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A bicentenary of the study of Australian Aboriginal religions

Authors
Journal
Religion
0048-721X
Publisher
Informa UK (Taylor & Francis)
Publication Date
Volume
21
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0048-721x(91)90061-t
Disciplines
  • Religious Science

Abstract

Abstract The Australian Aborigines have been the quintessential ‘other’ in the Western academic study of religion. This article surveys expert opinion on Aboriginal religions from the first published account of 1798 up to the present time, considering a procession of presuppositions ranging from the utopian antipodean to the sub-human barbarian; from the noble savage to the unevolved primitive; and from the culture-bound native to the ‘intellectual aristocrat’. Developments in the accumulation of ‘factual’ evidence are considered in the context of theoretical fashions and the history of an interpretative understanding of Aboriginal religious life.

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