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Religion in the Andes

Afternoon Lecture/Seminar

Monday, October 30, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0298
This online program is presented on Zoom.
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Please Note: This program has an updated time (originally 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET).

Civilization in the Andes Mountains emerged in almost complete isolation from other parts of the world, as did religion there. Three critical concepts underpin Andean religion: animism and anthropomorphism, oracular divination, and ancestor worship, says Kevin Lane, an archaeologist and senior researcher at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council at the University of Buenos Aires.

Lane delves into the nature of Inca religious practice and traces the emergence of organized religion in the highland Andes. He focuses on how religion was changing just before the arrival of the Spanish in 1532, especially the role of animism and anthropomorphism in viewing landscapes and their elements as living beings.

With its roots in Andean religious traditions dating back centuries, Inca religion morphed due to imperial expansion. This transformation was due in part to exposure to new ideas from such well-organized religions as those of Pachacamac-Ichma and the Chimu kingdom, along the central and northern coast of modern-day Peru. As a result, the Incas’ short-lived pan-Andean religion exalting the Sapa Inca (unique Inca) and a pantheon of gods centered on their titular deity Viracocha and his brother aspects, the Sun (Inti), Thunder (Inti-Illapa), and the Day (Punchao).

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