By Gregory Shushan
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The Mesoamerican traditions actually have two separate language groups, Uto-Aztecan and Mayan. Caution is required in considering this as further indication of cultural independence, however: Driver (1974: 110) has cited ethnographic examples in North America where language is wholly unrelated between groups but culture is nearly identical; and conversely groups with closely related languages and wholly different cultures. Indeed, the Sumerians and Akkadians were culturally indistinguishable despite their different language groups (Roux 1964: 140).
Lincoln 1991). Since two of our civilizations are Near Eastern (and non-Indo-European, as are China and Mesoamerica), the implication is that the similarities should not occur. Jorgensen (1974: 200–1) wrote that if the cultures sampled are 26 Conceptions of the Afterlife in Early Civilizations independent of each other, . . one does not have to appeal to prejudice, or to authority, or to one or two possible examples, or to impression, or to polemic to demonstrate the merit of the hypothesis and its validation.
A metaphysical explanation8 does not require an associated theological system for its formulation and expression, and can in fact be independent of one. A theological explanation, however, indicates requisite faith in such a system, and would conform to the preconceived framework of that faith. The second problem is that Martin is proposing one type of assumption over another without explicit reasoning. Similarly, arguments which appear designed to reinforce structuralist/functionalist preconceptions are also common in comparative studies.