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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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 Movements of Ritual and Sincerity

 Movements of Ritual and Sincerity

(p.131) 5 Movements of Ritual and Sincerity
Ritual and Its Consequences

Adam B. Seligman (Contributor Webpage)

Robert P. Weller (Contributor Webpage)

Michael J. Puett (Contributor Webpage)

Bennett Simon (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at different cultural examples of the tensions between ritual and sincerity over time. First, it discusses the interplay of law and love, Judaism and Christianity, and ritual and sincerity in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. Second, it looks at the history of architectural ornament, which is ritual-like in its repetitions and rhythms and in its concern with boundaries and framing. Here the ritual/sincerity tension plays out typically as conflict between ornament and pedagogy. Iconoclasm is a core theme of this section. Finally, it compares the formal features of music to those of ritual. Like ritual, music is a way of establishing and crossing boundaries, and of ordering a messy world through techniques of intonation, rhythm, and ornament. The tension between ritual and sincerity culminates in 20th-century attempts to move beyond the conventions of tonality completely.

Keywords:   architecture, music, Merchant of Venice, Christianity, Judaism, iconoclasm, ornament, rhythm, repetition

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