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Homa VariationsThe Study of Ritual Change across the Longue Durée$
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Richard K. Payne and Michael Witzel

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199351572

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199351572.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Homa Variations
Richard K. Payne
Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces the homa and the theoretical issue of studying ritual change over long periods of time and across the boundaries of ritual cultures. The cross-cultural transmission of the ritual out of the Indian subcontinent throughout the entire tantric world poses methodological issues, such as the balancing of textual and ethnographic studies. It considers the idea of ritual invariance which has long been characteristic of scholarly and popular understandings of ritual. The conception of ritual as invariant, however, has impeded the historical study of ritual change. The chapter closes by introducing each subsequent chapter.

Keywords:   ritual change, ritual invariance, homa, cross-cultural, transmission

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