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Reflections on Resemblance, Ritual, and Religion Brian K. Smith

Reflections on Resemblance, Ritual, and Religion

Brian K. Smith

Published December 8th 1988
ISBN : 9780195055450
Hardcover
265 pages
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 About the Book 

This volume explores the organizational principles of the ancient Indian sacrificial system, and the role Vedic religion plays in later orthodox Hinduism. Smith argues that Vedic conceptions of the cosmos, the nature of the human being, visions ofMoreThis volume explores the organizational principles of the ancient Indian sacrificial system, and the role Vedic religion plays in later orthodox Hinduism. Smith argues that Vedic conceptions of the cosmos, the nature of the human being, visions of the afterlife, and representations of ritual theory and practice can all be understood in similar terms. Guiding all of them is the principle of hierarchical resemblance which forges interconnections and analogies between seemingly disparate things and beings. Such a classification system of superior prototypes and inferior but resembling counterparts links together the divine and the human, the social elite and the common householder, and male and female into a hierarchical whole. Illuminating such general issues as the definition of religion, the nature and purpose of ritual, the dynamics of sacrifice and substitution, and the process of change and continuity in traditions, this book serves as a guide to a complex ancient religion and its legacy.