Archive for July, 2012

Naumescu, Vlad (2012). “Learning the ‘Science of Feelings’: Religious Training in Eastern Christian Monasticism”

July 25, 2012

Naumescu, Vlad. 2012. Learning the ‘Science of Feelings’: Religious Training in Eastern Christian Monasticism. Ethnos Journal of Anthropology 77(2):227-251.

Abstract

In Eastern Christianity novitiate is a period of learning to experience the presence of God in one’s life and the world. Novices follow the hesychast prayer, a mystical tradition that leads them to an experiential knowledge of God. In this paper, I argue that novitiate should be regarded as a complex learning process involving specific assemblages of contextual, cognitive, body-sensory and emotional aspects. By educating their attention and emotion novices learn to see beyond and within reality and thus discover the potentiality of people and things ‘in the likeness of God’. Religious transmission happens not only through embodied practice and the active acquisition of religious knowledge but, more importantly, through the work of the imagination. Novices’ orientation towards the transcendent requires an expansion of the imaginative capacities beyond their ‘routine’ functioning. Imagination could be thus seen as a key cognitive capacity through which they learn to experience God.

Ybarrola, “Anthropology, Diasporas, and Mission”

July 24, 2012

Ybarrolo, Steven. 2012. Anthropology, Diasporas, and Mission. Mission Studies 29(1):79-94.

Abstract: In recent years the field of diaspora missiology has been developing within mission studies, receiving important recognition at the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in 2010. This is an interdisciplinary field of study, bringing together the trialogue of theology, anthropology, and mission. This article explores how the longstanding interest within the discipline of anthropology in the study of migration has evolved since the 1990s into the study of diasporas and transnationalism. The author then presents ways in which this focus in anthropology can assist in the research and study of diaspora missiology. He concludes by discussing ways in which the study of diasporas and Christianity can bring together both anthropologists and missiologists in a cooperative effort to research the sociocultural dynamics at work in understanding this phenomenon, thereby lessening the traditional animosity between these two disciplines.

Coleman, “Memory as Absence and Presence: Pilgrimage, ‘Archeo-Theology,’ and the Creativity of Destruction”

July 23, 2012

Coleman, Simon. 2012. “Memory as Absence and Presence: Pilgrimage, “Archeo-Theology,“ and the Creativity of Destruction. Journeys 13(1):1-20

Abstract: This article explores forms of history and memory constructed around the Christian pilgrimage site of Walsingham, England. While exploring different ways of appropriating the past exhibited by pilgrims, ranging from “reliving,“ “remixing,“ and “reframing,“ the article argues that Walsingham’s powerful symbolic resonances emerge in part from its role as a context for “archeotheology,“ whereby a sacramental religious ideology is reinforced by the forms of ruination evident at key points of the site.

Cartledge, “Pentecostal healing as an expression of godly love”

July 23, 2012

Cartledge, Mark J.  2012.  Pentecostal healing as an expression of godly love: an empirical study.  Mental Health, Religion, and Culture 1-22.

Abstract:  This study examines questionnaire data collected from a congregational survey of worshippers among the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) Pentecostal denomination (N = 1522). It is part of a larger study that considers the influence of a perceived relationship of love with God upon benevolent attitudes and action. This paper explores the influence of religiosity and socialisation upon healing experiences and practices. This is because engagement with healing practices is regarded by Pentecostals as a form of benevolent action. A causal model is presented that suggests healing experience can be explained by means of specific background variables (gender, age and ethnicity directly; marital status and education indirectly), religiosity (Sunday worship and all-age Sunday school) and socialisation factors (significant others and perceived influence of a direct encounter with God). The significance of these findings for understanding healing practices among Christians in relation to religion and health is subsequently discussed.

de Witte, “Television and the Gospel of Entertainment in Ghana”

July 19, 2012

de Wittte, Marleen.  2012.  Television and the Gospel of Entertainment in Ghana.  Exchange 41(2): 144-64.

Abstract: Charismatic-Pentecostal `media ministries’ have become very successful in Africa’s new media fields. They shape new forms of public religiosity that spill over into various forms of popular culture and resonate with broad audiences. This article explores the emergence of new Pentecostal publics at the intersection of media, religion, and entertainment in Ghana, raising critical questions concerning the relations between these domains. It analyses two different religious television broadcasts: a television ministry by a well-known celebrity pastor and a gospel reality show featuring a preaching competition for youth. It also considers the debates and concerns such programmes evoke locally. The analysis shows that Pentecostalism’s employment of popular media and entertainment styles is an effective source of persuasive power, but also poses challenges with regard to binding people as committed Christians. The blurring of boundaries between religion and entertainment business causes insecurities about the authenticity of religious authority and religious subjectivity.

Chua, Liana (2012). “Conversion, continuity, and moral dilemmas among Christian Bidayuhs in Malaysian Borneo”

July 18, 2012

Chua, Liana. 2012. Conversion, continuity, and moral dilemmas among Christian Bidayuhs in Malaysian Borneo. American Ethnologist 39(3):511-526.

