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The Precarious Center

Religious Leadership among African Christians

Thomas G. Kirsch

This article addresses a long-standing conundrum in the anthropology of religion concerning the ambiguous status of religious leaders: they are subjects of power in that they are able to exert power over others, yet they are objects of power in that they rely on empowerment through others. Taking African-initiated Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity in Zambia as my example, I argue that church leaders' strategies to stabilize their authority have unintended consequences since these strategies can contribute to the precariousness of their positions. By drawing fundamental distinctions between themselves and members of the laity as regards their own extraordinariness, church leaders raise high expectations about their own capacities that may turn out to be impossible to fulfill. Yet even the opposite strategy of strengthening one's authority by embedding oneself in socio-religious networks can eventually lead to a destabilization of church leaders' authority because it increases their dependence on factors that are beyond their control.

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Introduction

Dialogues and Trajectories

Simon Coleman and Ramon Sarró

In his luminous reflections on the intellectual trajectory that he has traced so far—beginning with the modern and proceeding through the secular toward the global—José Casanova notes that his evolving interests took him away from anthropology and toward sociology. Yet Casanova’s work has remained influential on, and in conversation with, that of many anthropologists, not least as a result of his desire to transcend a “Western-centric view of history and human development” (this volume) as well as his predictions that Pentecostalism may well become the predominant form of Christianity in the twenty-first century. This second volume of Religion and Society presents Casanova—author of the classic Public Religions in the Modern World (1994)—in dialogue with his own past and shifting present, but also responding to the comments of scholars who are themselves anthropologically informed and yet able to represent perspectives from sociology, theology, and religious studies.

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Keith Egan, Mathias Thaler, Anna Fedele, Maarit Forde, Tuomas Martikainen, Kim Knibbe, Maria M. Griera, Katerina Seraidari, José Mapril, Roger Canals, Diana Espirito Santo, Titus Hjelm, Vlad Naumescu, Vânia Zikán Cardoso, Mathieu Fribault, Rebecca Prentice, Ryan Schram, Jacqueline Ryle, Alexandre Surrallés, James S. Bielo, César Ceriani Cernadas, and Maïté Maskens

BENTLEY, Alex (ed.), The Edge of Reason? Science and Religion in Modern Society, 222 pp., foreword. London: Continuum, 2008. Paperback, £13.99. ISBN: 9781847062185.

BERGER, Peter, Grace DAVIE, and Effi e FOKAS, Religious America, Secular Europe? A Theme and Variations, 176 pp., bibliography, index. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008. Paperback, £16.99. ISBN: 978075466011.

LEVEY, Geoffrey Brahm and Tariq MODOOD (eds.), Secularism, Religion and Multicultural Citizenship, 274 pp., tables, bibliographical references, index. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008 Paperback, $31.99/£17.99. ISBN: 9780521695411.

FAVRET-SAADA, Jeanne, 2009, Désorceler, 169 pp., bibliographical references. Paris: Éditions de L’Olivier. Paperback, €18.50. ISBN: 9782879296395.

GUADELOUPE, Francio, Chanting Down the New Jerusalem: Calypso, Christianity, and Capitalism in the Caribbean, 255 pp., illustrations, notes, references, index. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009. Hardback, $50.00/£34.95. ISBN: 9780520254886.

HACKETT, Rosalind (ed.), Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars, 480 pp. London: Equinox, 2008. Paperback, £18.99/$29.95. ISBN: 9781845532277.

JACKSON, Michael, The Palm at the End of the Mind: Relatedness, Religiosity and the Real, 256 pp., preface. Durham: Duke University Press, 2009. Paperback, $22.95. ISBN: 9780822343813.

KIRSCH, Thomas G., and Bertram TURNER (eds.), 2009, Permutations of Order: Religion and Law as Contested Sovereignties, 269 pp., bibliographical references, index. Farnham, Surrey, UK: Ashgate. Hardback, £55.00. ISBN: 9780754672593.

