The Stranger at the Feast: Prohibition and Mediation in an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Community

The Stranger at the Feast: Prohibition and Mediation in an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Community

by Tom Boylston

Paperback(First Edition)

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The Stranger at the Feast is a pathbreaking ethnographic study of one of the world’s oldest and least-understood religious traditions. Based on long-term ethnographic research on the Zege peninsula in northern Ethiopia, the author tells the story of how people have understood large-scale religious change by following local transformations in hospitality, ritual prohibition, and feeding practices. Ethiopia has undergone radical upheaval in the transition from the imperial era of Haile Selassie to the modern secular state, but the secularization of the state has been met with the widespread revival of popular religious practice. For Orthodox Christians in Zege, everything that matters about religion comes back to how one eats and fasts with others. Boylston shows how practices of feeding and avoidance have remained central even as their meaning and purpose has dramatically changed: from a means of marking class distinctions within Orthodox society, to a marker of the difference between Orthodox Christians and other religions within the contemporary Ethiopian state.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520296497
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 01/12/2018
Series: The Anthropology of Christianity , #23
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 194
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Tom Boylston is a lecturer in the Department of Social Anthropology in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Edinburgh.

Table of Contents

Note on Amharic Pronunciation and Transliteration

1. A History of Mediation
2. Fasting, Bodies, and the Calendar
3. Proliferations of Mediators
4. Blood, Silver, and Coffee: The Material Histories of Sanctity and Slavery
5. The Buda Crisis
6. Concrete, Bones, and Feasts
7. Echoes of the Host
8. The Media Landscape
9. The Knowledge of the World

Reference List

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