Jonathan Silk jonathan.silk at YALE.EDU
Wed Apr 3 15:52:27 UTC 2002

Alas, how when we forget the past we are doomed to repeat it. The
questions being asked about 'shaman' have not been ignored by
specialists.  For example, long ago:

Laufer, Berthold.  1917.  "Origin of the word Shaman."  American
Anthropologist 19 / 3: 361-71.

This is the only reference I have to hand at the moment on this
computer, but I recall having written  by hand somewhere a number of
other references to later studies dealing with the history of the
word. Guesses about the etymology (e.g. "Tungusic must have borrowed
the word from Tocharian B") seem to me, without data, not entirely
helpful. (The relation of zrama.na to Chinese sha-men, whether or not
Gandhari is involved, may well be a different but related problem, as
is the issue of whether at some time the complex, due to  phonetic
similarities, became conflated.)

No doubt others have more up-to-date references at hand (which is
what I assumed the original inquiry was after).


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Jonathan Silk

jonathan.silk at yale.edu

Dept. of Religious Studies
Box 208287
Yale University
New Haven CT 06520-8287

tel. 203-432-0828
fax. 203-432-7844

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