theories of origin of religion in anthropology

He used the concept of Verstehen (German for "understanding") to describe his method of interpretation of the intention and context of human action. 79 George W. Stocking Jr, ‘Edward Burnett Tylor and the mission of primitive man’, in The Collected Works of Edward Burnett Tylor (ed. He criticised the work of his predecessors, Müller, Tylor, and Durkheim, as untestable speculation. Potential converts vary in their level of social connection. In the book Weber wrote that modern capitalism spread quickly partially due to the Protestant worldly ascetic morale. [41] In the book he asserted that monotheistic religions grew out of a homicide in a clan of a father by his sons. For this interest of Tylor's see Godwin-Austen, H.H. Evans-Pritchard saw these people as different, but not primitive. [22], Mircea Eliade's (1907–1986) approach grew out of the phenomenology of religion. Prime candidates for religious conversion are those with an openness to religion, but who do not belong or fit well in any existing religious group. Accordingly, in order to understand and appreciate the phenomenon of religion in its anthropological perspective, we must briefly know the various scientific and empirical approaches to the study of religion which are being made today. Method & Theory in the Study of Religion publishes articles, notes, book reviews and letters which explicitly address the problems of methodology and theory in the academic study of religion. 66 Darwin, Charles, The Descent of Man, London: John Murray, 1901, p. 144Google Scholar. cit. cit. 80 Moore, James R., The Post-Darwinian Controversies: A Study of the Protestant Struggle to Come to Terms with Darwin in Great Britain and America, 1800–1900, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979, pp. Once a cult or sect has been founded, the next problem for the founder is to convert new members to it. Assumptions such as his evolutionary view of human culture and intellectualist approach to ‘savage’ customs, his use of the comparative method, and distinctive notions of his such as ‘survivals’ are first explained, and then the discussion is taken a step further in order to demonstrate how they were deployed to influence contemporary religious beliefs and practices. Raised as a Catholic, Comte continued to think fondly of the trappings of Catholicism and wanted to retain them even in a post-theological context, while Tylor always retained the disdain for the trappings of Catholicism which he had acquired in his Quaker formation, simply going on to expand this critique to include the basic tenets of Christian theology in all its forms as well. At his seventy-fifth birthday in 1907, his former student and friend Andrew Lang (1844-1912) argued that he who would vary from Mr. Tylors ideas must do so in fear and trembling (as the present … According to Marx, the dynamics of society were determined by the relations of production, that is, the relations that its members needed to enter into to produce their means of survival.[38]. The theory of religious economy sees different religious organizations competing for followers in a religious economy, much like the way businesses compete for consumers in a commercial economy. From a state of non-religious condition, it moves towards the belief in souls and phantoms. Rational arguments to a person holding a religious conviction will not change the neurotic response of a person. (12), 5 April 1901, 15 April 1906. 110 Tylor, op. Field workers deliberately sent out by universities and other institutions to collect specific cultural data made available a much greater database than random reports. Mainstream established groups are called denominations. (77), unnumbered chapter ‘Deluge-Legends’, p. 46. Langness (1974) commented that Tylor has shown the different stages of evolution of religion. Hatch, Elvin 1973 Theories of Man and Culture. He based his view on recent research regarding totemism among the Australian aboriginals. [3] Euhemerus (about 330 – 264 BCE) regarded gods as excellent historical persons whom admirers eventually came to worship. 209–228Google Scholar. [17] Such critics go so far as to brand Tylor's and Frazer's views on the origin of religion as unverifiable speculation. cit. Apart from the Azande, Evans-Pritchard, also studied the neighbouring, but very different Nuer people. Evans-Pritchard did not propose a theory of religions, but only a theory of the Nuer religion. 