This article explores the cultural significance of faith among US evangelical Protestants. It is argued that evangelical conceptions of faith provide an idiom for expressing religiosity that transcends conventional notions of belief, which alone do not account for the ideals of evangelical subjectivity. Through an analysis of group rituals in a Tennessee megachurch, along with a discussion of the historical roots of evangelical theology and the growing influence of charismatic Christianity, the article highlights an emphasis on radical intersubjectivity that calls upon the faithful to submit to the totalizing authority of divine agency. It is further argued that evangelical conceptions of faith feature a strand of anti-humanism that resonates with the increasingly authoritarian politics of the post-welfare era, which are explored in relation to the growing phenomenon of altruistic faith-based activism.
Evangelical Protestant Conceptions of Faith and the Resonance of Anti-humanism
Hans Hermann Henrix
The 40-year long tradition of the International Jewish-Christian Bible Week – begun in the Hedwig-Dransfeld-Haus in Bendorf and since 2004 continued at Haus Ohrbeck – is a valid and real reason to express congratulations and thanksgiving. Thanks are due above all to the people who initiated the tradition, and representing them I want to name Anneliese Debray (1911–1985), who will always be remembered, and Rabbi Jonathan Magonet. They helped a vision to come to life and they showed a perseverance that has persisted until today. It is the vision that says: yes, there is a Bible that Jews and Christians have in common, Israel’s Bible. At the same time, this vision does not forget that along with closeness, the relationship of Judaism and Christianity to this shared Bible also includes considerable difference. For some, this difference is so great that they question whether Jews and Christians do have Israel’s Bible in common.
What Do We Learn and What Do We Teach about Ourselves and about Others?
I do not think that I had the best introduction to interfaith dialogue. I studied Christianity at school and at university. I was overprotected at the first and overexposed at the second. At school, our wonderful Catholic teacher avoided the so called ‘difficult’ chapters in the Gospels so as to protect her five students (three of whom were Jewish) – or maybe herself. On the other hand, my university lecturers taught the ‘Old Testament’ with assertions such as ‘Judaism is morally invalid’. These experiences strengthened in me a destructive understanding of the religious world as consisting of only Christians (the Faculty was then a Protestant-only zone) and Jews (as Christ-killers). You will not be surprised to know that after receiving my Divinity degree, I did not go anywhere near Christian studies for another thirteen years!
An Important Book in Jewish-Christian Dialogue
We can characterize the different degrees of importance given to the Book of Leviticus in Judaism and Christianity with the words of G.J. Wenham: ‘Leviticus used to be the first book that Jewish children studied in the synagogue. In the modern Church it tends to be the last part of the Bible anyone looks at seriously.’2 In the Encyclopaedia Judaica,3 J. Milgrom also highlights the great significance of the Book of Leviticus as the first object of instruction in school, which Midrash LevR VII.3 explains as follows: ‘Rabbi Assi: Why do the small children begin (to learn) with Leviticus (Torah Kohanim) and not with Genesis? Because the small children are pure and the sacrifices are pure; so the pure come and occupy themselves with the pure.’
Jewish Museums in Britain
All religions are practised within a larger social context, but different religions may relate to that context in different ways, posing particular issues for the way that religion is communicated through museum display. Christianity, for example, when displayed within a Christian country, will tend to focus upon the specific arena of religiosity. The Jewish minority within the same country is more likely to employ an integrated approach that sets religion within the context of history and social life. This is partly because Judaism is not only a set of beliefs and practices – it is also a way of life. The representation of Judaism therefore presents particular challenges and opportunities within a museum context. This article will provide a case study, focusing on Jewish museums within Britain.
Catholics and the Formation of Postcolonial Identity in Algeria
As French officials negotiated the terms of Algerian independence with the Provisional Government of the Republic of Algeria (GPRA) in 1961–62, among the issues discussed was the future of the Christian population. After colonial occupation and armed struggle, in which the defense of “Christian civilization” in Algeria had been a major ideological justification for French violence against the Algerian population, the future of Christianity in postcolonial Algeria was not self-evident. This article examines how European Catholics negotiated their position in post-independence Algeria. I demonstrate that Catholic attempts to “become Algerian” and decolonize the Church were intertwined with global religious politics, economic necessities, and colonial history. Yet their continued presence in Algeria demonstrates that the standard narratives of postcolonial rupture between the European and Algerian populations do not hold up, for, in the early years of post-independence Algeria, European Catholics played an active role in the construction of the postcolonial nation.
A Dialogue between Brazilian Social Sciences and the Anthropology of Christianity
Cecília L. Mariz and Roberta B.C. Campos
This article aims to show how the hegemonic interpretation of Pentecos- talism in Brazil has difficulty recognizing changes caused by these churches to 'local' cultures. We argue that this tendency can be explained by a widespread adherence to structuralist theories of society combined with an unwillingness to accept the reimag- ining of a national culture historically built up by Brazilian social science. We suggest that the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God has been the Pentecostal church most studied by Brazilian researchers because it provides a powerful means to indicate the strength of 'Brazilian culture'. Through our analysis of more recent studies, we point out the salience of these debates to wider questions relating to the emergent anthropology of Christianity, concluding that since neither discontinuities nor continuities can be denied in the field, the focus on one or the other dimension should be seen as a methodological choice rather than an orientation specifically arising from empirical observation.
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.
An Overdue Tribute
Dale K. Van Kley
Robert R. Palmer wrote his first book, Catholics and Unbelievers in Eighteenth Century France, under the influence of his mentor at Cornell University, Carl L. Becker. Whereas Becker had claimed that the "enlightened" French philosophes were more indebted to Christianity than they recognized, Palmer argued that French Catholic apologists in the eighteenth century were also more "enlightened" than they knew. The two theses are complementary sides of Becker's wider point that beneath an intellectual debate in the public sphere there lay certain shared assumptions that make discussion possible, or what Alfred Whitehead had called a common "climate of opinion." Devoted to the subsequent historiography of Palmer's subject, this article argues that although research has since vindicated aspects of Palmer's portrait of French "enlightened" Jesuits, it has also altered Palmer's picture of French Jansenists as being globally unenlightened. This development in historiography enlarges Palmer's own notion of a "climate of opinion," while challenging the coherence of recent notions of a single "Catholic Enlightenment."
New and Renewed Perspectives
The general picture drawn by Michael Marrus and Robert Paxton nearly forty years ago of the Vichy government’s state antisemitism has stood the test of time and has been reinforced. If an element of revisionism is called for, it is with respect to the role played by some figures within the Catholic hierarchy, especially Pierre-Marie Gerlier, the cardinal archbishop of Lyon. A still more detailed knowledge of Jewish rescue has been built up, which confirms the special position of Le Chambon and the Plateau Vivarais. And yet recent work also shows more clearly that what happened there was integrally part of a much wider story of rescue. The debate between Jacques Semelin, on the one hand, and Marrus and Paxton, on the other, over whether the fate of the Jews in France in 1940–1944 was shaped more by indifference than by consciously held antisemitism raises questions relating to both the history of Christianity and twentieth-century modernity.