Posts Tagged ‘Matt Tomlinson’

Tomlinson and McDougall, “Christian Politics in Oceania”

December 3, 2012

Tomlinson, Matt and Debra McDougall. 2012. Christian Politics in Oceania. In Christian Politics in Oceania, eds. Matt Tomlinson and Debra McDougall. London: Berghahn Books.

Tomlinson and McDougall – New Edited Volume

December 3, 2012

Tomlinson, Matt and Debra McDougall, eds. 2012. Christian Politics in Oceania. London: Berghahn Books.

Publisher’s Description: The phrase “Christian politics” evokes two meanings: political relations between denominations in one direction, and the contributions of Christian churches to debates about the governing of society. The contributors to this volume address Christian politics in both senses and argue that Christianity is always and inevitably political in the Pacific Islands. Drawing on ethnographic and historical research in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Fiji, the authors argue that Christianity and politics have redefined each other in much of Oceania in ways that make the two categories inseparable at any level of analysis. The individual chapters vividly illuminate the ways in which Christian politics operate across a wide scale, from interpersonal relations to national and global interconnections.

Contributors: Matt Tomlinson, Debra McDougall, Courtney Handman, Michael W. Scott, Annelin Erikson, John Barker, Geoffrey White, Joel Robbins, Webb Keane

Tomlinson, “Passports to Eternity: Whales’ Teeth and Transcendence in Fijian Methodism”

February 21, 2012

Tomlinson, Matt (2012) “Passports to Eternity: Whales’ Teeth and Transcendence in Fijian Methodism,” in Lenore Manderson, Wendy Smith, & Matt Tomlinson (eds) Flows of Faith: Religious Reach and Community in Asia and the Pacific (Springer, New York).

Abstract: Christianity is often considered a religion of transcendence, in which divinity “goes beyond” human space and time. Recent anthropological scholarship has noted, however, that claims to transcendence must be expressed materially. This chapter examines the ways in which Fijian Methodists attempt to achieve a kind of Christian transcendence in which they escape negative influences of the vanua (land, chiefdoms, and the “traditional” order generally). They do so by offering sperm whales’ teeth to church authorities in order to apologise and atone for the sins of ancestors. Such rituals do not achieve the transcendence they aim for, however, as the whales’ teeth–the material tokens offered to gain divine favour–gain their ritual value precisely because of their attachment to the vanua.

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