Confession of Sins - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Religion

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Confession of Sins in Nonliterate Cultures

An interpretation of the confession of sins among nonliterate peoples must consider that there is indeed a tension between theistic conceptions of confession, where the goal is divine forgiveness, and nontheistic conceptions, where the efficacy of confession is intrinsic to the act itself. The Sanpoli and Nespelen (Salish Indians), whom Wilhelm Schmidt (1868–1954) ranked among the Urvölker, in other words among the people of the greatest possible antiquity, practice a theistic form of confession, accompanied by prayer to the supreme being. The purpose of the confession is the sinner's attainment of heaven and presupposes the positive disposition of the person confessing. By contrast, among the Kikuyu, an agricultural people of East Africa, one finds a nontheistic form of confession. Here the transgression of a taboo or other ceremonial regulation can be eliminated by "vomiting" it, that is, confessing...

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This section contains 6,880 words
(approx. 23 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Confession of Sins Encyclopedia Article
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Encyclopedia of Religion
Confession of Sins from Encyclopedia of Religion. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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