Christian Rituals: An Essay in Sacramental Symbolisms

Michael G. Lawler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Both anthropologists and theologians, each in their separate ways, are interested in rituals and their symbol-units. Victor Turner, from extensive fieldwork, has evolved a definition of ritual as “prescribed formal behavior for occasions not given over to technological routine, having reference to beliefs in mystical beings or powers.” Monica Wilson has insisted that “it is the values of the group that are revealed'' in rituals and their symbol-units. The present essay is located at the interface of anthropology and theology. It surveys pertinent anthropological information and then analyzes the Christian rituals of baptism, confirmation and eucharist, and their symbol-units, to clarify and focus their meanings and the values and ontology of the Christian group which are revealed in them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-36
Number of pages30
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1980

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Religious studies


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