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The Dynamics of Changing Rituals

The Transformation of Religious Rituals within Their Social and Cultural Context


Jens Kreinath, Constance Hartung and Annette Deschner

Most ritual participants claim that their rituals have been the same since time immemorial. Citing recent research in ritual studies, this book illustrates how, on the contrary, rituals are often subject to dynamic changes. When do rituals change? When is the change accidental and when is it on purpose? Are certain kinds of rituals more stable or unstable than others? Which elements of rituals are liable to change and which are relatively stable? Who has the power to change rituals? Who decides to accept a change or not? The Dynamics of Changing Rituals attempts to address these questions within this new field of ritual studies.
Contents: Jens Kreinath/Constance Hartung/Annette Deschner: Introduction – Don Handelman: Re-Framing Ritual – James W. Fernandez: Contemporary Carnival (carnaval) in Asturias: Visual Figuration as a ‘Ritual’ of Parodic Release and Democratic Revitalization – Susanne Schröter: Rituals of Rebellion - Rebellion as Ritual: A Theory Reconsidered – Achsah Guibbory: Communion, National Community, and the Challenge of Radical Religion in Seventeenth-Century England – Dietrich Harth: Artaud’s Holy Theater: A Case for Questioning the Relations between Ritual and Stage Performance – Anette Rein: Balinese Temple Dances and Ritual Transformations in the Process of Modernization – Klaus-Peter Köpping: Failure of Performance or Pressage to the Acting Self? Mishima’s Suicide between Ritual and Theater – Günter Thomas: Changing Media - Changing Rituals: Media Rituals and the Transformation of Physical Presence – Patricia B. Ebrey: The Incorporation of Portraits into Chinese Ancestral Rites – Martin Gaenszle: Transgenerational Change: The Social Process of Transmitting Oral Ritual Texts among the Rai in East Nepal – Alexander Henn: Politics of Acculturation: The Dynamics of Hindu-Christian Ritual in Goa, India – Peter Weber: Shifts in Place and Meaning: The History of Two Cult Centers in Pre-Colonial Tanzania – William D. Furley: Athens and Delos in the Fifth Century B.C.E.: Ritual in a World of Shifting Allegiances – Tzvi Abusch: Considerations when Killing a Witch: Developments in Exorcistic Attitudes to Witchcraft in Mesopotamia – Andreas Odenthal: Ritual between Tradition and Change: The Paradigm Shift of the Second Vatican Council’s Liturgical Reform – Matthias Jung: Expressive Appropriateness and Pluralism: The Example of Catholic Liturgy after Vatican II – Michael Stausberg: Patterns of Ritual Change among Parsi-Zoroastrians in Recent Times – Jan G. Platvoet: Ritual as War: On the Need to De-Westernize the Concept – Jens Kreinath: Theoretical Afterthoughts.