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Varieties of Javanese Religion: An Anthropological Account (Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology) [Paperback]

Andrew Beatty
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

8 April 1999 Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology (Book 111)
Java is famous for its combination of diverse cultural forms and religious beliefs. Andrew Beatty considers Javanese solutions to the problem of cultural difference, and explores the ways in which Javanese villages make sense of their complex and multi-layered culture. Pantheist mystics, supernaturalists, orthodox Muslims and Hindu converts at once construct contrasting faiths and create a common ground through syncretist ritual. Vividly evoking the religious life of Javanese villagers, its controversies and reconciliations, its humour and irony, its philosophical seriousness, and its formal beauty, Dr Beatty probes beyond the finished surfaces of ritual and cosmology to show the debate and compromise inherent in practical religion. This is the most comprehensive study of Javanese religion since Clifford Geertz's classic study of 1960.

Product details

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (8 April 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521624738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521624732
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,738,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


'Andrew Beatty's ethnographic eye is wonderfully balanced, and he manages better than any book since The Religion of Java to capture the social texture and moral tenor of different varieties of Javanese religion … [This] is an outstanding work of anthropological scholarship.' Robert Hefner, Boston University

' … fascinating study of religious diversity in Java's easternmost region of Banyuwangi …' Benjamin Zimmer, In Brief Anthropology

Book Description

This is the most comprehensive book on Javanese religion since Clifford Geertz's famous study of 1960. Written in a vivid, jargon-free style, it should appeal to students of anthropology, comparative religion, and Islam, and to anyone interested in understanding how an exotic religion is practised.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The concept of the 'total social phenomenon', in Mauss's odd but compelling phrase, has served anthropology well, not only as a frame for thinking about the complexity of cultural forms but as a narrative device, a way of handling the transition from the exuberant and bewildering world encountered in the field to the orderly microcosm of the ethnography itself. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I was lent this book prior to doing some work with community empowerment linked to a climate change programme in Papua, Indonesia, and while spending time beforehand in Java. I have not read it right through, but it was enormously helpful for me in understanding something of the Javanese psyche and better understanding the forces that impact on Melanesian culture in Papua. It helped me to appreciate the Javanese in some very deep ways, whereas previously I'd found them rather hard to make sense of. This went very deep, even affecting dream life in a way that was useful in the subsequent work. No need to go into details, but I think this had much to do with Beatty's sensitive capacity to grasp and penetrate syncretism, and to draw out its underpinning role in allowing difference to be accommodated. I cannot offer a detailed review of the book as I've only read parts of it, and I'm not qualified to assess it, but I found his style of writing clear and educative, and just wanted to show my appreciation with these brief remarks.
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