Like Turner's other books, this one admirably fuses a symbolic, cognitive approach to culture with a social functionalist one. Like his other books as well, this one is as accessible to novice undergraduates as to specialists in anthropology and religion.
Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Cultureby Edith Turner, Deborah Bhatti
First published in 1978 and hailed as "an important foreshadowing of issues that have become prominent in more recent anthropology," this classic work examines the theological doctrines, popular notions, and corresponding symbols and images promoting and sustaining Christian pilgrimage. The text examines two major aspects of pilgrimage practice: the significance of context, or the theological conditions that give rise to pilgrimage and the folk traditions that enable worshippers to absorb the meaning of the event; and the images and symbols that embody the experience of pilgrimage and transmit its visions in varying ways. Retelling its own tales of "mere mortals" confronted by potent visions, such as the man of mixed virtue who found redemption with the Lady of Guadalupe and the poor French shepherdess Bernadette whose encounter with the Lady at Lourdes inspired Christians across the globe, this book treats religious visions as both paradox and empowering phenomena, tying them explicitly to the times in which they occurred. Offering vivid vignettes of social history, it extends their importance beyond the realm of the religious to our own conceptions of reality.
Extensively revised throughout, this edition also includes a new introduction by the theologian Deborah Bhatti situating the book within the work of Victor and Edith Turner and movements of contemporary culture. She addresses the book's legacy within the discipline, especially its hermeneutical framework, which introduced a novel method of describing and interpreting pilgrimage. She also credits the Turners with cementing the link between mysticism, popular devotion, and Christian culture, as well as their recognition of the relationship between pilgrimage and human beings' deep spiritual needs. In conclusion, Bhatti surveys various critiques of the Turners' work and suggests future directions for research on this topic.
This book is a fine combination of scholarship and readability. The Turners contend that pilgrimage is a major socioreligious phenomenon and thus worthy of anthropological study.... This fine book deserves a wide readership.
What People are Saying About This
Image and Pilgrimage is a landmark in the anthropological study ofpilgrimage: indeed, it formed the field. We still have not fullyappreciated all that it has to say about embodiment, movement, andmateriality. But even more than a study of Christian pilgrimage, it isalso a book about how to do anthropology, and how to trace theintersections between history, religious experience and popularculture.
Meet the Author
Victor Turner (1920-1983) was professor of religion and anthropology at the University of Chicago. He authored many books, including The Forest of Symbols: Aspects of Ndembu Ritual, The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure, Dramas, Fields, and Metaphors: Symbolic Action in Human Society, and On the Edge of the Bush: Anthropology As Experience.
Edith Turner is a lecturer in anthropology at the University of Virginia and editor of the journal Anthropology and Humanism.
Deborah Ross is a theologian and writer living in San Francisco.
Columbia University Press
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