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Bychenkova K.V. Reconstruction of Primitive Beliefs in Anthropology of Religion

Published in journal "Philosophy and Culture", 2015-12 in rubric "Philosophy of religion", pages 1852-1860.

Resume: The purpose of the article is to trace back peculiarities of the concept of mana based on the historical references created as a result of development of the anthropology of religion in the XIXth - XXth centuries and to describe specific features of this phenomenon thereupon. For this purpose, Bychenkova suggests that the following tasks should be solved: to define mana as the primitive religious concept, to describe the role of mana in the development of the relationship between magic and religion and to consider the possibility to classify the belief in mana as the 'minimum religion'. The thematic justification is determined by the significance of identifying primitive concepts and beliefs as the primary religious systems as well as the importance of interpreting the belief in mana from the point of view of the anthropology of religion. The subject of the research is the analysis of preanimistic beliefs in the anthropology of religion. Methodological basis of the research. In her research Bychenkova has used general scientific methods such as systems approach, dialectics, analysis, synthesis, abstraction, generalization, extrapolation, modelling, analogy, induction and deduction; methods of religious research such as causal analysis, historicism (genetic approach and comparative historical research), typological method, phenomenological method, hermeneutical method and structure-function analysis. The scientific novelty of the article is caused by the following: the author 1) has summarized different kinds of preanimistic beliefs found in literature as well as their names in different cultures; 2) has described the archetype of impersonal foce in the Ancient World beliefs; 3) has described the archetypes of mana in folk religions and artwork; 4) has offered the Russian translation of extracts from such works as Codrington Robert H. The Melanesians: Studies in Their Anthropology and Folk-lore; Durkheim E. The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life; Jones William. The Algonkin Manitou; McGee W. J. (William John). The Siouan Indians; Marett R. R. Anthropology; Radin Paul. Religion of the North American Indians. The conclusion of the research is that belief in impersonal force spread all over the world can be viewed as one of the historically initial forms religious beliefs. Developed religions do not completely overcome the concept of impersonal force but involve it as one of the components of a new, more complicated system of beliefs. The facts provided in the course of the analysis prove that ancient beliefs in impersonal force are still present in the form of archetype in later religions, thus defining many important components of mythological and religious consñience and even public conscience in general.  

Keywords: anthropology of religion, primitive beliefs, minimum religion, mana, impersonal force, North American Indians, animatism, magic, taboo, preanimatism

DOI: 10.7256/1999-2793.2015.12.17138

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