Clifford Geertz

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Caution. This article/definition is in draft form and at this time may constitute no more than rough notes, reminders for required content, or absolutely nothing at all. Content is subject to revision.


Who was he? What did he write about.

Relate Terms

Clifford Geertz > Sacrilization

Notes

Divided Religion into tribal, mystical, and charismatic.[1]

Presumes Religion rests upon acceptance of authority (it does). However, does not specify the authority figures are typically representatives of the Accumulating Class

Recognizes that religions often use drama and emotions to manipulate and indoctrinate.

Asserts religion is completely non-rational

Suggest that the study of religion proceeds in two stages. "first, an analysis of the system of meanings embodied in the symbols which make up the religion proper, and, second, the relating of these systems to social-structural and psycho- logical processes."[2]

Clifford Geertz "...a religion is:

(l) a system of symbols which acts to (2) establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by (3) formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and (4) clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that (5) the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.[3]

Geertz also notes religion helps deal with the existential despair caused by "Bafflement, suffering, and a sense of intractable ethical paradox..." [4]

According to Geertz, religion arises partly in response to the Problem of Meaning. "The Problem of Meaning...is one of the things that drive men [sic] toward belief in gods, devils, spirits, totemic principles, or the spiritual efficacy of cannibalism..."[5]

Footnotes

  1. Geertz, Clifford. “Religion as a Cultural System.” In Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Religion, edited by Michael Banton, 1–44. Oxon: Routledge, 2004. p. 26.
  2. Geertz, Clifford. “Religion as a Cultural System.” In Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Religion, edited by Michael Banton, 1–44. Oxon: Routledge, 2004. p. 42.
  3. Geertz, Clifford. “Religion as a Cultural System.” In Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Religion, edited by Michael Banton, 1–44. Oxon: Routledge, 2004. p. 4.
  4. Geertz, Clifford. “Religion as a Cultural System.” In Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Religion, edited by Michael Banton, 1–44. Oxon: Routledge, 2004. p. 14.
  5. Geertz, Clifford. “Religion as a Cultural System.” In Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Religion, edited by Michael Banton, 1–44. Oxon: Routledge, 2004. p. 25