• A Relational Account of Structure and Agency via 'Lived Ancient Religion' and the 'Processing Approach', with a Case Study of Circumcision in Ancient Judaism

    Author(s):
    Thomas R. Blanton IV (see profile)
    Date:
    2023
    Subject(s):
    Religion and sociology, Religion, Judaism, Jews--Social life and customs, Religions, Circumcision
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    lived ancient religion, lived religion, processing religion, relational approaches
    Permanent URL:
    https://doi.org/10.17613/sme3-w283
    Abstract:
    Addressing studies of the concepts of structure and agency, in 2008 sociologist François Dépelteau called for a ‘relational approach’ that compared the ‘trans-actions’ of actors, but notably left open the question of how such a study should be conducted. The present article attempts to operationalise Dépelteau’s call, albeit in a manner tailored specifically to meet the needs of researchers in the area of ‘lived ancient religion’. The study of ‘trans-action’ is operationalised here by employing key terms drawn from Staf Hellemans’s ‘processing approach’ to the study of religion, in which agents ‘process’ their environments through selection, modification, assembly, performance, integration, and resonance. In the study of the religions of Mediterranean antiquity, questions of structure and agency can be addressed relationally by comparing the performances of specific actors, to the extent that such performances are accessible in the material evidence; for example, in the form of texts, statuary, art, and architecture. In an attempt to demonstrate the utility of this approach, a case study of the ritual of circumcision in ancient Judaism is offered.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    11 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved

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