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Read e-book online A Handbook of Ancient Religions PDF

By John R. Hinnells

ISBN-10: 0521847125

ISBN-13: 9780521847124

Old civilisations workout an severe fascination for individuals internationally. This guide offers a vibrant, scholarly, and eminently readable account of old cultures around the globe, from China to India, the center East, Egypt, Europe, and the Americas. It examines the improvement of non secular trust from the time of the Palaeolithic cave work to the Aztecs and Incas. overlaying the entire of society not only the elite, the guide outlines the heritage of different societies in order that their faith and tradition will be understood in context. each one bankruptcy contains dialogue of the huge box of suitable stories alerting the reader to wider debates on each one topic. a world staff of students show their very own deep enthusiasm for his or her topic and supply a different examine of either renowned and 'official' faith within the historic international.

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The sun, stars and moon were never drawn, nor the ground line. No mountains, no huts, no natural landscapes, and very few recognizable representations of tools, weapons or personal adornment. Generally, the images were painted or engraved without any obvious reference to one another: explicit ‘scenes’ are exceptional. Clearly, Upper Palaeolithic art was not intended to give an accurate account of the world outside the caves. Rather, it concerned beliefs entertained by the authors of the images.

This may be why some Upper Palaeolithic lamps were embellished with images and signs: light was genesial. Here, we can glimpse something of Upper Palaeolithic 38 Jean Clottes and David Lewis-Williams religious experience: an interplay of light and darkness, controlled by a human being, bringing a spirit-animal into view. These shadowy images are the earliest evidence for a major symbolic opposition, light : darkness, that runs through so many religions. What, then, did Upper Palaeolithic image-makers believe they were doing?

Whether in the light or in the dark, broadly the same images of animals and geometric signs were made with the same techniques and the same conventions, though exclusively regional and temporal features are certainly identifiable and should not be ignored. For pigment, they used iron oxides for the reds and charcoal or manganese dioxide for the blacks. They made images with their fingers on soft surfaces inside the caves, or finer ones with flint tools on the harder surfaces of walls and ceilings.

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A Handbook of Ancient Religions by John R. Hinnells


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