Christian Moderns: Freedom and Fetish in the Mission by Webb Keane

By Webb Keane

Throughout a lot of the postcolonial international, Christianity has frequently turn into inseparable from rules and practices linking the idea that of modernity to that of human emancipation. To discover those hyperlinks, Webb Keane undertakes a wealthy ethnographic examine of the century-long stumble upon, from the colonial Dutch East Indies to post-independence Indonesia, between Calvinist missionaries, their converts, and people who withstand conversion. Keane's research in their struggles over things like prayers, choices, and the price of cash demanding situations universal notions approximately business enterprise. via its exploration of language, materiality, and morality, this booklet illuminates a variety of debates in social and cultural thought. It demonstrates the an important position of Christianity in semiotic ideologies of modernity and sheds new mild at the significance of faith in colonial and postcolonial histories.

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His primary function is to teach. Above all, this means preaching. Stripped of their imagery by waves of iconoclasm (Eire 1986; Mack 197 8; Wandel 1995), the edifices of the Reformed Churches looked like lecture halls, the altar replaced as a focus of attention by the pulpit. In many cases, the churches were decorated only with placards bearing the Ten Commandments and other scriptural passages (Benedict 2002: 497), an apt materialization of the highly textual orientation of the movement. The emphasis on'texts and speaking led to an elaboration and explication of linguistic ideology.

Thus, for instance, the emphasis on formal institutions, sacred sites, and collectivities characteristic of the missions of early Iberian Catholicism in the colonial Americas do not play the same role as do the more recent Protestant practices that are my central concern in this book. E. But full-fledged Christian globalization took form within colonialism. 4 And conversely, colonialism was shaped by Christianity. Missionaries usually aspired to both a more far-reaching and a deeper transformation of colonized peoples than did either administrators or business interests (Beidelman 1982; Comaroff and Comaroff 1991; Huber and Lutkehaus 1999; Cooper and Stoler 1997).

One source of the failure of purification is the inescapable materiality that semiotic form introduces into even the most transcendentalizing projects. With this point, in fact, my argument opens up again to find a place for those evangelical groups that eschew creeds, or faiths that favor communities and priestly authority over solitary introspection. It is not my purpose here to engage in a large-scale examination of history. 990). 996: 6-7). But we may hear echoes of something else in this word, something at ~mce more common and more specific.

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