MAHIEU, Stéphanie and Vlad NAUMESCU (eds.), Churches In-Between. Greek Catholic Churches in Postsocialist Europe, 340 pp., bibliographical references, tables, index. Munster: Lit Verlag, 2008. Paperback, € 29.90. ISBN: 9783825899103.

MARRANCI, Gabriele, The Anthropology of Islam, 224 pp., introduction, conclusion, references. Oxford: Berg, 2008, Paperback, £13.38. ISBN: 9781845202859.

MEYER, Birgit (ed.), Aesthetic Formations: Media, Religion, and the Senses, 292 pp., illustrations, preface, bibliography, index. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. Hardcover, $90. ISBN: 9780230605558.

PALMIÉ, Stephan (ed.), Africa of the Americas: Beyond the Search for Origins in the Study of Afro-Atlantic Religions, 388 pages, preface. Leiden: Brill, 2008, Volume 33 of Studies of Religion in Africa: Supplements to the Journal of Religion in Africa. Hardback, €88.00/US$ 126.00. ISBN: 9789004164727.

PETERSEN, Jesper Aagaard (ed.), Contemporary Religious Satanism: A Critical Anthology, xii + 277 pp., index. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2009. Hardback, £55.00. ISBN: 9780754652861.

PINE, Frances and João PINA-CABRAL (eds.), On the Margins of Religion. ix, 286 p., illus., bibliogrs. Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2008. Hardback, $90.00/£45.00. ISBN: 9781845454098.

PINXTEN, Rik and Lisa DIKOMITIS (eds.), When God Comes to Town: Religious Traditions in Urban Contexts, 151 pp., figures, index. Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2009, Volume 4 of Culture and Politics/Politics and Culture Series. Hardcover, $70.00/£45.00. ISBN: 9781845455545.

SARRÓ, Ramon, The Politics of Religious Change on the Upper Guinea Coast: Iconoclasm Done and Undone, xviii + 239 pp., maps, figures, glossary, bibliography, index. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press for the International African Institute, 2009. Hardback, £55. ISBN: 9780748635153.

SCHMIDT, Bettina E., Caribbean Diaspora in the USA: Diversity of Caribbean Religions in New York City, 208 pp., figures, bibliography, index. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008. Hardback, £55.00. ISBN: 9780754663652.

STEWART, Pamela J. and Andrew STRATHERN (eds.), Religious and Ritual Change: Cosmologies and Histories, 371 pp., preface, appendix, index. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2009. Paperback, $50. ISBN: 9781594605765.

TOMLINSON, Matt, In God’s Image: The Metaculture of Fijian Christianity, 263 pp., preface, index, references. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009. Paperback, $21.95/£14.95. ISBN: 9780520257788.

TREMLETT, Paul-François, Lévi-Strauss on Religion: The Structuring Mind, 132 pp., bibliographical references, index. London: Equinox, 2008. Paperback, £14.99/$24.95. ISBN: 9781845532789.

VILAÇA, Aparecida and Robin M. WRIGHT (eds.), Native Christians: Modes and Effects of Christianity among Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, 266 pp., index, illustrations, maps, afterword. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008. Hardback, £55. ISBN: 9780754663553.

CANALS, Roger (dir.). 2008. The Many Faces of a Venezuelan Goddess. Paris: CNRS. 55 min., color.

MOTTIER, Damien (dir.). 2007. Prophète(s). France, Les Films de la Jetée. 46 minutes, color.

