Essay on Religious Behavioral Development in the Stone Age

1117 WordsJan 12, 20125 Pages
Religious behaviors developed to what they are today beginning in the pre-historic times of the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and the Neolithic. There is evidence of these behaviors in the archaeological artifacts as well as mythological evidence. Religious behaviors evolved as humans evolved. Religious beliefs changed too. In the Paleolithic we learn that people were very spiritual; everything was treated as a spiritual act. They approached everything ritualistically and their behaviors were in response to the numinous. The numinous is described as a feeling you get when you can’t explain something. There is archaeological evidence pointing to animal worship during this time too. Spiritual beliefs in the Paleolithic gave way to forms of…show more content…
The myths suggest that the three cultures (farmers, herders, and hunters), came from the three sons of Noah. Prior to that, in the myth of the First Family, there were two types of people, or two different cultures. There was Cain, who was a farmer, a tiller of the ground, and his brother Abel, who was a herder, or keeper of the flock. In a later myth we are introduced to Nimrod, who was a hunter, thus rounding out the three groups. Those three groups had their own set of religious behaviors. Those behaviors included animal sacrifice, human sacrifice, ritual sex, and ritual abstinence. Other behaviors emerged that may not be considered religious behaviors but instead, ‘ways of life’, but are worth mentioning since they developed over time along with the religious behaviors and played a major role in the lives of the early humans and shaping evolution. Those ‘ways of life’ include: shamanism, priesthood, matriarchy, patriarchy, Apollonian and Dionysian. We can better understand the religious behaviors of the different cultures only after we identify the pattern of culture, or traits, each one exhibited. The patterns of culture are associated with the characteristics in the distinction between the gods Apollo and Dionysius. Apollo was the god of light and Dionysius was the god of wine. Therefore, the characteristics are referred to as Apollonian and Dionysian. During the Mesolithic, Dionysian tendencies gave way to Apollonian tendencies.
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