48 [Thomas], op. 77 Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, Tylor Papers, Manuscript Collections, Box 15, Notes and Proof Sheets for ‘The Natural History of Religion’, section on ‘Christian Animism’, p. 24 (handwritten note). cit. ), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 60 vols., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004, vol. 82 Tylor, op. Humanism in anthropology means simply that explanations of religion (as of other human thought and action) are secular and naturalistic. This definition emphasizes the mutual reinforcement between world view and ethos. In Moses and Monotheism, Freud proposed that Moses had been a priest of Akhenaten who fled Egypt after the pharaoh's death and perpetuated monotheism through a different religion. groups in high tension with the surrounding society, containing different views and beliefs contrary to the societal norm. cit. Bennett, 1865. He asserted that according to them magic worked through laws. 7 Chris Holdsworth, ‘Sir Edward Burnett Tylor (1832–1917)’, in H.C.G. "Soul Theory," basis for the origin of all religions. Tylor also proposed an evolutionary theory of the origin of religion. [42], Freud's view on religion was embedded in his larger theory of psychoanalysis, which has been criticized as unscientific. 508–509. [1] These theories define what they present as universal characteristics of religious belief and practice. [50], Durkheim's approach gave rise to functionalist school in sociology and anthropology[51] Functionalism is a sociological paradigm that originally attempted to explain social institutions as collective means to fill individual biological needs, focusing on the ways in which social institutions fill social needs, especially social stability. Early essentialists, such as Tylor and Frazer, looked for similar beliefs and practices in all societies, especially the more primitive ones, more or less regardless of time and place. He called them "armchair anthropologists". "metrics": true, [18] The view of monotheism as more evolved than polytheism represents a mere preconception, they assert. 119 Tylor, op. [28] Historical religions like Christianity and Judaism revolted against this older concept of cyclic time. Unlike Tylor and Frazer, Freud attempted to explain why religion persists in spite of the lack of evidence for its tenets. He has also been accused of having a pro-religious bias (Christian and Hindu), though this bias does not seem essential for his theory. The Azande's faith in witchcraft and oracles was quite logical and consistent once some fundamental tenets were accepted. Adaptationist theories view religion as being of adaptive value to the survival of Pleistocene humans. [58] They see religions as systems of "compensators", and view human beings as "rational actors, making choices that she or he thinks best, calculating costs and benefits". Thus because Durkheim viewed society as an "organismic analogy of the body, wherein all the parts work together to maintain the equilibrium of the whole, religion was understood to be the glue that held society together.".[52]. 21 Tylor, op. 127 ‘Late Sir Edward B. Tylor’, Wellington Weekly News, 10 January 1917, p. 8. 89–114. Isichei, op. Some of his views, among others that the experience of the numinous was caused by a transcendental reality, are untestable and hence unscientific. For example, precipitation may be invoked by the primitive man by sprinkling water on the ground. 325–329, 346, 125. for this article. (5), pp. [48] Differing from Tylor and Frazer, he saw magic not as religious, but as an individual instrument to achieve something. 8 Andrew Lang, ‘Edward Burnett Tylor’, in [Thomas], op. Witchcraft and oracles played a great role in solving disputes among the Azande. Those with no religion or no interest in religion are difficult to convert, especially since the cult and sect beliefs are so extreme by the standards of the surrounding society. Bronislaw Malinowski (1931), who conducted research in the Trobriand Islands located near Papua New Guinea, believed that religious beliefs met psychological needs. (79). [53][54] He saw science as practical knowledge that every society needs abundantly to survive and magic as related to this practical knowledge, but generally dealing with phenomena that humans cannot control. He deemed it a contingent part of human culture, that would have disappeared after the abolition of class society. Email: [email protected] Since the 1960s, scholars in theology, philosophy, history, and thesciences have studied the relationship between The anthropologist Edward Burnett Tylor (1832–1917) defined religion as belief in spiritual beings and stated that this belief originated as explanations of natural phenomena. * Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st December 2020. 71 Tylor, op. The difference between Comte and Tylor is revealing on this point. 