Shamans, Sages, Priests and Prophets

Some of you may be interested in downloading and reading “Shaman, Sage, Priest, Prophet and Magi: Exploring the Architecture of the Religious Wise Man” by Dominique Beth Wilson, a Grad Student from Sydney University. I came across it earlier this week.

I found it had a lot of resonance with some reflections I’ve previously posted on “Types of Religious Practitioners”, which was itself inspired by Paul Hiebert’s “Understanding Folk Religions”. To eleborate further on what I wrote there, shamans and the prophets are more inspirational-style leaders, in direct contact with the numenous, while priests and sages are the more institutional-style leaders, with their contact with the numenous being more indirect. Understood this way, I would have thought Dominique’s magicians are just a different type of shaman. Indeed, understood this way the healing activity of Jesus would also be classified as shamanic, given it involved approaching his Father on behalf of the people. Anyway, see what you think.

Further searching also turned up another interesting book, “Priests, Prophets, Diviners and Sages: A Socio-Historical Study of Religious Specialists in Ancient Israel” by Lester L. Grabbe. Unfortunately though, it is unavailable in ebook version, and the snail version is retailing at the bargain basement price of $532.32 on Amazon.

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