Religious memory as a conveyor of authoritative tradition: The necessary and essential component in a definition of religion

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dc.contributor.author Cox, James
dc.date.accessioned 2015-08-11T14:54:48Z
dc.date.available 2015-08-11T14:54:48Z
dc.date.issued 2015
dc.identifier.citation COX, J. 2015. Religious memory as a conveyor of authoritative tradition: the necessary and essential component in a definition of religion. Journal of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions, 2(1), 5-23. en
dc.identifier.volume 2 en
dc.identifier.issued 1 en
dc.identifier.startpage 5 en
dc.identifier.endpage 23 en
dc.identifier.issn 2009-7409
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10468/1885
dc.description.abstract In a landmark book published in 2000, the sociologist Danièle Hervieu-Léger defined religion as a chain of memory, by which she meant that within religious communities remembered traditions are transmitted with an overpowering authority from generation to generation. After analysing Hervieu-Léger’s sociological approach as overcoming the dichotomy between substantive and functional definitions, this article compares a ritual honouring the ancestors in which a medium becomes possessed by the senior elder’s ancestor spirit among the Shona of Zimbabwe with a cleansing ritual performed by a Celtic shaman in New Hampshire, USA. In both instances, despite different social and historical contexts, appeals are made to an authoritative tradition to legitimize the rituals performed. This lends support to the claim that the authoritative transmission of a remembered tradition, by exercising an overwhelming power over communities, even if the memory of such a tradition is merely postulated, identifies the necessary and essential component for any activity to be labelled “religious”. en
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher ISASR in association with the Study of Religions, University College Cork en
dc.relation.uri http://jisasr.org/
dc.rights ©2015, The Author(s). en
dc.subject Defining religion en
dc.subject Tradition en
dc.subject Authority en
dc.subject Zimbabwe en
dc.subject Celtic Shamanism en
dc.title Religious memory as a conveyor of authoritative tradition: The necessary and essential component in a definition of religion en
dc.type Article (peer-reviewed) en
dc.internal.availability Full text available en
dc.description.version Published Version en
dc.description.status Peer reviewed en
dc.identifier.journaltitle Journal of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions en


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