FritS Staal on meaning of ritual

Thu Nov 12 12:03:37 UTC 1998

On Tue, 10 Nov 1998, Axel Michaels wrote:
>> I'm looking for substantial criticism on Fritz Staal's theory on the
>> meaning of rituals. By substantial I mean elaborate articles or books.
and Harry Falk answered
>ich weiss nicht, ob meine Rezension in der OLZ Ihre Kriterien erfüllt.

- When did Harry Falk's Recension (presumably of Staal's Rules without
Meaning?) appear?

Indologists, Anthropologists, Religious scientists have all reacted to Staal's
theory of meaninglessness of ritual.
Staal's own reaction to a number of reactions appeared in the Journal of
Ritual Studies 7.2 (1993):11-32 under the title "From Meanings to Trees."
One of the first elaborate reactions to Staal's theory of meaninglessness of
the ritual is
Penner, H.H. "Language, Ritual and Meaning," Numen 32 (1985):1-16.
Further e.g.:
H. Scharfe 1990: "The Great rituals -- were they really meaningless?" in
Sanskrit and Related Studies, 89-98. ed. B.K. Matilal and P. Bilimoria. Poona:
Shri Garibdas Oriental Series.
Brian K. Smith wrote a review of Staal's Rules without Meaning in Journal of
Ritual Studies 5 (1991):141-143.
Ivan Strenski, 1991: "What's rite? Evolution, Exchange and the Big Picture."
Religion 21:219-225.
Bodewitz 1990 briefly in The Jyotistoma Ritual, JB 1.66-364, p. 7-9. Leiden:
My own brief reaction e.g. on pp. 8-9 of the Pravargya Brahmana of the Taitt.
Aranyaka, Delhi 1991:8-9.
Those reading Dutch may be referred to Hoofdstuk 7 of Modern Orientalisme of
anthropologist P.v.d.Veer (Meulenhoff, 1995).


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