Ritual : Perspectives and Dimensions

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Rituals may be one of the most obvious aspects of social and religious life, but it is certainly not the most accessible. As a subject of systematic historical and comparative study ritual has proved to be a particularly complicated phenomenon to analyse, because of the variety of activities that may be considered ritual and the multiplicity of perspectives from which they may legitimately be interpreted. In this book Catherine Bell offers a practical introduction to ritual and its study, presenting comprehensive overviews of the most influential theories of religion and ritual, the major categories of ritual activity, and the key debates that have shaped our interest in ritual. Instead of approaching ritual as a clear-cut and timeless object of scrutiny, Bell focuses on how a variety of definitions and constructed understandings of ritual have emerged and changed. She organizes the issues and data within three distinct frameworks: the first addreses theories of ritual; the second explores the range of activities understood as ritual; and the third analyses the contexts and conditions in which ritual activitiis take place. Throughout, Bell develops the position that ritual activity appears to us today as a complex social medium, a cultural construction of playing a wide variety of roles and communication a rich density of meanings.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 368 pages
  • 160 x 237.2 x 36.6mm | 721.22g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 019511051X
  • 9780195110517

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95 ratings
3.75 out of 5 stars
5 26% (25)
4 39% (37)
3 23% (22)
2 7% (7)
1 4% (4)
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