Until the 1960s, little was known inside or outside Iran about the tribes living in the country. The anthropological research of Erika Friedl is now renowned for presenting comprehensive data collected over a 50-year period from her time among the Boir Ahmad tribal people living in the Zagros Mountains of Iran. In this new book, Friedl turns her attention to the subject of religion, which she had only touched upon in her previous work. About ninety percent of people in Iran and nearly everybody in Boir Ahmad are Muslims of the Twelver Shia group. However, studies of tribal people’s religiosity, beliefs and rituals are scarce, and many researchers have discounted their views and experience, regarding the tribes as only “nominally religious” because their practices do not fit in with the mainstream practices and ideas in Iran. Religion and Daily Life in the Mountains of Iran corrects this view and provides a hallmark study of tribal people’s religiosity. Demonstrating the great diversity of their philosophical and religious ideas, the book reveals the ways in which the tribes choose and express their religion, define their communities and understand their world. From conversations about God and his relationships with people, to observations on ageing and death, and research into the tribe’s use of spells, amulets and sacrifices, to their beliefs about saints, health and well-being, the book is an original ethnographic exploration of religion and daily life.
- December 31, 2020
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