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Jack Hunter

>    Anthropology & the Supernatural: From Spirits to Consciousness

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Jack Hunter
>  Anthropology & the Supernatural: From Spirits to Consciousness

Jack Hunter
Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Bristol

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Since its earliest incarnation in the nineteenth century, anthropology has expressly concerned itself with attempting to understand the supernatural and religious beliefs of human beings around the world. Edward Burnett Tylor, the first professor of anthropology at Oxford University, argued that religion could best be understood through an examination of the supernatural beliefs of “primitive” cultures, because in beliefs about spirits and supernatural powers could be found the seeds of the great world religions. These beliefs, Tylor thought, could be explained by assuming that so-called “savages” were irrational and, as a consequence, unable to make accurate inferences about their experiences of the world around them. He suggested, for example, that primitive man had great difficulty distinguishing real death from sleep and trance states, and so, from observations of such phenomena, erroneously posited the existence of a personal life-force, or spirit, that was able to both enter and leave the physical body under certain conditions.

Progressing from the inference that human beings possessed an immaterial spirit, Tylor argued that it was not a huge leap to believing that other entities, such as animals, plants and rocks, also possessed spirits/souls, and thus the supernatural realm was born.


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Fonte: Hunter, J. (2012). "Anthropology & the Supernatural: From Spirits to Consciousness." Edgescience, No. 10, March 2012, pp. 14-17.


Leiam de Jack Hunter:

>   Anthropology & the Supernatural: From Spirits to Consciousness
>   Beyond Castaneda: A Brief History of Psychedelics in Anthropology
>   "Between Realness and Unrealness": Anthropology, Parapsychology and the Ontology of Non-Ordinary Realities
>   Can Science See Spirits?
>   Contemporary Physical Mediumship: Is it Part of a Continuous Tradition?
>   Definitions, Origins, Functions and Experiences: Trends in the Anthropology of the Supernatural from Tylor to Turner
>   Music and Altered States of Consciousness in Shamanism and Spirit Possession: An Overview of the Literature
>   Numinous Conversations: Performance and the Manifestation of Spirits in Spirit Possession Practices
>   "Spirits are the Problem": Anthropology and Conceptualising Spiritual Beings
>   Talking With the Spirits: Anthropology and Interpreting Spirit Communicator

Leiam de Jack Hunter; Joey M. Caswell, Lucas W.E. Tessaro :
>   Phenomenological Convergence between Major Paradigms of Classic Parapsychology and Cross-Cultural Practices: An Exploration of Paranthropology





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