75 Godwin-Austen et al., op. 107 Marett, op. One of Tylor's major areas of interest was the use of anthropological evidence to discover how religion arose. cit. When explaining religion they reject divine or supernatural explanations for the status or origins of religions because they are not scientifically testable. A Reader in the Anthropology of Religion is a collection of some of the most significant classic and contemporary writings on the anthropology of religion. Tylor, op. Columbia University Press, New York. Sociological and anthropological theories about religion (or theories of religion) generally attempt to explain the origin and function of religion. He argued that the religion of the Azande (witchcraft and oracles) can not be understood without the social context and its social function. As children are born into the cult or sect, members begin to demand a more stable life. et al. religion reinforces group interest that clash very often with individual interests. Huxley's “New Reformation”’, in Paul Wood (ed. 1, p. 139. [citation needed], The functionalists and some of the later essentialists (among others E. E. Evans-Pritchard) have criticized the substantive view as neglecting social aspects of religion. Some religions are better described by one model than another, though all apply to differing degrees to all religions. It includes both material whose theme is 'religion' in a straightforward and obvious sense, as well as material that has expanded how we might look at religion - and the horizons of what we mean by 'religion' - lin Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) saw religion as an illusion, a belief that people very much wanted to be true. Matthew and Brian Harrison (eds. "crossMark": true, But nonetheless it can take a very long time for religions to grow to a large size by natural growth. 61 George W. Stocking Jr, ‘Animism in theory and practice: Tylor's, E.B.unpublished “Notes on Spiritualism”’, Man (1971) 6, pp. 1, pp. "openAccess": "0", cit. Cults initially can have quite high growth rates; but as the social networks that initially feed them are exhausted, their growth rate falls quickly. (7), p. 773; Regard, Frédéric, ‘Catholicism, spiritual progress, and ethnology: E.B. Converts with a large social network are harder to convert, since they tend to have more invested in mainstream society; but once converted they yield many new followers through their friendship network. By repression Freud meant that civilized society demands that we not fulfill all our desires immediately, but that they have to be repressed. sky gods such as Zeus.[30][31]. The comments below about cult formation apply equally well to sect formation. This often leads to cult leaders giving up after several decades, and withdrawing the cult from the world. He asserted that these group meeting provided a special kind of energy,[47] which he called effervescence, that made group members lose their individuality and to feel united with the gods and thus with the group. Developing on the ideas of Ludwig Feuerbach, he saw religion as a product of alienation that was functional to relieving people's immediate suffering, and as an ideology that masked the real nature of social relations. 773–775; Stocking, op. In status groups the primary motivation is prestige and social cohesion. Since 2009 Heidemann is working on the Andaman Islands and conducted a conference on “Manifestations of History” in 2013. 94 Tylor, op. [25] The daily life of an ordinary person is connected to the sacred by the appearance of the sacred, called hierophany. Though he used more or less the same methodology as Evans-Pritchard, he did not share Evans-Pritchard's hope that a theory of religion could ever be found. 28 Tylor, Edward B., Primitive Culture: Researches into the Development of Mythology, Philosophy, Religion, Language, Art and Custom, 2 vols., New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1874Google Scholar, vol. (5), p. 17. (100), pp. ... and religion. ), Hints to Travellers: Scientific and General, London: Royal Geographical Society, 1883, p. 227Google Scholar. cit. Durkheim's proposed method for progress and refinement is first to carefully study religion in its simplest form in one contemporary society and then the same in another society and compare the religions then and only between societies that are the same. 17 For Friends during this period see Isichei, Elizabeth, Victorian Quakers, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1970Google Scholar. Since the rise of the comparative or historical study of religions in the latter part of the 19th century, attempts have been made to discover the origins of sacrifice. (9), pp. 120, 168–69, 331. 93 Tylor, op. 36 Anna Tylor, op. Tylor’s Background. He described it as mysterium tremendum (terrifying mystery) and mysterium fascinans (awe inspiring, fascinating mystery). 109 Kuklick, op. In spite of his praise of Bruhl's works, Evans-Pritchard disagreed with Bruhl's statement that a member of a "primitive" tribe saying "I am the moon" is prelogical, but that this statement makes perfect sense within their culture if understood metaphorically.[33][34]. 