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Bill Maurer

Credit. From the Latin, credere, to trust or to believe. Crisis, from the Greek κρίσις, crisis, but also decision, judgment. Judgment day. I had imagined this article as a series of epistles, short missives with didactic aphorisms—postcards, really—from the credit crisis. Yet the effort foundered on two shores. First, my abilities are simply not up to the task, for this genre with its ancient history boasts so many predecessors and models that selection for the purposes of mimicry—or embodiment—became impossible. Second, and more important, I began to realize, in the effort, that the genre demands an analytical engagement with its material that this article in many respects stands athwart. How it does so will become apparent in due course. The credit crisis began in 2008 and continues to the time of my writing, in May 2010. In naming the credit crisis and its religion, I acknowledge I afford them a degree of reality they may not possess. I also acknowledge that this article comes with temporal limits, the limits of the time of its writing. My debts are many and cannot be fully acknowledged. Reality, time and debt are very much at issue in credit crisis religion. Worldly constraints narrow my inquiry to Anglophone and primarily United States examples. Christianity is, by necessity and design, over-represented.

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Portrait

Ann Taves

Gustavo Benavides, Thomas J. Coleman III, Ralph W. Hood Jr., Richard Sosis, and Ann Taves

As the first invitee to this portrait section trained as a scholar of religion and situated in a department of religious studies, I was interested to see how previous scholars trained in anthropology and sociology positioned themselves in relation to ‘religion’ as an object of study. It seems we all do so gingerly. Although my graduate work was in the history of Christianity with a focus on American religious history, since the early 1990s I have self-consciously positioned my historical research in an interdisciplinary space between psychiatry, anthropology, and religious studies in order to explore the contestations surrounding unusual experiences. During the last decade, I have been identifying myself less as a historian and more as an interdisciplinary scholar attempting to bring both humanistic and cognitive social scientific methods to the study of historical experiences and events. From this vantage point, I would argue, as Maurice Bloch (2010) did in the first volume of this journal, that ‘religion’ is not a natural kind but a complex cultural concept and that a theory of religion per se is impossible.

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Judith Casselberry, Stephen D. Glazier, Minna Opas, Viola Teisenhoffer, Anastasios Panagiotopoulos, Brendan Jamal Thornton, Joseph Trapido, Sergio González Varela, Bruno Reinhardt, Cristóbal Bonelli, Bernardo E. Brown, and Grete Viddal

ABRAMS, Andrea C., God and Blackness: Race, Gender, and Identity in a Middle Class Afrocentric Church, 195 pp., references, index. New York: New York University Press, 2014. Paperback, $26. ISBN 9780814705247.

CHRISTENSEN, Jeanne, Rastafari Reasoning and the RastaWoman: Gender Constructions in the Shaping of Rastafari Livity, 202 pp., bibliography, index. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014. Hardback, $80. ISBN 9780739175736.

COX, James L., The Invention of God in Indigenous Societies, 192 pp., notes, bibliography, index. Durham: Acumen, 2014. Paperback, $ 31. ISBN 9780520280472.

DAWSON, Andrew, Santo Daime: A New World Religion, 240 pp., notes, bibliography, index. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013. Paperback, $40. ISBN 9781441154248.

DESCOLA, Philippe, Beyond Nature and Culture, trans. Janet Lloyd, 488 pp., notes, bibliography, index. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013. Hardback, $52. ISBN 9780226144450.

FLORES, Edward Orozco, God’s Gangs: Barrio Ministry, Masculinity, and Gang Recovery, 243 pp., notes, references, index. New York: New York University Press, 2013. Paperback, $22. ISBN 9781479878123.

GESCHIERE, Peter, God’s Witchcraft, Intimacy and Trust: Africa in Comparison, 243 pp., notes, references, index. 328 pp., notes, references, index. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013. Hardback, $75. ISBN 9780226047584.

Johnson, Paul Christopher, ed., Spirited Things: The Work of “Possession” in Afro-Atlantic Religions, 344 pp., notes, bibliography, index. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014. Hardback, $97.50. ISBN 9780226122625.

KLASSEN, Pamela E., Spirits of Protestantism: Medicine, Healing, and Liberal Christianity, 348 pp., notes, bibliography, index. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011. Paperback, $29.95. ISBN 9780520270992.

KOHN, Eduardo, How Forests Think: Toward an Anthropology Beyond the Human, 288 pp., notes, bibliography, index. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. Paperback, $29.95. ISBN 9780520276116.

