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date: 09 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

It is customary to view rituals as a dominant feature in the practice of religions. Thus, scholars generally discuss rituals in terms of a theological setting and focus on meaning, reason, and purpose. However, this chapter proposes a wider context from which to view ritual that takes into account the behavioral factors that are embedded in performing the rituals. It suggests that a ritual element may be seen in every human action that is structured and performed as a timed and repetitive event and that, in turn, such events are likely to foster ritualistic patterns of behavior. In this sense, there is no structural difference between one kind of ritual and the other. A discussion of these matters constitutes substantial parts of this chapter.

Keywords: ritual, ritual theory, behavioral approach to the study ritual, ritual washing, Baptist, John the Baptist, Baptism of Jesus, immersion in water, atonement

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