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Ritual and Its ConsequencesAn Essay on the Limits of Sincerity$
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Adam B. Seligman, Robert P. Weller, Michael Puett, and Bennett Simon

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195336009

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195336009.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 November 2020

 Ritual and the Subjunctive

 Ritual and the Subjunctive

Chapter:
(p.17) 1 Ritual and the Subjunctive
Source:
Ritual and Its Consequences
Author(s):

Adam B. Seligman (Contributor Webpage)

Robert P. Weller (Contributor Webpage)

Michael J. Puett (Contributor Webpage)

Bennett Simon (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195336009.003.0002

This chapter begins with a serious consideration of the understandings of ritual in traditions that take it as central, especially Judaism and Confucianism. It argues that such traditions understand the world as fundamentally fractured and discontinuous, with ritual allowing us to live in it by creating temporary order through the construction of a performative, subjunctive world. This is a world “as if”, with ritual understood in its indexical qualities. The chapter continues with a general consideration of major contemporary understandings of ritual and their limitations. It questions the common contemporary reduction of ritual either to its functions or to its meanings. Instead, the chapter concentrates on the work of ritual to create alternative worlds.

Keywords:   Judaism, Confucianism, tradition, indexical qualities, ritual, alternative worlds, performative

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