For the people of Chuuk and for students of religion and Micronesian culture, this book pulls together and makes available in English the somewhat scattered published accounts (largely in German), along with Goodenough's own (as yet unpublished) information about religious beliefs and ritual practices in pre-Christian Chuuk. The materials are presented in a way that seeks to document and illustrate a particular approach, a functional one, to understanding the kinds of human concerns that give rise to religious behavior. Simply to describe traditional beliefs and rituals without the relevant social background information leaves the reader without any feeling for what were the emotional concerns, engendered by life in Chuukese society, that ritual practices helped people address. Ward Goodenough offers a theoretical introduction, the necessary background information about Chuuk and the ways in which members of Chuukese society experienced themselves and their fellows, the world view and overall set of beliefs providing the intellectual framework within which ritual practices were formulated and understood, and the various bodies of ritual practices. He concludes the book with a summary that pulls together how the rituals described appear to related to the emotional concerns that growing up and living in Chuuk tended to create.
This book presents new understandings from recent research in archaeology, linguistics, & experimental ethnology regarding the prehistoric settlement of the Pacific Islands. It reviews evidence of a locally developed, food producing economy & maritime trade in western Melanesia of great antiquity. It discusses evidence of the coming of traders & colonizers from southern China & Taiwan who spoke Austronesian languages into the same area about 4,000 years ago & their subsequent spread into remoter Oceania about 3,500 years ago. It reviews what has been learned from experimental voyaging in replicas of ancient double-hulled sailing vessels without navigational instruments & about how eastern Polynesia could have been settled by deliberate exploration. It shows what historical linguistics reveals about proto-Austronesian society & culture & relates it to the archaeological record of southern China. Finally, it presents challenging hypotheses regarding the emergence & spread of neolithic rice cultivators throughout Southern China, a development that laid the foundation for the subsequent spread of Austronesian people into the outer Pacific.