LUHRMANN, T. M., When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God, 464 pp., notes, bibliographic notes, bibliography, index. New York: Vintage Books, 2012. Paperback, $20. ISBN 9780307277275.

RAMSEY, Kate, The Spirits and the Law: Vodou and Power in Haiti, 448 pp., illustrations, maps, notes, bibliography, index. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011. Hardback, $50. ISBN 9780226703794.

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Urmila Nair, Naomi Haynes, Rebekka King, Joseph Webster, Amanda J. Lucia, Amit Desai, Jackie Feldman, Iza Kavedžija, Michael W. Scott, Jon Bialecki, Andreas Bandak, Nathaniel Roberts, Alan Barnard, Tom Boylston, Dimitri Tsintjilonis, Brian Baumann, Stuart McLean, and Hayder Al-Mohammad

ARNOLD, Daniel, Brains, Buddhas, and Believing: The Problem of Intentionality in Classical Buddhist and Cognitive-Scientific Philosophy of Mind, 328 pp., bibliography, index. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012. Hardback, £34.50. ISBN 9780231145466.

ATTANASI, Katherine, and Amos YONG, eds. Pentecostalism and Prosperity: The Socio- Economics of the Global Charismatic Movement, 278 pp. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2012. Hardback, $95. ISBN 100230338283.

BOWMAN, Marion, and Ülo VALK, eds., Vernacular Religion in Everyday Life: Expressions of Belief, 320 pp., bibliography. Sheffield: Equinox, 2012. Hardback, £70.00, $115.00. ISBN 9781908049506.

BRUCE, Steve, Politics and Religion in the United Kingdom, 304 pp., preface, notes, index. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2012. Paperback, £19.59. ISBN 9780415643672.

COPEMAN, Jacob, and Aya IKEGAME, eds., The Guru in South Asia: New Interdisciplinary Perspectives, 260 pp., index. Oxford: Routledge, 2012. Hardback, $155. ISBN 9780415510196.

FEDELE, Anna, and Ruy LLERA BLANES, eds., Encounters of Body and Soul in Contemporary Religious Practices: Anthropological Reflections, 252 pp., illustrations, bibliography, index. Oxford and New York: Berghahn, 2011. Hardback, £50, $85. ISBN 9780857452078.

FEDELE, Anna, Looking for Mary Magdalene: Alternative Pilgrimage and Ritual Creativity at Catholic Shrines in France, 336 pp., notes, references, maps, index. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Paperback, $35.00. ISBN: 978-0199898428.

FISKER-NIELSEN, Anne Mette, Religion and Politics in Contemporary Japan: Soka Gakkai Youth and Komeito, 264 pp., appendix, notes, bibliography, index. London and New York: Routledge, 2012. Hardback £78.42. ISBN 9780415694247.

HOLBRAAD, Martin, Truth in Motion: The Recursive Anthropology of Cuban Divination, 344 pp., preface, illustrations, appendices, references, index. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2012. Hardback, $78, £54.50. ISBN 9780226349206. Paperback, $26, £18. ISBN 9780226349213.

KEHOE, Alice Beck, Militant Christianity: An Anthropological History, 208 pp., notes, references, references by chapter, index. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Paperback, £17.15. ISBN 1137282444.

MITTERMAIER, Amira, Dreams That Matter: Egyptian Landscapes of the Imagination, 308 pp., illustrations, notes, glossary, bibliography, index. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011. Paperback, $26.95, £18.95. ISBN 9780520258518.

QUACK, Johannes, Disenchanting India: Organized Rationalism and Criticism of Religion in India, xvii + 362 pp., references, appendices, index. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. ISBN 9780199812608.

RENFREW, Colin, and Iain MORLEY, eds., Becoming Human: Innovation in Prehistoric and Spiritual Culture, xviii + 282 pp., 50 halftones, 24 color plates. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Hardback, £53, paperback £20.99. ISBN 9780521876544 (hardback), 9780521734660 (paperback).

