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CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY KENYON
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Release: Feb. 13, 2001

UI School of Religion mounts exhibit on religious ritual

IOWA CITY, Iowa – A photographic exhibit, "Religious Ritual Across Cultures," is on display at the University of Iowa School of Religion. The exhibition, mounted on the third floor of Gilmore Hall, offers a sample of the rich and diverse nature of ritual in religious practice worldwide. It was organized by three professors in the UI College of Liberal Arts: George Nickelsburg, emeritus professor of religion; Frederick Smith, associate professor of religion; and Laura Graham, associate professor of anthropology.

"Rituals are a part of every religious tradition, and even though they may seem widely divergent, many of these acts transcend cultural boundaries and can be found everywhere from Judeo-Christian to Hindu to native Indian traditions," Nickelsburg said. "Laying one’s hands on another’s head, raising hands or arms, prostrating oneself, embracing, shouting, singing and forms of dance, are all found across religious traditions. We have tried in this exhibit to provide a visual representation of the similarities among religious ritual traditions as well as to demonstrate the diversity of these rituals."

On display as part of the exhibit are photos of a number of different types of ritual, including sacrifice, pilgrimage, commemoration, initiation, death, release, devotion, and thanksgiving. The exhibit will remain on display through June 2002 and is free and open to the public from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.