New PDF release: Sacred Play: Ritual Levity and Humor in South Asian
By Selva J Raj, Corinne G. Dempsey
Explores the importance of levity and humor in South Asian non secular traditions.
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Additional resources for Sacred Play: Ritual Levity and Humor in South Asian Religions
Theology Today 48: 385–98. Driver, Tom F. 1998. Liberating Rites: Understanding the Transformative Power of Ritual. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Gilhus, Ingvild S. 1991. ” Religion 21: 257–77. Huizinga, Johan. 1950. Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. , ed. 1969a. ” In Holy Laughter: Essays on Religion in the Comic Perspective, 9–27. New York: Seabury Press. , ed. 1969b. Holy Laughter: Essays on Religion in the Comic Perspective. New York: Seabury Press.
Raj Introduction If there is any one thing that clearly distinguishes performance in the ritual mode from other kinds of events it is that the performer assumes roles and relates to what is going on in an “as if” way not appropriate to the workaday world. As Turner (1969) insisted, ritual realizes itself in the subjunctive mood. ” The playfulness of rituals, however, does not mean that rituals are nothing more than play-acting, much less that they cannot be efﬁcacious. “When a Christian priest lifts a chalice, or a New Guinea man greases a sacred stone, each really does what she or he is doing.
The former refers to social dyamics mentioned earlier: the absurdity of rigid societal constructions, especially those that regulate gender relations. The latter refers to villagers’ existential absurdities and frustrations of isolated existence bereft of life’s basic amenities and comforts. As Huizinga (1950) has argued, levity, humor, and play are “the accompaniment, the complement, in fact an integral part of life in general. It adorns life, ampliﬁes it and is to that extent a necessity both for the individual—as a life function—and for society by reason of the meaning it contains, its signiﬁcance, its expressive value, its spiritual and social associations, in short, as a culture function” (9).
Sacred Play: Ritual Levity and Humor in South Asian Religions by Selva J Raj, Corinne G. Dempsey