SCHIELKE, Samuli, and Liza DEBEVEC, eds., Ordinary Lives, Grand Schemes: An Anthropology of Everyday Religion, 176 pp., bibliography, index. Oxford and New York: Berghahn, 2012. Hardcover, £35.67. ISBN 9780857455062.

STEWART, Charles, Dreaming and Historical Consciousness in Island Greece, xviii + 259 pp., maps, illustrations, bibliography. London and Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2012. Hardback, £48.95. ISBN 9780983532224.

SWANCUTT, Katherine, Fortune and the Cursed: The Sliding Scale of Time in Mongolian Divination, 244 pp., glossary, references, index. Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books, 2012. Hardcover, £43.70. ISBN 9780857454829.

TAYLOR, Mark C., Refiguring the Spiritual: Beuys, Barney, Turrell, Goldsworthy, 244 pp., notes, index, 55 halftones. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012. Hardback, $27.50, £19. ISBN 9780231157667.

TURNER, Edith, Communitas: The Anthropology of Collective Joy, xiv + 272 pp., notes, references, index. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. Hardcover, $95. ISBN 9780230339088.

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Rebekka King, Jonathan Spencer, Liam D. Murphy, Frederick P. Lampe, Sherry Angela Smith, Michael Rowlands, Nanlai Cao, Julie Botticello, Joana Santos, Joël Noret, José Mapril, George St. Clair, Tom Boylston, Marie Brossier, Alexander Horstmann, Detelina Tocheva, Galina Oustinova-Stjepanovic, Michael W. Scott, Uday Chandra, Ana Stela de Almeida Cunha, Steven J. Sutcliffe, Jackie Feldman, Benedikte Moeller Kristensen, and Alyssa Grossman

BIELO, James S., Words Upon the Word: An Ethnography of Evangelical Group Bible Study, x, 187 pp., notes, references, index. New York: New York University Press, 2009. Paperback, $21. ISBN 9780814791226.

BLACKBURN, Anne M., Locations of Buddhism: Colonialism and Modernity in Sri Lanka, xxii, 237 pp., figures, bibliographical references. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010. Cloth, $45. ISBN 9780226055077.

BRUCE, Steve, Paisley: Religion and Politics in Northern Ireland, xvi, 312 pp., tables, appendix. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Paperback, $27.95. ISBN 9780199565719.

CSORDAS, Thomas J., ed., Transnational Transcendence: Essays on Religion and Globalization, 352 pp., introduction, index, references. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009. Paperback, $24.95, £16.95. ISBN 9780520257429.

HERMKENS, Anna-Karina, Willy JANSEN, and Catrien NOTERMANS, eds., Moved by Mary: The Power of Pilgrimage in the Modern World, xiv, 267 pp., illustrations, bibliography, index. Surrey: Ashgate, 2009. Paperback, $29.95, £16.99. ISBN 9780754667896.

HODDER, Ian, ed., Religion in the Emergence of Civilization: Çatalhöyük as a Case Study, 372 pp., figures, tables, index. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Paperback, £23.99. ISBN 978053115019.

HUANG, C. Julia, Charisma and Compassion: Cheng Yen and the Buddhist Tzu Chi Movement, 354 pp., index, references. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009. Cloth, $49.95. ISBN 9780674031333.

HÜWELMEIER, Gertrud, and Kristine KRAUSE, eds., Traveling Spirits: Migrants, Markets and Mobilities, 218 pp., tables, references, index. London: Routledge, 2010. Hardback, £80. ISBN 9780415998789.

LA FONTAINE, Jean, ed., The Devil’s Children. From Spirit Possession to Witchcraft: New Allegations That Affect Children, xv, 220 pp., illustrations, further reading, index. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2009. Hardback, $79.95. ISBN 9780754667339.

MARY, André, Visionnaires et prophètes de l’Afrique contemporaine, 249 pp., bibliography. Paris: Karthala, 2009. Paperback, €24. ISBN 9782811102814.

