A Problem of Presence
Beyond Scripture in an African Church
By (author) Matthew Engelke
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Problem of Presence by Matthew Engelke
Book DescriptionThe Friday Masowe apostolics of Zimbabwe refer to themselves as 'the Christians who don't read the Bible.' They claim they do not need the Bible because they receive the Word of God 'live and direct' from the Holy Spirit. In this insightful and sensitive historical ethnography, Matthew Engelke documents how this rejection of scripture speaks to longstanding concerns within Christianity over mediation and authority. The Bible, of course, has been a key medium through which Christians have recognized God's presence. But the apostolics perceive scripture as an unnecessary, even dangerous, mediator. For them, the materiality of the Bible marks a distance from the divine and prohibits the realization of a live and direct faith. Situating the Masowe case within a broad comparative framework, Engelke shows how their rejection of textual authority poses a problem of presence - which is to say, how the religious subject defines, and claims to construct, a relationship with the spiritual world through the semiotic potentials of language, actions, and objects. Written in a lively and accessible style, "A Problem of Presence" makes important contributions to the anthropology of Christianity, the history of religions in Africa, semiotics, and material culture studies.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780520249042
(229mm x 152mm x 22mm)
Imprint: University of California Press
Publisher: University of California Press
Publish Date: 21-May-2007
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Matthew Engelke
God's Agents, Paperback (November 2013)
The British and Foreign Bible Society is one of the most illustrious Christian charities in the United Kingdom. This title offers a study of how religion goes public in today's world. It traces how a small group of socially committed Christians tackle the challenge of publicity within (what they understand to be) a largely secular culture.
Objects of Evidence, Paperback (March 2009)» View all books by Matthew Engelke
The contributors to this volume share the conviction that anthropology can no longer ignore the importance of evidence, either for how anthropologists carry out their work (methodology) or present and justify their findings (epistemology).
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Author Biography - Matthew Engelke
Matthew Engelke is a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at London School of Economics and Political Science.
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