Pentikäinen, Juha et al. (eds.): Shamanhood

Pentikäinen, Juha et al. (eds.): Shamanhood

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An Endangered Language

Instituttet for sammenlignende kulturforskning/The Institute for Comparative Research in Human Culture (IFSK). Serie B, 117.

This volume offers a new, linguistically and ethnographically oriented approach to the phenomenon usually known and defined as shamanism. The conceptual history of shamanism will show how the word shamanism was created under the influence of the Christian world view. Shaman(ism) was identified as the "old form of paganism", and shamanic peoples (Greek *ethnos) as "heathens" (Greek *ethnikos) to be converted by Christian missions.It is necessary for shamanic terminology to be re-elaborated and redefined as it is discussed by Janhunen, Helimski, Taksami and others in this volume. Alternative concepts to shamanism will be proposed to emphasize the importance of the nondogmatic and symbolic aspects of mythical shamanic worldviews. Shamanhood, synonymous with samanstvo, the Russian term preceding shamanism in older sources, is closer to the self-perception of the shamans themselves, since they do not see shamanism as a "religion" in the western sense of the word. The new concept of SHAMANHOOD is not aimed at replacing the terminologically overloaded term "shamanism", but rather is suggested in order to emphasize the anti-dogmatic nature of the phenomenon in its ecological and cultural milieu. Only through the comprehensive study of shamanhood can we interpret this "way of knowing" and better understand "shamans", those who know and who share their oral knowledge of shamanic language, its vocabulary, folklore, mythology and music.

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