The Soul of Development: Biblical Christianity and Economic Transformation in Guatemala

Overview

Ever since Max Weber started an argument about the role of Protestantism in jump-starting northern Europe's economic development, scholars have clashed over the influence of religion and culture on a society's (or an individual's) economic prospects. Today, many wonder whether the "explosion" of Protestantism in Latin America will effect a similar wave of growth and democratization. In this book, Sherman compiles the results of her field study and national survey of 1000 rural Guatemalan households. She offers ...

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The Soul of Development: Biblical Christianity and Economic Transformation in Guatemala

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Overview

Ever since Max Weber started an argument about the role of Protestantism in jump-starting northern Europe's economic development, scholars have clashed over the influence of religion and culture on a society's (or an individual's) economic prospects. Today, many wonder whether the "explosion" of Protestantism in Latin America will effect a similar wave of growth and democratization. In this book, Sherman compiles the results of her field study and national survey of 1000 rural Guatemalan households. She offers persuasive evidence that, in Guatemala and throughout the region, religious world-views significantly influence economic life. Sherman explains how the change in attitude and behavior that accompanies conversion from animism to a Biblically orthodox world-view has improved the domestic welfare and economic status of many families. Further, she asserts that this new attitude, sympathetic to democratic-capitalism, has created a "moral cultural soil" in which freedom, personal empowerment, an enhanced status for women, and a desire to get ahead can be nurtured.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An excellent contribution to our understanding of the relationship between religion and development."—Peter Berger, Boston University

"The writing is crisp and very clear as to its basic approach and evaluational standpoint. The organization of the argument is likewise clear....A genuine extension of our knowledge on a matter of contemporary debate."—David Martin, London School of Economics and Political Science and author of Tongues of Fire.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195106718
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/28/1997
  • Series: Religion in America Series
  • Pages: 232
  • Lexile: 1440L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.44 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, DC
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Table of Contents

Glossary
Introduction 3
Pt. I Setting the Context
1 Locating the Argument 21
2 Latin American Protestantism and Economic Development 38
3 Cristo-paganism Described and Analyzed 51
Pt. II Orthodoxy and Economic Transformation
4 Worldview and Socioeconomic Development: The Evidence Explained 73
5 Outback Journeys: The Evidence Experienced 97
Pt. III Orthodoxy and Democratic Capitalism
6 Evangelicals and Civic Culture 129
7 The Evangelicals' Alternative Communitarianism 147
Conclusion: A Third Reformation? 160
Appendixes 171
Notes 187
Bibliography 205
Index 211
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