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Cover Art
Author Bowen, John R. (John Richard), 1951-

Title Muslims through discourse : religion and ritual in Gayo society / John R. Bowen.

Published Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, [1993]


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Bail  297.095981 BOWE    AVAILABLE
Physical description ix, 358 pages : illustrations, maps ; 65 cm
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages [335]-351) and index.
Contents Pt. 1 A Genealogy of Divergent Understandings -- Ch. 2 Religious Disputes in Takengen 18 -- Ch. 3 Islamic Knowledge in the Highlands, 1900-1990 39 -- Pt. 2 Powerful Speech and Spirit Transactions -- Ch. 4 Spells, Prayer, and the Power of Words 77 -- Ch. 5 Source of Human Powers in History 106 -- Ch. 6 Healer's Struggle 129 -- Ch. 7 Exorcism and Accountability 151 -- Ch. 8 Farming, Ancestors, and the Sacred Landscape 173 -- Ch. 9 Adam and Eve's Children 202 -- Pt. 3 Negotiating Public Rituals -- Ch. 10 Transacting through Food: The Kenduri and Its Critics 229 -- Ch. 11 Speaking for the Dead 251 -- Ch. 12 Sacrifice, Merit, and Self-Interest 273 -- Ch. 13 Worship and Public Life 289 -- Ch. 14 Social Forms of Religious Change 315.
Summary In this rich account of a Muslim society in highland Sumatra, Indonesia, John Bowen describes how men and women debate among themselves ideas of what Islam is and should be -- as it pertains to all areas of their lives, from work to worship. Whereas many previous anthropological studies have concentrated on the purely local aspects of culture, this book captures and analyzes the tension between the local and universal in everyday life. Current religious differences among the Gayo stem from debates between "traditionalist" and "modernist" scholars that began in the 1930s, and reveal themselves in the ways Gayo discuss and perform worship, sacrifice, healing, and rites of birth and death, all within an Islamic framework.
Bowen considers the power these debates accord to language, especially in arguments over spells, rites of farming, hunting, and healing. Moreover, he traces in these debates a general conception of transacting with spirits that has shaped Gayo practices of sacrifice, worship, and aiding the dead. Bowen concludes by examining the development of competing religious ideas in the highlands, the alternative ritual forms and ideas they have pro-mulgated, and the implications of this phenomenon for the emergence of an Islamic public sphere.
Subject Gayo (Indonesian people) -- Religious life and customs.
Islam -- Indonesia -- Sumatra.
Sumatra (Indonesia) -- Social life and customs.
ISBN 0691094756
0691028702 (paperback)