Ritual Gone Wrong: What We Learn from Ritual Disruption

Paperback | April 20, 2016

byKathryn T. McClymond

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The discipline of religious studies has, historically, tended to focus on discrete ritual mistakes that occur in the context of individual performances outlined in ethnographic or sociological studies, and scholars have largely dismissed the fact that there are extensive discussions of ritualmistakes in many indigenous traditions' religious literature. And yet ritual mistakes (ranging from the simple to the complex) happen all the time, and they continue to carry ritual "weight," even when no one seriously doubts their impact on the efficacy of a ritual. In Ritual Gone Wrong, Kathryn McClymond approaches ritual mistakes as an integral part of ritual life and argues that religious traditions can accommodate mistakes and are often prepared for them. McClymond shows that many traditions even incorporate the regular occurrence of errors into theirritual systems, developing a substantial literature on how rituals can be disrupted, how these disruptions can be addressed, and when disruptions have gone too far. Using a series of case studies ranging from ancient India to modern day Iraq, and from medieval allegations of child sacrifice tocontemporary Olympic ceremonies, McClymond explores the numerous ways in which ritual can go wrong, and demonstrates that the ritual is by nature fluid, supple, and dynamic-simultaneously adapting to socio-cultural conditions and, in some cases, shaping them.

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The discipline of religious studies has, historically, tended to focus on discrete ritual mistakes that occur in the context of individual performances outlined in ethnographic or sociological studies, and scholars have largely dismissed the fact that there are extensive discussions of ritualmistakes in many indigenous traditions' reli...

Kathryn T. McClymond is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Georgia State University.

other books by Kathryn T. McClymond

Format:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:April 20, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199790922

ISBN - 13:9780199790920

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsAbbreviationsIntroduction1. Negotiating Ritual Repair: The prayascitta material in the Baudhayana Srauta Sutra2. Don't Cry Over Spilled Blood: Ritual Correction in the Mishnah3. Blood Libel: Ritual Misrepresentation4. Of Fists and Feathers: The Modern Olympic Games5. When Ritual Systems Collide: The Execution of Saddam HusseinConclusionAppendixNotesBibliography