MASQUELIER, Adeline, Women and Islamic Revival in a West African Town, 376 pp., illustrations, maps, glossary, bibliography, index. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009. Paperback, $27.95. ISBN 9780253215130.

MAYBLIN, Maya, Gender, Catholicism, and Morality in Brazil: Virtuous Husbands, Powerful Wives, 212 pp., acknowledgments, introduction, references. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. Hardcover, $80. ISBN 9780230623125.

McINTOSH, Janet, The Edge of Islam: Power, Personhood, and Ethnoreligious Boundaries on the Kenya Coast, 325 pp., bibliography, index. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009. Paperback, $23.95. ISBN 9780822345091.

OSELLA, Filippo, and Benjamin Soares, eds., Islam, Politics, Anthropology, viii, 243 pp., notes on contributors, index. Oxford: Blackwell, 2010. Paperback, £19.99, €24. ISBN 9781444332957.

PEARSON, Thomas, Missions and Conversions: Creating the Montagnard-Dega Refugee Community, 241 pp., map, notes, bibliography, index. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. Hardcover, $95. ISBN 9780230615366.

PELKMANS, Mathijs, ed., Conversion after Socialism: Disruptions, Modernisms and Technologies of Faith in the Former Soviet Union, 208 pp., notes on contributors, index. New York: Berghahn Books, 2009. Hardback, $85, £50. ISBN 9781845456177.

ROZENBERG, Guillaume, Renunciation and Power: The Quest for Sainthood in Contemporary Burma, xi, 180 pp., foreword, illustrations, notes, bibliography. New Haven, CT: Yale University Southeast Asia Studies, 2010. Paperback, $20. ISBN 9780938692928.

RYLE, Jacqueline, My God, My Land: Interwoven Paths of Christianity and Tradition in Fiji, 340 pp., prologue, bibliography, appendices, index. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2010. Hardback, $124.95, £66. ISBN: 9780754679882.

SCOTT, James C., The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia, 464 pp., preface, notes, glossary, index. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009. Hardcover, $35, £20; Paperback, $25, £16.99. ISBN 9780300169171.

TISHKEN, Joel E., Toyin FALOLA, and Akintunde AKINYEMI, eds., Sàngó in Africa and the African Diaspora, ix, 365 pp., photos, maps, figures. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009. Paperback, $21.74, £14.95. ISBN 9780253220943.

TURNER, Bryan S., ed., The New Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Religion, xvii, 691pp. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. Hardback, £125/€150. ISBN 9781405188524.

HAKAK, Yohai, and Ron Offer, dirs., Gevald, 48 min., color. Israel: Go2Films, 2009; Religion.com, 50 min., color. Israel: Go2Films, 2010, The Midwife and the Rabbi’s Daughter, 50 min., color. Israel: Go2Films, 2009.

MERLI, Laetitia, dir., Shaman Tour, 63 min., color. Paris: CNRS Images, 2009.

TRENCSENYI, Klara, and Vlad NAUMESCU, dirs., Bird’s Way, 56 min., color. Bucharest: Libra Films, 2009.

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Portrait

J. D. Y. Peel

Marloes Janson, Wale Adebanwi, David Pratten, Ruth Marshall, Stephan Palmié, Amanda Villepastour, and J. D. Y. Peel

Edited by Richard Fardon and Ramon Sarró

book, Christianity, Islam, and Oriṣa Religion: Three Traditions in Comparison and Interaction (2016a), brings together the three traditions he had worked on his entire life: Yoruba religion that is marked by the belief in Oriṣa or deities, Yoruba

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Afterword

So What Is the Anthropology of Buddhism About?

David N. Gellner

develop the anthropology of Christianity ( Robbins 2007: 5n1 ). There is an obvious irony that now the compliment is being returned: the evident excitement around the new anthropology of Christianity within anthropology more broadly is the inspiration for