Write a five- to six-page (1,250- to 1,500-word) essay on ritual that employs methods from the academic, interdisciplinary study of religions. Present a total of three rituals that come from religions of the East: one from India, one from China, and one from Japan. This means that each ritual will occupy around two pages—one of which treats the Religionist perspective, and one of which treats the Reductionist perspective. The paper should begin with a short introductory paragraph, and end with a short conclusion.
Discuss each ritual separately from the two methodological perspectives introduced in this course: Religionist and Reductionist.
Your analysis of each ritual from the Religionist perspective might include questions such as, (a) What religious symbols are used in this ritual, and what is their meaning to the participants?, (b) What ritual actions performed by the people (or religious specialist) are supposed to prolong a hierophany or kratophany?, and (c) What are some of the religious experiences had by participants in the ritual? How might these reflect the mysterium tremendum and the mysterium fascinans?
Your analysis from the Reductionist perspective might include questions such as, (a) Was the ritual performed by a certain social class, or for a particular political end? (b) What else was happening in the culture at the time the ritual was created or performed? and (c) Did this ritual serve to bolster the political interest of the status quo?
At the end of your essay, reflect on your reaction to these rituals. Base your reflections on questions such as, (a) What biases do I bring to these rituals? (b) Have I viewed the rituals as an insider or as an outsider? and (c) How might someone viewing the rituals from the opposite perspective (e.g., inside instead of outside) react to them?
Incorporate course vocabulary into your discussion, including words specific to the religious traditions discussed, and methodological terms from UMUC modules 1 and 2 and other required content. Use at least three terms specific to each tradition you discuss, and 10 terms from the chart below, using at least two from each category. (Paired terms separated by a “/” count as a single term, whether you use one or both.) Render all of these terms in boldface or all caps. (See module 1 and module 2 vocabulary flash cards for most definitions.)
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