Title

A Reexamination of Marginal Religious Specialists: Himalayan Messengers from the Dead

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-20-2020

Publication Title

Journal of the American Academy of Religion

DOI

10.1093/jaarel/lfaa023

ISSN

1477-4585

Abstract

A delog is a Tibetan Buddhist religious specialist believed to die and return to life to relay messages from the dead. In the contemporary Himalayas, the revenant experiences that delogs undergo happen to people with limited access to social and economic power and thus confer a religious title on individuals whose opportunities to function in authoritative religious roles are limited. At the same time, the network of expectations within which delogs are identified naturalizes and perpetuates gender, class, educational, and ethnic hierarchies among Himalayan Buddhists. Although minor religious vocations continue to be celebrated as avenues by which subaltern people challenge hegemony, the contemporary delog tradition in the Himalayas effectively works to reinforce the power and authority of texts and male elites.

Comments

© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Academy of Religion. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

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