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Cosmogony Today

Counter-Cosmogony, Perspectivism, and the Return of Anti-biblical Polemic

Michael W. Scott

In this article I review critical thought about cosmogony in the social sciences and explore the current status of this concept. The latter agenda entails three components. First, I argue that, even where cosmogony is not mentioned, contemporary anthropological projects that reject the essentialist ontology they ascribe to Western modernity in favor of analytical versions of relational non-dualism thereby posit a 'counter-cosmogony' of eternal relational becoming. Second, I show how Viveiros de Castro has made Amazonian cosmogonic myth—understood as counter-cosmogony—iconic of the relational non-dualist ontology he terms 'perspectival multinaturalism'. Observing that this counter-cosmogony now stands in opposition to biblical cosmogony, I conclude by considering the consequences for the study of cosmogony when it becomes a register of what it is about—when it becomes, that is, a form of polemical debate about competing models of cosmogony and the practical implications that they are perceived to entail.

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Martyn Bone, Amy Elias, Carolyn M. Jones, Suzanne W. Jones, Michael Kreyling, Barbara Ladd, Sharon Monteith and Scott Romine

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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.