Abstract

The nascent anthropology of Christianity highlights rupture as central to conversion. Yet thick ethnography of a Bidayuh village in Malaysian Borneo reveals how conversion can also foster modes of thinking and speaking about continuity between Christianity and “the old ways.” Through a study of the shifting moral and religious topography of a community in which three churches coexist alongside a few elderly animist practitioners, I argue that such discourses and practices of continuity highlight the pluralistic and sometimes contradictory nature of Christianization. At the same time, they generate an understanding of conversion as a temporal and relational positioning that encompasses both converts and nonconverts.

 

Khater, Ahmed Fouad. (2011). Embracing the Divine: Passion and Politics in the Christian Middle East

July 14, 2012

Khater, Ahmed Fouad. 2011. Embracing the Divine: Passion and Politics in the Christian Middle East. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.

Book Description

Hindiyya al–’Ujaimi, a young eighteenth–century nun whose faith was matched by her ambition and intellect, lies at the heart of this absorbing history of Middle Eastern Christianity. At the age of twenty-six, Hindiyya left her hometown of Aleppo to establish a convent in the mountains of Lebanon. Her order and her growing public profile as a visionary and living saint met with stiff opposition from Latin missionaries and with mistrust from the Vatican. Church authorities were suspicious of feminine spirituality and independent religious authority, eventually subjecting her to two Inquisitions by the Vatican. Sentenced to spend her entire life imprisoned, Hindiyya died in 1798 in her cell, leaving a legacy that shaped the church for many years to come.

Compelling in its cinematic scope—resplendent with the requisite villains and mysterious events infused with sinister and sexual tensions, tragedy, and pathos—Hindiyya’s story holds within its folds a larger tale about the construction of a new Christianity in the Levant. Khater skillfully reveals what her story tells us about religious minorities in the Middle East, early modern cultural encounters between the West and the Middle East, and the relationship between gender, modernity, and religion.

Luhrmann, Tanya. (2012). “A Hyperreal God and Modern Belief: Toward an Anthropological Theory of Mind.”

July 14, 2012

Luhrmann, Tanya. 2012. A Hyperreal God and Modern Belief: Toward an Anthropological Theory of Mind. Current Anthropology 53(4):371-395

Abstract

This article argues that there is an epistemological style associated with much American evangelical Christianity that is strikingly different from that found in never-secular Christianities. This epistemological style is characterized by a playful, self-consciously paradoxical framing of belief-claims in which God’s reality is both clearly affirmed and qualified. One can describe this style as using an “epistemological double register” in which God is described as very real—and as doubted, in some way. The representation of God generated by this complex style is a magically real or hyper-real God, both more real than everyday reality and in some way fictive. The article goes on to argue that these epistemological features can be understood as generated by and generative of particular theories of mind. The article argues for the development of an anthropological theory of mind in which at least four dimensions are important: boundedness, interiority, sensorium, and epistemic stance.

Young “Evangelical Youth Culture: Christian Music and the Political”

July 4, 2012

Young, Shawn David.  2012. Evangelical Youth Culture: Christian Music and the Political.  Religion Compass 6(6): 323-338.

Abstract: Evangelical Christianity has become a powerful force in American popular media and the political arena. The reason for evangelicalism’s rise to prominence has been widely researched. Contemporary manifestations of popular evangelicalism remain connected to a mythology that can be traced to one of many expressions commonly associated with the American counterculture of the 1960s, specifically a revival of conservative Christianity known as the Jesus Movement, a new way of expressing Christian belief that largely targeted American youth. Today’s youth (not unlike youth in every generation) continue to seek identity. For the most part, the media paradigm that emerged during the 1970s and 1980s evolved into a parallel universe of evangelical culture, which operated as chief purveyor of both evangelical belief and identity. The result was a groundswell of new activity as the evangelical culture industry rallied around new, popular ways of expressing Christian belief; the most compelling example has been contemporary Christian music. This essay will focus primarily on Christian music as a potential causal agent in the lives of evangelical youth, and considers how these youth are formed by music while also challenging how popular music represents evangelical belief and identity.

Pype “The Making of Pentecostal Melodrama”

July 4, 2012

Pype, Katrien.  2012.  The Making of the Pentecostal Melodrama: Religion, Media, and Gender in Kinshasa.  Oxford: Berghan Books.

Publisher’s Description: How religion, gender, and urban sociality are expressed in and mediated via television drama in Kinshasa is the focus of this ethnographic study. Influenced by Nigerian films and intimately related to the emergence of a charismatic Christian scene, these teleserials integrate melodrama, conversion narratives, Christian songs, sermons, testimonies, and deliverance rituals to produce commentaries on what it means to be an inhabitant of Kinshasa.

%d bloggers like this: