Via 100 entries or "mini-chapters," 21st Century Anthropology: A Reference Handbook highlights the most important topics, issues, questions, and debates any student obtaining a degree in the field of anthropology ought to have mastered for effectiveness in the 21st century. This two-volume set provides undergraduate majors with an authoritative reference source that serves their research needs with more detailed information than encyclopedia entries but in a clear, accessible style, devoid of jargon, unnecessary detail or density.Key Features- Emphasizes key curricular topics, making it useful for students researching for term papers, preparing for GREs, or considering topics for a senior thesis, graduate degree, or career.- Comprehensive, providing full coverage of key subthemes and subfields within the discipline, such as applied anthropology, archaeology and paleontology, sociocultural anthropology, evolution, linguistics, physical and biological anthropology, primate studies, and more.- Offers uniform chapter structure so students can easily locate key information, within these sections: Introduction, Theory, Methods, Applications, Comparison, Future Directions, Summary, Bibliography & Suggestions for Further Reading, and Cross References.- Available in print or electronically at SAGE Reference Online, providing students with convenient, easy access to its contents.
Chapter 22: Religions and Beliefs
Religions and Beliefs
Religions and beliefs are of great importance for anthropological research on the development of humankind and its history, as they represent the human reaction to an extrahuman, holy, transcendent, or divine object. Almost no other terms of the mental and intellectual human life seem to have such a big and colorful variety as “belief” or “religion.”
At first, a look into the past: The term religion has its etymologic and historical roots in the ancient Roman world. A different context can be found for the terms personal belief or universal faith; they have their semantic origin in the Greek word pístis, which Saint Paul used in his letters, or in the Latin fides. Whereas religion gives the framework, belief fills this ...