Writing about Murphy, “Working the Spirit”

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Unpack Murphy’s introduction.


Are all the traditions that we will study in this book the same or different? How does Murphy address this issue?

How does he define “spirit”?

What is “liturgy” and how does it relate to the title of the book?

What does he mean by describing religious traditions from the outside in? What evidence does he use for the outside? What evidence does he use for the inside? How does he compile research?

Spirit possession in theory:

Do we have a spirit-o-meter to weigh and measure possessing spirits?

What insights do we gain regarding the place of spirit possession on the landscape of human religious practice when we shift from thinking about spirit possession as an extreme form of experience and instead center it in our minds as the formal root of all religious practice?

What are the characteristics of voice and power (agency) that mark spirit possession?

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