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46 Cards in this Set

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Purity codes
ritual rules about “purity” and “pollution” that structure how a particular society or community works by defining not only what a people can eat, but also what they can touch, with whom they can mingle or eat, whom they can marry, how ill, wounded, or dead bodies are to be handled, what constitutes a “polluting” sore or disease, what kind of sexual act is proper, and so on
Androgyne
a mythical figure, often symbolizing wholeness or completeness, who is both male and female at the same time; not to be confused with hermaphroditism, which is the physiological condition of possessing both male and female genitals
Foot-binding
practice of the higher social classes in China in which the woman’s foot was essentially broken and bent back to prevent her from performing physical labor; it was considered a sign of high social status or wealth
Honor killing
the killing of a daughter, sister, or wife for shaming the family after she has been raped, participated in an adulterous affair, or has been otherwise sexually violated
Sexuality
a biologically driven instinct that, although genetically determined to varying degrees, is nevertheless open to the profound cultural conditioning and influences of the social environment in which it develops and comes to maturation; put the emphasis on biological matters here
gender
a culturally variable model of masculinity or femininity, that is, the meanings, values, and practices normally associated with being a man or a woman in a particular social system; put the emphasis on social influences here
sexual orientation
the specific ways a person’s sexual desires are oriented or directed toward a particular kind of sexual object or objects; not to be understood in simple “binary” or either-or terms, as if every person is always either heterosexual or homosexual
celibacy
a religious state defined by a commitment not to engage in any sexual activity for the sake of some religious end
queer criticism
a technical term used by scholars to refer to any kind of sexual lifestyle, orientation, institution, text, or symbolic system that is fluid, ambiguous, and constantly morphing with respect to the direction of desire and/or the gender identity of the figures involved
third gender
an umbrella term for all those mixed genders, alternative sexualities, bisexualities, or transsexualities that do not follow the traditional binary logic of male/female or heterosexual/homosexual but break out into other “queer” modes of sexual being and religious experience
Two Spirit
a figure of native North American cultures, whose work, sex, and dress habits mix gender roles and whose bodies are believed to house both a masculine and feminine spirit, hence the expression “Two Spirit”
patriarchy
literally, the “rule” (archos) of the “father” (pater), a modern critical term that refers to the very stable, nearly universal observation that traditional cultural systems and religions are heavily weighted toward male interests, values, authority, power, education, and perspectives
moral or cultural relativism
the position that it is, in principle, impossible to judge fairly between different cultural value systems on moral matters, since one can only make such judgments from the perspective of one’s own culture or society
paternity-patriarchy principle
the method for comparing sex, gender, and religion across traditional cultures that works from the two principles that (1) religious purity codes about proper sexual behavior can be explained by the traditional (male) concern over paternity and the passing of wealth and inheritance through the son; and (2) societies tend to structure themselves around male interests, authority, and power
circumcision
the “cutting around” of the tip of the foreskin of the penis; a marker of religious identity in Judaism and Islam that originated in patriarchal notions of male inheritance and lineage
chakras
literally, “circles,” a series of conscious energy centers within Tantric forms of yoga located along the central channel of the body, with the lowest centers located in the anal and genital regions and the highest ones in and just above the head
the erotic
a sexual experience that also functions as a religious experience
ananda
literally, “bliss,” a characteristic of the ultimate nature of reality in many forms of Hindu philosophy and practice
brahman
the ultimate nature of reality, the cosmic essence of all there is in Hinduism and certain branches of Indian philosophy
atman
the inner, immortal, divine “Self” within the human being, the Witness behind all cognitive and sensory experiences, first articulated in the Upanishads and later articulated in Hinduism and Indian philosophy
ch'i
the “life energy” of Chinese Daoist philosophy and sexual yoga.
