The Invention of “Shamanism” in 18th Century Mongolian Elite Discourse
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The paper concentrates on the transformation of the religious field in 17th and 18th century Mongolia, focusing on the discourse formations which accompanied the missionary strategies the Tibetan Buddhist monks employed to win over the Mongols to Buddhism. By drawing on a variety of Mongolian sources, from biographies and chronicles up to legal documents and terminological dictionaries, the author argues that the encounter between shamanic and Buddhist religious specialists led to the creation of a religious “other” and the reification of a böge-ner-ün sasin, a “teaching of the shamans”, most likely influencing European Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment constructions of so called “shamanism”.
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