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Elaborating Scriptures: Cain and Abel in Gayo Society

John R. Bowen
Man
New Series, Vol. 27, No. 3 (Sep., 1992), pp. 495-516
DOI: 10.2307/2803926
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2803926
Page Count: 22
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Elaborating Scriptures: Cain and Abel in Gayo Society
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Abstract

Muslims, and other people whose religions are based in scripture, develop and transform stories from scripture to explain local practices in world-religious terms, yet anthropologists seldom study these processes. This article concerns elaborations on Islamic traditions by Gayo people in highland Sumatra, Indonesia. Gayo narrators draw on stories of Adam and Eve's children to account for processes of birth, hunting and agriculture. Special attention is given here to the functions played by ideas of sibling conflict, improper marriage, and gender in these narrative transformations.

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