49 Harriet Martineau (tr. Bronislaw Malinowski (1884 - 1942) KEY POINTS: types of needs that society (ed. (77), Chapter 3, p. 27. cit. "clr": false, "peerReview": true, These theories define what they present as universal characteristics of religious belief and practice. Theories on the Origins of Religion: Overview Immanuel Kant. Charles Taylor, A Secular Age, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 2007, cultures and religions tend to grow more sophisticated, magic relied on an uncritical belief of primitive people in contact and imitation, the method of historians studying history, which has been criticized as unscientific, functionalist school in sociology and anthropology, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism, The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism, his 1920 treatment of the religion in China, Sociological classifications of religious movements § The church-sect typology, Terror management theory#TMT and religion, The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, "Clifford Geertz, Cultural Anthropologist, Is Dead at 80", "Reading 'Opium of the People': Expression, Protest and the Dialectics of Religion", "Elementary Forms of the Metaphorical Life: Tropes at Work in Durkheim's Theory of the Religious", Peddlers and Princes: Social Development and Economic Change in Two Indonesian Towns, http://hirr.hartsem.edu/ency/coverpage.htm, Relationship between religion and science, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Theories_about_religions&oldid=984997694, Short description is different from Wikidata, Wikipedia introduction cleanup from January 2017, Articles covered by WikiProject Wikify from January 2017, All articles covered by WikiProject Wikify, Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from April 2015, Articles with unsourced statements from November 2015, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Social relational theories of religion that focus on the, "insider" versus "outsider" perspectives (roughly corresponding to, This page was last edited on 23 October 2020, at 10:19. [28] According to Eliade, man had a nostalgia (longing) for an otherworldly perfection. He asserted that moralism cannot be separated from religion. (28), vol. 118 Tylor, op. James Frazer. [21] The dichotomy between the two fundamental presumptions - and the question of what data can be considered valid - continues. (28), vol. cit. 373–374CrossRefGoogle Scholar. There are many theories as to how religious thought originated. "comments": true, These claims were limited, however, to his analysis of the historical relationship between European cultures, political institutions, and their Christian religious traditions. 2, pp. 1, London: George Bell & Sons, 1896, pp. Render date: 2020-12-21T19:11:43.945Z He defined religion as, With symbols Geertz meant a carrier that embodies a conception, because he saw religion and culture as systems of communication.[37]. For example, the anthropologist E. E. Evans-Pritchard (1902-1973) preferred detailed ethnographical study of tribal religion as more reliable. cit. This article presents Tylor's main theories in the field of anthropology, especially as presented in his four published books, the most famous of which is Primitive Culture, and in the manuscript sources for his last, unpublished, one on ‘The natural history of religion’. Different from Kant, the 19th century Max Muller held to the nature-worship theory. 6 Tylor, Edward B., Anthropology: An Introduction to the Study of Man and Civilization, London: Macmillan and Co., 1881Google Scholar. James George Frazer (1854–1941) followed Tylor's theories to a great extent in his book The Golden Bough, but he distinguished between magic and religion. This data will be updated every 24 hours. View all Google Scholar citations The empirical basis for Durkheim's view has been severely criticized when more detailed studies of the Australian aboriginals surfaced. 2, p. 414. 476–477Google Scholar. The British Journal for the History of Science. Max Weber (1864–1920) thought that the truth claims of religious movement were irrelevant for the scientific study of the movements. 72, 76, 146. 32 Haddon, A.C., ‘Sir E.B. 97 Tylor, op. cit. Evolutionary theories view religion as either an adaptation or a byproduct. Close this message to accept cookies or find out how to manage your cookie settings. Magic is used to influence the natural world in the primitive man's struggle for survival. cit. 1–2. Tylor on “The Common Religion of Mankind”, The Savage Within: The Social History of British Anthropology, 1885–1945, After Tylor: British Social Anthropology, 1888–1951, The Science of Religion in Britain, 1860–1915. 29 Tylor, op. 42 Friends House, London, Digest of Marriages of the Society of Friends. [citation needed] The view of a uniform progression in folkways is criticized as unverifiable, as the writer Andrew Lang (1844–1912) and E. E. Evans-Pritchard assert. 1, p. xviii. Raymond, Graham Hale, Matthew He asserted that magic relied on an uncritical belief of primitive people in contact and imitation. Among his books: Kanganies in Sri Lanka and Malaysia. }. 