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Oceanic religion

Oceanic religion. The religion of the Pacific region. The term is imprecise, but at least draws attention to the fact that migration and trade have produced some common features in the life and culture of the Pacific region, the main part of which is water, in which is set a large number of widely scattered islands. Generalizations about religion in so vast an area, with so many cultural variations, are impossible. G. W. Trompf observed of Melanesia: ‘Melanesia has been revealed as the home of about one-third of mankind's languages, and that means—considering how languages are so crucial in defining discrete cultures—just as many religions’ (Melanesian Religion, 1991). Nevertheless, the area has thrown up concepts which have been mediated via the anthropology of religion into the study of religion in general: see e.g. MAGIC (for mana); TABOO.

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