In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

259 n o t e s introduction: engaging radical egalitarianism Felicity Aulino and Miriam Goheen 1. This collection is in large part the result of two events held in honor of Professor Stanley J. Tambiah: first, a double panel session at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association, November 2007,Washington, D.C.; and second, a double panel session at the International Thai Studies Conference, January 2008, Bangkok. 2. This is especially evidenced in The Buddhist Saints of the Forest and the Cult of Amulets (1984), as James Taylor shows in the second article in this volume. 3. Social totality here should remind us of Mauss’s “total social phenomenon ,” the “collective mentality” of the Annales School, and “social formations” in structural-Marxist thought. 4. World Conqueror and World Renouncer (1976) is again an outstanding example of such work. 5. Tambiah once admonished a student who tried to disguise his use of Marxist theory in a class on peasant societies. It being the Cold War era, Marxist theory was laden with negative connotations for many Americans. Tambiah simply looked at him and said, “You use what works! Just explain the data, and don’t read meanings into what are merely heuristic models to further understanding.” the charisma of saints and the cult of relics, amulets, and tomb shrines Stanley Jeyaraja Tambiah 1. Sox cites Peter Nichols as making this statement in The Pope’s Divisions (Nichols 1981). 2. In November 1974, the Pope, then Cardinal of Cracow, venerated the Lanciano relics; in October the executors of the will of the last king of Italy, Umberto II, met John Paul II and handed over the title to the Shroud of Turin to the Holy See. John Paul made a pilgrimage to the F5920.indb 259 F5920.indb 259 12/17/12 3:00:49 PM 12/17/12 3:00:49 PM 260 Notes to pages 18–25 grotto of Lourdes in August 1983, and may have been the first Pope to have done so. 3. For example, a whole array of persons have been recognized as saints in Christianity—early Christian martyrs, ascetic saints of the desert or of Mount Athos, patriarchs of the Eastern Church, bishops of the Western Church, and so on. I maintain, however, that this spectrum coheres around a central dominant focus that emphasizes asceticism, contemplative life, austere personal life, charity, and compassion toward fellow beings. 4. From a general comparative point of view, it is important to recognize that in some religious traditions sainthood may have no place, or only a marginal place. In Judaism, sainthood is relevant only to Hasidism and therefore has only a minor place in the totality.We see the reverse situation in Islam, in which just one among many branches, the Wahabi movement, is inhospitable to the conception. I have yet to inquire to what extent sainthood has a place in Confucian religion. 5. The comparative project in the study of religion has been recently tackled by an array of scholars in the edited collection A Magic Still Dwells (Patton and Ray 2000). In the volume, issues posed by comparative study are variously probed in a positive critical spirit, and its possibility and value is largely affirmed. I have myself dealt (elsewhere at some length) with comparative issues relating to translation of cultures and their commensurability; the proposition that meaningful comparison between two (or more) phenomena is not possible without first establishing a “base of agreement” between them, from which meaningful similarities and differences can be projected; and the point at which we may have to conclude that the phenomena in question are incommensurable . See my Magic, Science, Religion and the Scope of Rationality (Tambiah 1990), ch. 6. 6. James also remarked that asceticism may be carried too far; moreover , pessimistic feelings about the self may motivate mortifications and torments, which may signify an irrational or obsessional phase among psychopathic persons. 7. Although certain kinds of Islamic saints, like the Sufi wali in Egypt or the marabout in Morocco, are not celibate, and although saintly charisma in these traditions is physically transmitted through descent and inheritance, the highest forms of sainthood in them are “achieved.” I shall deal with some Islamic cases later. Karl Potter, in Presuppositions of India’s Philosophy (1963), distinguishes two ways of attaining mystical freedom portrayed in Indian speculative philosophy. One is the jativada approach of gradual progress toward the goal through discipline, action, F5920.indb 260 F5920.indb 260 12/17...


Additional Information

Related ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.