Friday, October 6, 2006

Reform anthropology while it's still legal

Posted By on 10.06.06 at 09:00 PM

Didja ever try to measure the circumference of a circle with a yardstick?  That seems to be the problem with anthropologists studying Christianity.

"Christian ideas of time and belief emphasize radical discontinuities both in people's experience (at conversion) and in world history (at Jesus' birth and at his second coming), while anthropologists have always stressed the continuity of cultural traditions over time," says University of California, San Diego, anthropologist Joel Robbins in this press release.  (The article on which it's based is in Current Anthropology's December issue, published by the University of Chicago Press, abstracts only available without $$ and not up yet anyway.)  "Christian converts tend to represent the process of becoming a Christian as one of radical change.  One does not evolve into a convert."

Actually, one might -- don't conversion narratives often show various preparations and foreshadowings?  But whatever.  Any discipline that can't think about discontinuities (real or perceived) without its head exploding is about as useful as a suntan in a blizzard. 

Tags: , , , ,

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Harold Henderson

  • The Recyclable House

    The Recyclable House

    If Ken Ortiz has his way, no one in Chicago will ever simply "demolish" a building again.
    • Jul 24, 2008
  • Sympathy for the Devil?

    Sympathy for the Devil?

    Progressive scribe Rick Perlstein made his reputation finding the good in conservatives. Then they really started screwing up the country.
    • Jan 24, 2008
  • Dynamic Flash for Democrats

    Dynamic Flash for Democrats

    Wanna raise funds to run for office? Nag Schwarzenegger about health care? Or just make fun of Bush? Call Articulated Man.
    • Jan 10, 2008
  • More »

Agenda Teaser

Galleries & Museums
A Closer Look at the Ordinary Catherine Edelman Gallery
January 06
Performing Arts
Cymbeline The Factory Theater
January 13

Tabbed Event Search

The Bleader Archive

Popular Stories