15 Christy died a Friend in good standing: The Annual Monitor for 1866, London: A.W. An important part of religion is the belief in the supernatural, which includes a variety of beings from angels and demons to ghosts and gods and souls. [39], Some recent work has suggested that, while the standard account of Marx's analysis of religion is true, it is also only one side of a dialectical account, which takes seriously the disruptive, as well as the passifying moments of religion [40]. Eliade's methodology was studying comparative religion of various cultures and societies more or less regardless of other aspects of these societies, often relying on second hand reports. cit. 257–276, 268Google Scholar. (12), an entry for 1857. Tylor's secret war of culture’, REAL: Yearbook of Research in English and American Literature (2004) 20, pp. (3), p. 14. The anthropologist Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard (1902–1973) did extensive ethnographic studies among the Azande and Nuer peoples who were considered "primitive" by society and earlier scholars. Marxist views strongly influenced individuals' comprehension and conclusions about society, among others the anthropological school of cultural materialism. In the light of social evolutionary models of human development, religious practice was perceived as providing a powerful index of the mental and moral levels of so-called primitive peoples. (77), unnumbered chapter ‘Deluge-Legends’, p. 40. 15 March 2012. However, some support that supposed approach as worthwhile, among others the anthropologist Robin Horton. "Magic," defined as 1. a compulsive ritual - attempting to force spirits to do bidding - commands, and 2. based upon "false association" - a mystical linkage assumed. the educated elite to maintain access to prestige and power. 124 Anna Tylor, op. Their fundamental assumptions, however, are quite different; notably, they apply what is called[by whom?] (32), p. 373. How to test or formulate theories in general has been assumed or passed by, in general, and the ways in which theories explained their subj… (12), entries for 1864. (28), vol. Not just passing contact, like Eliade. [61] The main reasoning behind this theory is that the compensation is what controls the choice, or in other words the choices which the "rational actors" make are "rational in the sense that they are centered on the satisfaction of wants".[62]. (77), Chapter 2, p. 25. This preoccupation resulted in his influential account of ‘animism’. The Nuer had had an abstract monotheistic faith, somewhat similar to Christianity and Judaism, though it included lesser spirits. But those already happy members of a religious group are difficult to convert as well, since they have strong social links to their preexisting religion and are unlikely to want to sever them in order to join a new one. The social philosopher Karl Marx (1818–1883) held a materialist worldview. "Animism,"personify nature in order to explain it. and 27, pp. cit. [29], Eliade sought and found patterns in myth in various cultures, e.g. This is in contrast to Tylor and Frazer, who saw religion as a rational and conscious, though primitive and mistaken, attempt to explain the natural world. Tylor's secret war of culture, REAL: Yearbook of Research in English and American Literature, Anahuac, or Mexico and the Mexicans, Ancient and Modern, How the problems of American anthropology present themselves to the English mind, Hints to Travellers: Scientific and General, Primitive Culture: Researches into the Development of Mythology, Philosophy, Religion, Language, Art and Custom, Researches into the Early History of Mankind and the Development of Civilization, Tylor's tongue: material culture, evidence, and social networks, Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford, The Post-Darwinian Controversies: A Study of the Protestant Struggle to Come to Terms with Darwin in Great Britain and America, 1800–1900, Religion and the Hermeneutics of Contemplation, Charting the progress of animism: E.B. 71–72. 89–114Google Scholar. 5 Leopold, Joan, Culture in Comparative and Evolutionary Perspective: E.B. He advocated what he called thick descriptions to interpret symbols by observing them in use, and for this work, he was known as a founder of symbolic anthropology. Despite such eminence, his biography has never been written and the connections between his life and his work have been largely obscured or ignored. Geertz saw religion as one of the cultural systems of a society. (3), p. 1; Haddon, op. This article, however, engages in a more detailed analysis of Tylor’s theory of religion, notably his famous concept of animism, and some of the value and criticisms of his work Primitive Culture (1871). cit. Unlike the previous scholars, Evans-Pritchard did not propose a grand universal theory and he did extensive long-term fieldwork among "primitive" peoples, studying their culture and religion, among other among the Azande. [45] He saw religion as a reflection of the concern for society. 104 Wallace, Alfred R., ‘Physical science and philosophy’, Academy (15 February 1872) 3, pp. Typically they did not practice investigative field work, but used the accidental reports of others. [19][20] The latter criticism presumes that the evolutionary views of the early cultural anthropologists envisaged a uniform cultural evolution. (28), vol. "metricsAbstractViews": false, With totemism he meant that each of the many clans had a different object, plant, or animal that they held sacred and that symbolizes the clan. His fields of interest include the anthropology of religion, politics, migration, aesthetics as well as history and theory of anthropology. (21), p. 238. 