The Limits of Meaning: Case Studies in the Anthropology of Christianity

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Matthew Eric Engelke, Matt Tomlinson
Berghahn Books, 2006 - Anthropology of religion - 239 pages

Too often, anthropological accounts of ritual leave readers with the impression that everything goes smoothly, that rituals are "meaningful events." But what happens when rituals fail, or when they seem "meaningless"? Drawing on research in the anthropology of Christianity from around the globe, the authors in this volume suggest that in order to analyze meaning productively, we need to consider its limits. This collection is a welcome new addition to the anthropology of religion, offering fresh debates on a classic topic and drawing attention to meaning in a way that other volumes have for key terms like "culture" and "fieldwork.



Charismatic Speech and
On the Uses of Ambiguity in Ritual Life
Prayer and Success in World Vision
Institutional Power
The Limits of Meaning in Fijian Methodist Sermons
Converting Meanings and the Meanings of Conversion in Samoan
The Limits of Christian Meaning
On the Semiotics of Sacral Action
On Limits Ruptures Meaning and Meaninglessness
List of Contributors

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About the author (2006)

Matthew Engelke is Professor of Religion and Director of the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life at Columbia University. He has conducted research in Zimbabwe and published numerous articles in leading journals, focusing on Christian ritual, conversion, spirit possession, and textual authority. He is coeditor with Marshall Sahlins of Prickly Paradigm Press.

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