Firth, Raymond William, 1901-. Rank and religion in Tikopia: a study in paganism and conversion to Christianity

Table of Contents

Publication Information

Chapter 1 Traditional Tikopia Religion And Society

Tikopia Religion As Paganism

Religion And The Social Life

‘spiritual Values’ In Traditional Tikopia Religion

Power Concepts In Traditional Tikopia Religion

Chapter 2 Pagan Religious Leaders

Tikopia Priests And Spirit Mediums

Chiefs As Priests

Chiefs And Ritual Elders

Social And Ritual Definition Of Chiefs

Sacerdotal Role Of The Chief

Ritual Relations Between Chiefs

Position And Function Of Ritual Elders

Relative Status Of Elders

Appointment Of An Elder


Chapter 3 Concepts Of Spirit

Common Spirits

Spirits Of The Recent Dead

Spirits Of Former Office Holders


Spirits Of Special Creation

Modes Of Spirit Action

The Problem Of Evidence For Spirit Action

Speed As A Power Equivalent

Spirits And The Moral Law

Chapter 4 Material Symbols Of Spirits

Chapter 5 Spirit Patterns And The Social Structure

Gods And Lineages

Lineage Distribution Of Major Gods

Titles Of Gods: The System Of ‘rau’

Ritual Knowledge And Use Of God Titles: The Atua I Kafika

Discrepancies In Titles: Semoana

Hierarchy Of Gods

Dwellings Of Spirits

Chapter 6 Samples Of Theography

Names Of Gods

Kafika Gods And The Primal Family

Qualities Of Eel Gods

The Octopus And The Sun

Female Deities

Chapter 7 A Basic Religious Rite The Kava

Place Of The Kava In Tikopia Religious Practice

Kava Poured Out, Not Drunk

Behaviour In A Rite: The ‘banana-ripening Kava’

Tikopia Explanations Of The Rite

Symbolic Operations Of Preparation

Clearing Grass

Laying Out Bark-cloth

Donning Fresh Clothing And Necklet

Symbolism Of The Kava Plant And Its Products

Myths Of The Origin Of Kava

Symbolic Operations Of Kava Manipulation

Significance Of The Spoken Word

Symbolic Offerings Of Food

General Significance Of The Kava Rite

Chapter 8 Variations In Ritual Acts And Expressions

Types Of Variation

Categorization Of Kava Performances

Significance Of Order In Invocation Of Spirit Names

Kava Of Rolling Thunder

Variation In Food Offerings

Interpretation Of The ‘putu’ Offering

Conception Of Announcement Of Offerings

Variations In Ritual Phraseology

Chapter 9 Spirit Mediu Mship: A Belief In Two-way Communication

Occasions For Mediumship

Social Criteria Of Mediumship

Mediumship As Adjunct To Public Ritual

Mediumship In Household Affairs

Consultation In Sickness

The Spirit World Of The Medium

The Medium's ‘familiar’

Creative Activities Of Mediums

Belief And Scepticism

Problems For Christian Mediums

Chapter 10 Epitome Of Tikopia Pagan Worship

Tikopia Thoughts On Worship

Tikopia Worship And The People

Chapter 11 The Advance Of Christianity In Tikopia

The First Mass Conversion

Growth Of Mission Influence Over A Generation

Parallel And Contrast Between Paganism And Christianity In Tikopia

Definition Of A Tikopia Christian

Sociology Of Conversion

Individual Reflections On Conversion

Chapter 12 Paganism In Adjustment And Decline

Apostasy And Its Sequels

Complications In The Christian Field

Pagan Community In Decline

Adjustment Of Pagan Relationships

Chapter 13 Christianity In An Intermediate Phase

General Institutional Structure

Church Rituals

Some Administrative Problems

The New Theology

Christian Basis For Morality

Traditional Elements In Christian Belief And Practice

General Beliefs In Spirits

Chapter 14 The Triumph Of Complete Conversion

Circumstances Of 1955

Conversion Of The Pagan Chiefs

Concomitants Of Conversion

Ancillary Conversions

Religious State Of The Tikopia In 1966

Christianity And Traditional Tikopia Custom

Chapter 15 Reflections On Religious Change

Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information


Title: Rank and religion in Tikopia: a study in paganism and conversion to Christianity

Published By: Boston, Mass.: Beacon Press, 1970. 424 p., plates: ill.

By line: [by] Raymond Firth

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 1995. Computer File

Culture: Tikopia (OT11)

Subjects: Missions (797);

Abstract: Firth describes the process of transition from the Tikopians' aboriginal religion to Christianity during the period ca. 1925-1955. The effect and processes of this transition on the whole socio-cultural system are analyzed in detail. According to this analysis, the transition took place relatively smoothly, with a change in political power and rank relationships and a relatively complete replacement of the old religious system.

Document Number: 26

Document ID: ot11-026

Document Type: Monograph

Language: English

Note: Includes index

Field Date: 1928-1929, 1952, 1966

Evaluation: Ethnologist-5

Analyst: Sigrid Khera ; Dubravka Schmalzbauer

Coverage Date: ca. 1925-1955

Coverage Place: Tikopia Island, Solomon Islands

LCSH: Tikopia (Solomon Islands people)


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