Songlines, Sacred Texts and Cultural Code: Between Australia and Early Medieval Ireland

In Peter Wong, Sherah Bloor, Patrick Hutchings & Purushottama Bilimoria (eds.), Considering Religions, Rights and Bioethics: For Max Charlesworth. Springer Verlag. pp. 201-217 (2019)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This paper builds on Max Charlesworth’s evolving interest in aboriginal spirituality by reflecting on potential affinities, as well as great differences, between the notion of the indigenous songline and sacred texts. In particular I suggest possible parallels between the travels of a spirit ancestor along a particular route, and the account of the journey of a specific early Irish saint, itself modelled on the motif of the pilgrim within Jewish and Christian Scripture. Charlesworth always insisted that religion could never be studied as an abstraction, outside its specific manifestation in a culture. I argue that a core element of any religious tradition is constituted not by belief, but by song. Sacred texts themselves record oral traditions, transmitted through song or chanted recitation. While songlines and sacred texts delineate the sacred in very different ways, they both can provide maps of reality, relating to sacred geography and the values of a community. They can be described, in Charlesworth’s phrase as ‘religious inventions’, providing a cultural code necessary for survival, perhaps in a similar way to genetic code within a living organism.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,038

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The Sacred and the Person.Albert Borgmann - 2011 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 54 (2):183-194.
Sacred Books.Manfred Hutter - 2019 - In Ludger Kühnhardt & Tilman Mayer (eds.), The Bonn Handbook of Globality: Volume 2. Springer Verlag. pp. 1377-1385.
Naturalistic Theism.Teed Rockwell - 2017 - Essays in the Philosophy of Humanism 25 (2):209-220.
Sacred as a condition.М. Г Мурашкін - 2019 - Granì 22 (9-10):64-71.
Power-in- use: Secular and Sacred Aspects.Arabinda Basu - 2000 - Journal of Human Values 6 (2):165-174.
Notes on the Sacred.Jean-Luc Nancy - 2013 - Theory, Culture and Society 30 (5):153-158.


Added to PP

8 (#1,319,085)

6 months
5 (#641,095)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references