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An Ethics of Response

Protestant Christians’ Relation with God and Elsewheres

Ingie Hovland

relation, I will focus here on the term that to me is most relevant to the anthropology of Christianity, namely, ‘response’. 3 ‘Response’ has not been a prominent category in anthropological studies that address Christians’ engagement with God. Instead, a

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Christianity and the City

Simmel, Space, and Urban Subjectivities

Anna Strhan

This article examines the growing scholarly interest in urban religion, situating the topic in relation to the contemporary analytical significance of cities as sites where processes of social change, such as globalization, transnationalism, and the influence of new media technologies, materialize in interrelated ways. I argue that Georg Simmel's writing on cities offers resources to draw out further the significance of “the urban” in this emerging field. I bring together Simmel's urban analysis with his approach to religion, focusing on Christianities and individuals' relations with sacred figures, and suggest this perspective opens up how forms of religious practice respond to experiences of cultural fragmentation in complex urban environments. Drawing on his analysis of individuals' engagement with the coherence of God, I explore conservative evangelicals' systems of religious intersubjectivity to show how attention to the social effects of relations with sacred figures can deepen understanding of the formation of urban religious subjectivities.

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Rebekka King

“I didn’t know that we were the repugnant other,” my student Tracy exclaimed as she entered the classroom and tossed her books on the table. “I didn’t know that anthropologists were interested in studying us at all!” “Yes, I imagine it comes as a surprise,” I responded as I finished moving the classroom desks into a semi-circle that was intended to facilitate the creation of spaces marked by open dialogue and diversity—core pedagogical concerns of the institution at which I was teaching. It was the second day of class, and Tracy’s comments were in response to Joel Robbins’s (2003) article “What Is a Christian? Notes toward an Anthropology of Christianity.” His discussion of Susan Harding’s infamous ‘repugnant cultural other’, which Robbins describes as an “anomalous mixture of the similar and the different” (ibid.: 193), had hit a nerve. Tracy’s question about anthropological interests in the Christian subject was an expected one, given that I was leading a special topics seminar on the Anthropology of Christianity to master of divinity students at the Candler School of Theology, a United Methodist seminary affiliated with Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Sacred Welcomes

How Religious Reasons, Structures, and Interactions Shape Refugee Advocacy and Settlement

Benjamin Boudou, Hans Leaman, and Maximilian Miguel Scholz

Through five interdisciplinary case studies from different contexts in Africa, Europe, and North America, and with a particular focus on Christianity and Judaism, this special section of Migration and Society explores how religious institutions

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The 'Orthodoxy' of Orthodoxy

On Moral Imperfection, Correctness, and Deferral in Religious Worlds

Andreas Bandak and Tom Boylston

This article uses ethnographic studies of Orthodox Christianities as a way to investigate the concept of 'orthodoxy' as it applies to religious worlds. Orthodoxy, we argue, is to be found neither in opposition to popular religion nor solely in institutional churches, but in a set of encompassing relations among clergy and lay people that amounts to a religious world and a shared tradition. These relations are characterized by correctness and deferral—formal modes of relating to authority that are open-ended and non-definitive and so create room for certain kinds of pluralism, heterodoxy, and dissent within an overarching structure of faith and obedience. Attention to the aesthetics of orthodox practice shows how these relations are conditioned in multi-sensory, often non-linguistic ways. Consideration of the national and territorial aspects of Orthodoxy shows how these religious worlds of faith and deferral are also political worlds.

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The Case for Religious Transmission

Time and Transmission in the Anthropology of Christianity

Vlad Naumescu

Acknowledging the growing interest in issues of religious transmission, this article reviews two promising yet contradictory approaches to religion that could be described as historicist and universalist. It offers an alternative view premised on their convergence in a pragmatic approach that can link the material, contextual, and institutional dimensions of transmission with corresponding cognitive, perceptive, and emotional processes. This perspective recognizes the historicity of religious transmission and its cognitive underpinnings while attending to the materiality of its semiotic forms. The article focuses on the relationship between time and transmission in recent ethnographies of Christianity that show how Christian temporalities influence perceptions of social continuity or rupture and individuals' becoming in history. Within this frame, it examines the case of Old Believers, an apocalyptic movement that emerged out of a schism in seventeenth-century Russian Orthodoxy, to indicate how a pragmatic approach works in practice.

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“A Refugee Pastor in a Refugee Church”

Refugee-Refugee Hosting in a Faith-Based Context

Karen Lauterbach

charismatic Christianity, which articulate a tension between egalitarianism and charismatic authority ( Haynes and Hickel 2016 ). This is similarly relevant when discussing the host's possessions and their (re-)interpretation as gifts from God that could be re

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Intuiting Gods

Creed and Cognition in the Fourth Century

Marilyn Dunn

Combining history, theology, and the cognitive study of religion, this article offers a new interpretation of the origins and purpose of the fourth-century Trinitarian theology known as Homoianism, suggesting that it aimed to create an “entry-level“ Christianity as a first step in gradually easing polytheists into Christianity. It highlights the polemical nature of Homoianism's characterization as “Arianism,“ and examines the beliefs of Homoianism's proponents, including those of Ulfila, the “apostle of the Goths.“ This article suggests that the Homoian view of the Trinity attempted to map non-Christian intuitions of divinity onto the Christian doctrine of God. It points to Homoianism's Western origins on the Roman Empire's strategically important Danubian frontier, arguing that a Homoian creed should be seen not only in the wider context of the “Arian Controversy,“ but also as part of attempts to ensure the peaceful Romanization of the Goths.

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Eschatology, Ethics, and Ēthnos

Ressentiment and Christian Nationalism in the Anthropology of Christianity

Jon Bialecki

locate them, and—as developments in the anthropology of Christianity suggest—there are also many paths to get there. But one path starts at Virginia Beach, Virginia. While there are many fine lodging establishments in this city, if you are going to be

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After the Exodus

Catholics and the Formation of Postcolonial Identity in Algeria

Darcie Fontaine

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.