sublimation
the process in psychoanalysis by which sexual energies are routinely displaced or transformed into other forms of emotional, cultural, artistic, and religious experience
drive model
any psychological model, particularly evident in early forms of psychoanalysis, in which the psyche and body are imagined as a hydraulic system in which various “drives” or “currents” being are constantly being directed, repressed, displaced, and sublimated into different forms of experience
libido
according to Freud, a kind of material or quasi-material energy that moves through the body in quasi-mechanistic or hydraulic ways and is closely associated, but not the same thing as, sexual desire and sexual energy
column of salvation
a comparative pattern in the history of religions in which the human spinal channel is imagined as a circuit of energy through which erotic-religious energies can be directed “down” and “out” or “up” and “in,” with the former movement leading to dispersion into the material world of death and decay and the latter movement leading to the soul’s concentration and salvation
male:female::_____:____
male - spirit
female - nature

male is to female as spirit is to nature; a comparative pattern evident throughout human culture in which the male is associated with spirit and transcendence and the female is associated with nature and immanence; male is “up,” and female is “down”
agricultural pattern
a basic comparative pattern evident through human culture through which traditional societies understood human sexuality to be analogous to agricultural practices, that is, the male was understood to be the planter of the “seed” in the female “soil”
sexual trauma
the psychological condition in which the psyche or person has been damaged, cracked open, or otherwise compromised by some sexual violation or negative experience
panentheism
“all-in-Godism,” that is, a model of God that views God as existing “in everything” or, alternately, that views everything as existing in God
charisma
a special power or “electricity” attributed to a religious figure who is set apart as holy or sacred within a particular community or culture
institutionalization of charisma
the social process whereby the special power or “charge” of a religious figure is preserved, maintained, and passed on after his or her death, often in a social form, office, or set of rituals
shaman
a generic or comparative term, drawn from the indigenous religions of Siberia, for a religious specialist who serves numerous common functions and demonstrates any number of special skills and features around sickness and healing, the fate of the soul after death, and crisis moments in the life of the community (the hunt, war, etc.)
prophet
a comparative term drawn from Max Weber for a religious individual endowed with special superhuman gifts who speaks for God to a particular community
priest
a comparative term drawn from Max Weber for a religious individual who channels and mediates the charisma of the tradition through official ritual and formal role or office and whose authority does not rely on any special prophetic or personal charismatic gifts
relics
the ritual preservation and use or human bodies or body parts that are considered to be holy, as if the sacred power contained in such bodies functions as a kind of contagion, as if it can be transmitted through presence, contiguity, or touch
ideal type
an abstract description of some social pattern that exists nowhere in the real world in this ideal or pure form, but which can nevertheless be used as an interpretive tool to think about history in rigorous and insightful ways; usually associated with the sociology of Max Weber
Church
a comparative term drawn from the sociologist Ernst Troeltsch for a religious organization that is closely aligned with the political polity of the land and its elites; that has toned down its otherworldly orientation and recognized the wisdom of a certain practical compromise with the social world; that is privileged economically and socially by virtue of this religious-political alignment; and that instills in its subjects, through public ritual and doctrine, a comprehensive and singular worldview that the people participate in more or less automatically
sect
a comparative term drawn from the sociologist Ernst Troeltsch for a group of people, usually from the lower economic and uneducated classes, who have become disillusioned with the public Church for its formality and have broken away to form a smaller community in order to intensify the religious life of individuals around some traditional doctrinal point or ritual practice; a sect is still closely aligned with the values and worldview of the Church type
denominations
a modern sect that no longer takes a hostile or contentious position vis-à-vis the world and other religious communities, but instead has become respectable and gone mainstream in a modern pluralistic society
mysticism
here a comparative term drawn from the sociologist Ernst Troeltsch for any experience or teaching that expresses some “secret” or “hidden” relationship, unity, or even identity between the human and the divine and that leads to a kind of religious individuality that is independent from the Church and sect types of religious organization; perhaps best framed today as the “I am spiritual, but not religious” type
denominations
a modern sect that no longer takes a hostile or contentious position vis-à-vis the world and other religious communities, but instead has become respectable and gone mainstream in a modern pluralistic society
miracle
an anomalous or uncommon event that functions as a “sign” for the truth of a particular religious tradition
mysticism
here a comparative term drawn from the sociologist Ernst Troeltsch for any experience or teaching that expresses some “secret” or “hidden” relationship, unity, or even identity between the human and the divine and that leads to a kind of religious individuality that is independent from the Church and sect types of religious organization; perhaps best framed today as the “I am spiritual, but not religious” type
saint
literally, a “holy person,” a comparative category used to describe a person considered to be especially sacred or set apart and representative of the values and worldviews held to be true by a particular religious community
miracle
an anomalous or uncommon event that functions as a “sign” for the truth of a particular religious tradition
saint
literally, a “holy person,” a comparative category used to describe a person considered to be especially sacred or set apart and representative of the values and worldviews held to be true by a particular religious community