driving force of human life is located in economic calculation. According to Mattingly ( 2010 : 52), despite these brave efforts, genuine human agency, moral ‘willing’, and creativity still escape the anthropological gaze. As Ortner ( 2006 : 2) points out in a critique of structuralist strands in anthropology, we still need to recognise not only how ‘history makes people’, but also how ‘people make history’.
In line with such thinking, Csordas ( 1997 : vii) proposed that in anthropology the answer to the central question of what a human is
Guanxi and the creation of ‘intentional’ communities
’s moral outlook but also analysed as a reflection of wider social, environmental, judicial and political problems encountered by Malaysia’s ethnic Chinese minority.
7.1 The Third Court of King Songdi
In the following description of the Underworld courts I will first summarise crimes and punishments emphasised in Maspero’s ( 1932 ) translation of the ‘Jade Record’ and then compare these to those highlighted by Yinfu Tan. While there are clearly similarities, the
, especially so in gambling. 10
As described in Chapter 4 , by the 1980s ghost temples were playing an important role in Taiwan’s vernacular temple landscape, and before the 1990 stock market crash these temples were visited as frequently as the eldest and often palatial Heaven temples dedicated to deities including Mazu, Guanyin and Taiwan’s ‘Royal Lords’, Wangye. Two coinciding societal catalysts have previously been identified with ghost temples’ 1980s popularity, the first being a change in moral values that was influenced by the disintegration
( iṭmiʾnān ), stillness of the soul ( sakīna ), and humility ( khushūʿ ). Videos that arouse the heart towards such ethical and devotional dispositions are frequently described as muʾaththir – a term indicating that something is effective, moving, or exciting (Hirschkind 2012 : 6). Muslim YouTube viewers often leave comments in the form of small supplications ( duʿāʾ ) – a kind of visual and ethical testament to repeated acts of drawing close to God. However, according to Hirschkind, the moral space that is created by these commentaries is highly vulnerable. If YouTube
vernacular pantheons. Under the watchful eye of Hell’s ‘enforcers’, the lower echelons of demon soldiers impose post-mortal punishments on the souls of the recently deceased for moral transgressions perpetrated during their prior incarnations. Inspired by Buddhist cosmology, the tortures inflicted are karmic retributions, a necessary precursor to the transmigration of souls into a new form, human or otherwise. As such, the Chinese Underworld or Hell 3 is distinct from the biblical Hell, and from Hells recognised by other religious traditions.
(Luhrmann 2016 : 147; Willerslev and Suhr 2018 ).
The Durkheimian approach offered a framework for understanding religious beliefs and practices as corresponding not to the reality of gods or spirits, but to social reality. For Émile Durkheim ( 2008 ), religion was the very glue that kept society together by securing a moral order. Religion was to be understood as a manifestation and cementing of social solidarity through worship. Sigmund Freud ( 1989 : 207) held a less optimistic view of religion as a form of illness comparable to
has made such an enormous contribution to it. 19
The comment on social conscience reflects a continuous strand in the history of the community from its very beginnings in a strong sense of social solidarity . The commitment to charity and mutual aid exemplified not only a religious and moral obligation, but also a community social imperative. Philanthropy was in many ways the glue that bound the Jewish community together, transcending and counteracting the many fissures in Jewish society. The early creation of the Board of Guardians was
The congregationalist divines and the establishment of church and
magistrate in Cromwellian England
protect and promote the right worship of God had not
been abolished. Theocratic Israel was thus a model for congregationalism on
both sides of the Atlantic.80 There was a fascination among congregationalists with Hebrew scriptures, and along with that a devotion to the model of
‘moral and civil government of a nation’.81 This fascination with the Hebrew
Bible coloured their reading of Israel’s New Testament antitype, namely the
Church polity and politics in the British Atlantic
church and Christ’s present reign with his people. For Owen the temple cult
. In the transformation from the dispassionate into advocates of correct moral conduct, the Underworld tradition contributes to the government’s agenda by promoting the rule of law; and, in maintaining religious harmony, it assists by serving with equanimity individuals from multi-ethnic backgrounds that come to consult them.
This transformation is attributed by practitioners to their tang-ki becoming deity incarnate, and even though deity–devotee relationships are at their most informal in the Underworld tradition, questions pertaining to
contemplated as an object for the cultivation of a pious perceptual disposition (see also Mittermaier 2011 : 24). 1
Taking the cue from the theories of Abu Bilal and other neo-orthodox Muslims, the invisible in this book is defined in the broadest possible way as that which cannot be directly perceived – at least not from the perspective of a human being. As Charles Hirschkind ( 2006 : 8) has pointed out, the moral vision facilitated by al-ghayb is cultivated in important ways through senses other than vision – most notably by listening to