Maricopa Community Colleges  ASB214  19996-99999 

Official Course Description: MCCCD Approval: 12-08-1998

ASB214 2008 Spring 2011 Fall

LEC 3.0 Credit(s) 3.0 Period(s) 3.0 Load Acad

Magic, Witchcraft, and Healing: An Introduction to Comparative Religion

Origins, elements, and forms of religion; a comparative survey of religious beliefs, myths, rituals and symbolism including magic, witchcraft and healing as practiced in selected regions of the world; the place of religion in the total culture.

Prerequisites: None.


Course Attribute(s):

General Education Designation: Social and Behavioral Sciences - [SB]


Go to Competencies Go to Outline

MCCCD Official Course Competencies:


ASB214 2008 Spring 2011 Fall

Magic, Witchcraft, and Healing: An Introduction to Comparative Religion



Distinguish among major theories of the origin of religion. (I)


Contrast the major characteristics of tribal religion with those of world religions. (I)


Define magic, myth, ritual, and symbol and describe their functions to the individual and the social group using selected examples from belief systems in various regions of the world. (II, V)


Classify types of religious action in selected cross-cultural contexts. (II)


Describe and analyze how religious healing rituals affect illness states. (II-IV).


Define and differentiate between the major types of religious practitioners/healers. (III)


Classify categories of altered states of consciousness and describe their social and psychological functions. (IV)


Define the major classifications of evil forces in selected cross-cultural contexts. (V)


Analyze attitudes about witchcraft and evil in the context of social control and social harmony. (V)


Describe the functions of funerals and death ceremonies in selected cross-cultural contexts. (VI)


Distinguish between various attitudes/beliefs concerning life after death in selected cross-cultural contexts. (VI)


Identify the major forces of religious change and innovation. (VII)


Analyze the occurrence of nontraditional beliefs in western society. (VIII)


Identify characteristics of belief in the occult. (VIII)


Compare and contrast selected culturally-specific belief systems indifferent regions of the world. (IX)

Go to Description Go to top of Competencies

MCCCD Official Course Outline:


ASB214 2008 Spring 2011 Fall

Magic, Witchcraft, and Healing: An Introduction to Comparative Religion

I. The Anthropological Study of Religion

A. Religion as a part of culture

B. Religious origins and social evolution in historical perspective

C. Tribal religions versus world religions

II. Myth, Ritual, and Symbolism in Cross-Cultural Perspective

A. The role of myth in society

1. Sacred time and place

2. The mythic hero

B. Ritual as action and behavior

1. Rites of passage

2. Healing ritual

3. Theoretical approaches to understanding ritual action

C. Symbolism

1. Taboo

2. Art, architecture and design

3. Anomaly

III. Religious Practitioners in Selected Cross-Cultural Contexts

A. Shamans and healers

B. Mediums and priests

C. Prophets

IV. Altered States of Consciousness

A. Visions quests

B. Hallucinogenic drugs and religious ecstasy

C. Psychotherapy of religious healing

V. Witchcraft, Sorcery, and Forces of Evil in Cross-Cultural Perspective

A. Witchcraft

1. Examples of witchcraft in specific societies

2. Witchcraft as a means of social control

3. Witchcraft as a leveling device

B. Sorcery

C. Demons, exorcism, and magic

1. Psychosocial aspects of exorcism

2. Divination

3. Magic

4. Illness

VI. The Afterlife in Selected Cross-Cultural Contexts

A. Ghosts, souls, and ancestors

B. Death and cosmology, transformation and regeneration

C. Sacrifice and cannibalism

D. Funeral and death ceremonies

VII. Religion and Social Change in Selected Cross-Cultural Contexts

A. Revitalization movements

B. Cargo cults

C. Nativistic movements

VIII. Non-Traditional Beliefs in Western Society

A. The occult in the scientific world

B. Mysticism

C. New Age religion

IX. Selected Belief Systems in a Cross-Cultural Perspective


Go to Description    Go to top of Competencies    Go to top of Outline