Sacramental symbols and the oral tradition.
This dissertation is an attempt to draw a connecting link between Marcel Jousse's theory of MIMISM as found in his book The Oral Style and the symbols used when celebrating four of the sacraments celebrating in the Roman Catholic Church. These symbols are water used in the sacrament of baptism, the bread and the wine as used in the celebration of the Eucharist, and the oil which is used in the sacraments of Confirmation and the Anointing of the Sick. Jousse was the first anthropologist to discover that all action or gestes as he called it, is constantly being replayed and re-enacted by man. The second chapter in this thesis will give a comprehensive summary of this theory of MIMISM. Since man is constantly attempting to get closer to God whom he falls short of when he sins, this practice of the sacraments is a means of getting man back in touch with God and the symbols used in this procedure is what actually makes it real. After a chapter on symbolism and the role that symbols play in the celebration of sacraments, the next chapter deals with the rites, rituals and religion in society. It is the symbols together with the rights, that in effect bridge the relationship between God and man. The final chapter then looks into the symbols themselves, which are oil, water and the Eucharist and fits the entire subject into perspective.