Ferrey, Jenna (2010)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Academic discourse on comparative religion is compelled to explore the body. The body is the site of communication and experience. This paper seeks to examine the body in context of identity and religion. By challenging traditional assumptions of dualism and religious dismissal of embodied reality, scholars can engage with the lived experience of religion. Religious rituals point to the centrality of the body in religious experiences. A closer look at ritual and its relationship to faith and the body, provides a clearer understanding of the material element of expressions of faith. This paper looks at the way religious ritual interacts with elements of identity and social interaction. Through ritual the body emerges as a tool that is used as means of communion with the divine, and as such must be awarded value and meaning in a religious and academic sense. A re-examining of corporal religious experiences opens the door for a more genuine dialogue about religion and in an inter-religious sense. This paper explores several key rituals in the Hindu and Christian faith to provide a comparative analysis By locating the discussion within the rituals of the traditions we can connect theories and ideas to actual behaviours and social practices.
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