Over the last 25 years there has been an explosion of interest in the Aboriginal religions of Australia and this anthology provides a variety of recent writings, by a wide range of scholars. Australian Aboriginal Religions are probably the oldest extant religious systems. Over some 50,000 years they have coped with change and re-invented themselves in an astonishingly creative way. The Dreaming, the mythical time when the Ancestor Spirits shaped the territories of the Aborigines and laid down a moral and ritual law for their occupants, is the fundamental religious reality. It is the basis of the Aborigines's view of their land or country, kinship relationships, ritual and art. However, the Dreaming is not a static principle since it is interpreted in different ways, as in the extraordinary movement in contemporary indigenous painting, and in attempts at an accommodation with Christianity. The contributions of anthropologists, cultural historians, philosophers of religion and others are included in this anthology which not only guides readers through the literature but also ensures this still largely inaccessible material is available to a wider range of readers and non-specialist students and academics.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction, Max Charlesworth. Part 1 Revaluations: Introduction, Max Charlesworth; Baldwin Spencer and F.J. Gillen, John Mulvaney; High gods, L.R. Hiatt; Stanner on Aboriginal religion, Ian Keen. Part 2 Religious Business: Introduction, Howard Morphy; 'Women's business', what is it?, Diane Bell; Big businesswomen, FranÃ§oise Dussart. Part 3 Sacred Places: Introduction, FranÃ§oise Dussart; Do places appear?, Francesca Merlan; Sacred geography, Marcia Langton; Myth and history, Peter Sutton. Part 4 Art and Religion: Introduction, FranÃ§oise Dussart; Yolngu art and the creativity of the inside, Howard Morphy; Linda Syddick on longing, Fred Myers; The enigma of Emily Kngwarray, Jenny Green. Part 5 Different Dreamings: Introduction, Howard Morphy; Aboriginal religion today, John Morton; Life and land in Aboriginal Australia, Deborah Bird Rose; Creation in the Kimberley, David Mowaljarlai. Part 6 Religions and Law: Introduction, Max Charlesworth; Land rights: the religious factor, Frank Brennan; The Hindmarsh Bridge affair and secret knowledge, Robert Tonkinson. Part 7 Religious Exchanges: Introduction, Max Charlesworth; Faith and fear in Aboriginal Christianity, Fiona Magowan; Islam and Australian Aborigines, Ian McIntosh. Index.
Emeritus Professor Max Charlesworth, University of Melbourne and Deakin University, Australia, Associate Professor FranÃ§oise Dussart, University of Connecticut, USA and Professor Howard Morphy, Director of the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.