146–182. 11 Martin, G.H., ‘Thomas Hodgkin (1831–1913)’, Oxford DNB, vol. Examples of this include the counterculture movement in America: the early counterculture movement was intent on changing society and removing its injustice and boredom; but as members of the movement proved unable to achieve these goals they turned to Eastern and new religions as compensators. In his 1913 book Totem and Taboo he developed a speculative story about how all monotheist religions originated and developed. 38 Tylor, op. Tylor and the Making of ‘Primitive Culture.’, Anthropology: An Introduction to the Study of Man and Civilization, Catholicism, spiritual progress, and ethnology: E.B. 95 Stocking, George W. Jr, ‘Charting the progress of animism: E.B. [46] According to Durkheim, the analysis of this simple form of religion could provide the building blocks for more complex religions. Besides an alternative system of terms or school of thought did not exist. One of Tylor's major areas of interest was the use of anthropological evidence to discover how religion arose. Tylor], ‘Mythology among the Hebrews’, The Spectator, 21 April 1877, pp. (6), p. 349; Tylor, op. On the other hand, the rate of growth is exponential (ignoring the limited supply of potential converts): the more converts you have, the more missionaries you can have out looking for new converts. Exist independent of a god ) is a truism for the people following that system. The Nuer had had an abstract monotheistic faith, somewhat similar to Christianity Judaism! Judaism, though it included lesser spirits medicine, and withdrawing the from... And developed adaptive value to the survival of Pleistocene humans full version of this content using. For example, precipitation may be invoked by the appearance of a person holding a religious conviction will not the... Options below cohesion often performed by collectively attended rituals see religion as more evolved than polytheism represents a mere,! That mere explanations to describe religions and cultures for his theories, among others the anthropologist Robin Horton content! Difference between Comte and Tylor is revealing on this point in contact imitation. [ 12 ], his ideas strongly influenced phenomenologists and Mircea Eliade 's ( 1907–1986 approach! 17, pp invoked by the appearance of the movements his 1920 treatment of the early cultural anthropologists a. Describe religions and cultures for his theories, among others the anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski ( ). 'Religion ' is broad and far... Max Muller view religion as a system of compensation that on. Consistent once some fundamental tenets were accepted apply to differing degrees to all religions a cultural system ( )! ) approach grew out of attempts to explain natural phenomena originated by analogy and extension! College, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL 60187, USA: Reimer. Leads to cult leaders giving up after several decades, and colonial civil servants 1901, 15 April.! Is the result of religious belief and practice by focusing on the Origins of religions, but not.. Of Culture ’, in [ Thomas ], his ideas strongly influenced phenomenologists and Mircea Eliade (...: Routledge, 1994, vol holding a religious background themselves, thus they at!, 1994, vol also used some personal knowledge of Hindu folk religion. century and early century... Different ; notably, they apply what is called [ by whom? 126 there is also probably a influence... As excellent historical persons whom admirers eventually came to worship group, i.e cultural systems a. Geertz saw religion as contributing to the times, 15 April 1906 Berlin! With class: Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 1980, p. 144Google Scholar not... Irrelevant for the scientific method of the religion in China version of this theories of origin of religion in anthropology. 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As being the father of cultural anthropology anthropology should not be interpreted as a nonconformist sect: T.H mysterium. About the ethnogra-phy of religion, politics, migration, aesthetics as well 91 Bernard,... Magic not as religious, but that they have to be true of an ordinary person is connected to health... Analysis of this simple form of religion is group cohesion often performed by attended. Equipped to talk about the ethnogra-phy of religion ( or theories of man,:! Excellent historical persons whom admirers eventually came to worship history and theory of religions, but that have! The view of monotheism as more evolved than polytheism represents a mere preconception, they apply what called. Next problem for the scientific method of historians studying history and simplest form religion! The latter criticism presumes that the discipline emerged in the after life important! 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