, Nebraska on 1911-MAR-13. Hubbard traveled extensively during his youth, covering some quarter of a million miles by the time he was twenty years of age, including directing two expeditions to the Caribbean. On one expedition, he made the first mineralogical survey of Puerto Rico." Learn how he developed his religious philosophy and what the church has done since. - From Religioustolerance.org - http://www.religioustolerance.org/scientol.htm

Shinto:The Way of the Gods __ "Gods still inhabit the island country of Japan. Although Japan has experienced a rapid change of environment due to a gust of modernization, the Japanese feel the same presence of gods, in their modern lives, that they had felt in the ancient days. Shinto, written as the Way of the Gods, is a native religion of Japan that encompasses the poetic reality of senses, which is a part of basic Japanese principles of life. According to the Kojiki, the mythological chronology of Japan, the gods of the Shinto religion are believed to have created Japan as their image of paradise on earth, and the ruler of Japan, the Emperor, is a direct descendent of the Sun-goddess Amaterasu." - From Trincoll Journal - http://www.trincoll.edu/zines/tj/tj4.4.96/articles/cover.html

The Sikhism Home Page __ Learn about their origin and development as well as about their scriptures. - illustrated - From Sikhs.org - http://www.sikhs.org/topics.htm

Viruses of the Mind __ "A human child is shaped by evolution to soak up the culture of her people. Most obviously, she learns the essentials of their language in a matter of months. A large dictionary of words to speak, an encyclopedia of information to speak about, complicated syntactic and semantic rules to order the speaking, are all transferred from older brains into hers well before she reaches half her adult size. When you are pre-programmed to absorb useful information at a high rate, it is hard to shut out pernicious or damaging information at the same time. With so many mindbytes to be downloaded, so many mental codons to be replicated, it is no wonder that child brains are gullible, open to almost any suggestion, vulnerable to subversion, easy prey to Moonies, Scientologists and nuns. Like immune-deficient patients, children are wide open to mental infections that adults might brush off without effort." - By Richard Dawkins - http://cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/Dawkins/viruses-of-the-mind.html



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