Cosmologies of pure realms and the rhetoric of pollution

Yohan Yoo, James W. Watts

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract

This collaboration between two scholars from different fields of religious studies draws on three comparative data sets to develop a new theory of purity and pollution in religion, arguing that a culture's beliefs about cosmological realms shapes its pollution ideas and its purification practices. The authors of this study refine Mary Douglas' foundational theory of pollution as "matter out of place," using a comparative approach to make the case that a culture's cosmology designates which materials in which places constitute pollution. By bringing together a historical comparison of Ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean religions, an ethnographic study of indigenous shamanism on Jeju Island, Korea, and the reception history of biblical rhetoric about pollution in Jewish and Christian cultures, the authors show that a cosmological account of purity works effectively across multiple disparate religious and cultural contexts. They conclude that cosmologies reinforce fears of pollution, and also that embodied experiences of purification help generate cosmological ideas. Providing an innovative insight into a key topic of ritual studies, this book will be of vital interest to scholars and graduate students in religion, biblical studies, and anthropology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherTaylor and Francis Inc.
Number of pages169
ISBN (Electronic)9781000392838
ISBN (Print)9780367712051
DOIs
StatePublished - May 31 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Cosmologies of pure realms and the rhetoric of pollution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this