By Birgit Meyer, Dick Houtman

Author note: Birgit Meyer (Editor), Dick Houtman (Editor)
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That relation has lengthy been conceived in adversarial phrases, privileging spirit above subject, trust above ritual and items, that means above shape, and "inward" contemplation above "outward" motion. in spite of everything, wasn't the competition among spirituality and materiality the defining attribute of faith, understood as geared to a transcendental past that was once immaterial via definition? Grounded within the upward thrust of faith as a contemporary type, with Protestantism as its major exponent, this conceptualization devalues spiritual issues as missing critical empirical, not to mention theoretical, curiosity. The resurgence of public faith in our time has uncovered the restrictions of this attitude.

Taking materiality heavily, this quantity makes use of as a place to begin the perception that faith inevitably calls for a few type of incarnation, during which the past to which it refers turns into available. Conjoining instead of keeping apart spirit and subject, incarnation (whether understood as "the international changing into flesh" or in a broader feel) locations at middle degree the query of the way the world of the transcendental, non secular, or invisible is rendered tangible within the world.

How do issues topic in non secular discourse and perform? How are we to account for the price or devaluation, the appraisal or contestation, of items inside of specific non secular views? How are we to rematerialize our scholarly methods to faith? those are the most important questions addressed by way of this multidisciplinary quantity. targeting other forms of items that subject for faith, together with sacred artifacts, photographs, physically fluids, websites, and digital media, it bargains a wide-ranging set of multidisciplinary stories that mix certain research and demanding mirrored image.

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Extra resources for Things: Religion and the Question of Materiality (Future of the Religious Past)

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72 Calling attention to ‘‘things’’ (rather than simply to ‘‘objects’’) in the field of religion, this volume shows, opens up a broad field of inquiry. Instead of taking at face value how certain objects are employed (or despised) in religious practices, taking ‘‘things’’ as a starting point requires studying the processes through which the spiritual and the material—animation at work—are conjoined in religious forms. Counter to the categories of 16 ................. 18254$ $CH1 06-20-12 07:39:08 PS PAGE 16 INTRODUCTION fetishes, idols, and totems mentioned by Brown, which refer to an illicit (from the perspective of outsiders) understanding and use of things, there exist more positive valuations of ‘‘things,’’ imbuing them with a spiritual presence and power.

Counter to the categories of 16 ................. 18254$ $CH1 06-20-12 07:39:08 PS PAGE 16 INTRODUCTION fetishes, idols, and totems mentioned by Brown, which refer to an illicit (from the perspective of outsiders) understanding and use of things, there exist more positive valuations of ‘‘things,’’ imbuing them with a spiritual presence and power. This can be seen in the extra calvinisticum, which retains some degree of the materiality of the Eucharist (see Ernst van den Hemel’s essay), portraits of the Thai King Chulalongkorn, which render him spiritually present (see Irene Stengs’s essay), the icon of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (see David Morgan’s essay), the miniatures and stones that ‘‘serve as tangible mediators’’ in a spiritual economy that links Bolivian pilgrims and Mary (see the essay by Sanne Derks, Willy Jansen, and Catrien Notermans), the sacralization of bodily fluids as blood and milk (see the essays by Willy Jansen and Grietje Presen and by Miranda Klaver), the ‘‘spilling of one’s own blood’’ as an act of protest (see Elizabeth Castelli’s essay), a Catholic theology of pneuma and the living icon that encompasses new digital technologies (see Maria Jose´ A.

Meyer addresses Pentecostal ambivalence toward and contestation of Jesus pictures in southern Ghana. These are massively present in public space, entailing a ‘‘pentecostalization’’ of Ghana’s public sphere. ’’ The pictures are considered harmless ‘‘symbols’’ for the pious, which publicly display their Christian identity, yet they are seen as liable to slip into ‘‘icons’’ that may be hijacked by the Devil—a radical reversal through which what is meant to display visually the outreach of Christianity may actually be subverted.

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