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What is C Geertz's view of religion in "The Interpretation of Cultures"?My essay has to...

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jilltom | eNoter

Posted March 13, 2012 at 12:03 PM via web

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What is C Geertz's view of religion in "The Interpretation of Cultures"?

My essay has to cover whether Geertz thinks religion is essential to human beings and what he thinks are the most significant aspects of religion

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jpope1 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted March 14, 2012 at 12:02 AM (Answer #1)

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Geertz believed that religion was essentially a symbolic system of communication. It communicates social conventions about morality and acceptable behavior, and it communicates (and reinfroces) information about who is where in the social hierarchy. Geertz believed that the meaning of religious symbols, rituals or acts was not self-evident but rather that religious symbols require interpretation. Geertz' huge influence to religious studies was his suggestion that merely describing religious phenomena is not sufficient. Instead, observers must perform analysis in order to figure out the true function and meaning of the phenomena. For Geertz, the most significan aspects of religion are: first, that it is a set of communicative symbols, second: that it persuades and motivates people to act in certain ways, third: that it provides a comprehensive worldview, and fourth: that it's so pervasive as to appear "uniquely realistic." Geertz did believe that religion was an essential aspect of human culture.

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