The Anthropology of Christianity / Edition 1

The Anthropology of Christianity / Edition 1

by Fenella Cannell
     
 

ISBN-10: 0822336464

ISBN-13: 9780822336464

Pub. Date: 11/07/2006

Publisher: Duke University Press Books

This collection provides vivid ethnographic explorations of particular, local Christianities as they are experienced by different groups around the world. At the same time, the contributors, all anthropologists, rethink the vexed relationship between anthropology and Christianity. As Fenella Cannell contends in her powerful introduction, Christianity is the

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Overview

This collection provides vivid ethnographic explorations of particular, local Christianities as they are experienced by different groups around the world. At the same time, the contributors, all anthropologists, rethink the vexed relationship between anthropology and Christianity. As Fenella Cannell contends in her powerful introduction, Christianity is the critical “repressed” of anthropology. To a great extent, anthropology first defined itself as a rational, empirically based enterprise quite different from theology. The theology it repudiated was, for the most part, Christian. Cannell asserts that anthropological theory carries within it ideas profoundly shaped by this rejection. Because of this, anthropology has been less successful in considering Christianity as an ethnographic object than it has in considering other religions. This collection is designed to advance a more subtle and less self-limiting anthropological study of Christianity.

The contributors examine the contours of Christianity among diverse groups: Catholics in India, the Philippines, and Bolivia, and Seventh-Day Adventists in Madagascar; the Swedish branch of Word of Life, a charismatic church based in the United States; and Protestants in Amazonia, Melanesia, and Indonesia. Highlighting the wide variation in what it means to be Christian, the contributors reveal vastly different understandings and valuations of conversion, orthodoxy, Scripture, the inspired word, ritual, gifts, and the concept of heaven. In the process they bring to light how local Christian practices and beliefs are affected by encounters with colonialism and modernity, by the opposition between Catholicism and Protestantism, and by the proximity of other religions and belief systems. Together the contributors show that it not sufficient for anthropologists to assume that they know in advance what the Christian experience is; each local variation must be encountered on its own terms.

Contributors. Cecilia Busby, Fenella Cannell, Simon Coleman, Peter Gow, Olivia Harris, Webb Keane, Eva Keller, David Mosse, Danilyn Rutherford, Christina Toren, Harvey Whitehouse

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822336464
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
11/07/2006
Edition description:
ANN
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments....................ix
Introduction The Anthropology of Christianity Fenella Cannell....................1
One The Eternal Return of Conversion Christianity as Contested Domain in Highland Bolivia Olivia Harris....................51
Two Renewable Icons Concepts of Religious Power in a Fishing Village in South India Cecilia Busby....................77
Three Possession and Confession Affliction and Sacred Power in Colonial and Contemporary Catholic South India David Mosse....................99
Four Reading as Gift and Writing as Theft Fenella Cannell....................134
Five Materializing the Self Words and Gifts in the Construction of Charismatic Protestant Identity Simon Coleman....................163
Six The Effectiveness of Ritual Christina Toren....................185
Seven Forgetting Conversion The Summer Institute of Linguistics Mission in the Piro Lived World Peter Gow....................211
Eight The Bible Meets the Idol Writing and Conversion in Biak, Irian Jaya, Indonesia Danilyn Rutherford....................240
Nine Scripture Study as Normal Science Seventh-Day Adventist Practice on the East Coast of Madagascar Eva Keller....................273
Ten Appropriated and Monolithic Christianity in Melanesia Harvey Whitehouse....................295
Epilogue Anxious Transcendence Webb Keane....................308
References....................325
Contributors....................353
Index....................355

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