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Things:Religion and the Question of Materiality

Religion and the Question of Materiality

Dick Houtman

Publication Year: 2012

That relation has long been conceived in antagonistic terms, privileging spirit above matter, belief above ritual and objects, meaning above form, and "inward" contemplation above "outward" action. After all, wasn't the opposition between spirituality and materiality the defining characteristic of religion, understood as geared to a transcendental beyond that was immaterial by definition? Grounded in the rise of religion as a modern category, with Protestantism as its main exponent, this conceptualization devalues religious things as lacking serious empirical, let alone theoretical, interest. The resurgence of public religion in our time has exposed the limitations of this attitude.Taking materiality seriously, this volume uses as a starting point the insight that religion necessarily requires some kind of incarnation, through which the beyond to which it refers becomes accessible. Conjoining rather than separating spirit and matter, incarnation (whether understood as "the world becoming flesh" or in a broader sense) places at center stage the question of how the realm of the transcendental, spiritual, or invisible is rendered tangible in the world.How do things matter in religious discourse and practice? How are we to account for the value or devaluation, the appraisal or contestation, of things within particular religious perspectives? How are we to rematerialize our scholarly approaches to religion? These are the key questions addressed by this multidisciplinary volume. Focusing on different kinds of things that matter for religion, including sacred artifacts, images, bodily fluids, sites, and electronic media, it offers a wide-ranging set of multidisciplinary studies that combine detailed analysis and critical reflection.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 1-6

Contents

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pp. 7-10

Illustrations

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pp. 11-14

Preface

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pp. 15-18

IntroductionMaterial Religion—How Things Matter

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pp. 19-42

PART IAnxieties about Things

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pp. 43-44

The Modern Fear of MatterReflections on the Protestantism of Victorian Science

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pp. 45-57

Dangerous ThingsOne African Genealogy

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pp. 58-79

Things That MatterThe Extra Calvinisticum, the Eucharist, and John Calvin’s Unstable Materiality

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pp. 80-92

PART I IImages and Incarnations

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pp. 93-94

From Stone to FleshThe Case of the Buddha

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pp. 95-107

Rhetoric of the HeartFiguring the Body in Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

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pp. 108-129

IdolatryNietzsche, Blake, and Poussin

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pp. 130-144

‘‘Has this thing appeared again tonight?’’Deus ex Machina and Other Theatrical Interventions of the Supernatural

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pp. 145-154

Portraits That MatterKing Chulalongkorn Objects and the Sacred World of Thai-ness

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pp. 155-168

PART I I ISacred Artifacts

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pp. 169-170

Material Mobility Versus ConcentricCosmology in the SukkahThe House of the Wandering Jew or a Ubiquitous Temple?

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pp. 171-197

The Tasbirwol (Prayer Beads) under AttackHow the Common Practice of Counting One’s BeadsReveals Its Secrets in the Muslim Community of North Cameroon

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pp. 198-215

Miniatures and Stones in the SpiritualEconomy of the Virgin of Urkupina in Bolivia

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pp. 216-230

PART I VBodily Fluids

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pp. 231-232

Fluid MattersGendering Holy Blood and Holy Milk

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pp. 233-249

‘‘When you see blood, it brings truth’’Ritual and Resistance in a Time of War

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pp. 250-267

A Pentecostal Passion ParadigmThe Invisible Framing of Gibson’s Christ in a Dutch Pentecostal Church

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pp. 268-282

PART VPublic Space

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pp. 283-284

The Structural Transformation of the CoffeehouseReligion, Language, and the Public Sphere in the Modernizing Muslim World

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pp. 285-299

The Affective Power of the Face VeilBetween Disgust and Fascination

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pp. 300-313

‘‘There is a spirit in that image’’Mass-Produced Jesus Pictures and Protestant-Pentecostal Animation in Ghana

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pp. 314-338

The FedEx SaintsPatrons of Mobility and Speed in a Neoliberal City

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pp. 339-354

PART V IDigital Technologies

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pp. 355-356

Enchantment, Inc.Online Gaming Between Spiritual Experience and Commodity Fetishism

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pp. 357-373

Fulfilling the Sacred Potential of TechnologyNew Edge Technophilia, Consumerism, and Spirituality in Silicon Valley

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pp. 374-396

In Their Own Image?Catholic, Protestant, and Holistic Spiritual Appropriations of the Internet

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pp. 397-410

Notes

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pp. 411-486

Contributors

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pp. 487-492

Index

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pp. 493-500


E-ISBN-13: 9780823246533
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823239450
Print-ISBN-10: 0823239454

Page Count: 496
Illustrations: 20
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Future of the Religious Past (FUP)