Becoming Sinners: Christianity and Moral Torment in a Papua by Joel Robbins

By Joel Robbins

In an international of rapid and sweeping cultural alterations, few have visible alterations as speedy and dramatic as these skilled via the Urapmin of Papua New Guinea within the final 4 many years. A distant humans by no means without delay "missionized," the Urapmin started within the Nineteen Sixties to ship younger males to review with Baptist missionaries dwelling between neighboring groups. by way of the past due Seventies, the Urapmin had gone through a charismatic revival, leaving behind their conventional faith for a Christianity intensely fascinated with human sinfulness and pushed via a relentless experience of millennial expectation. Exploring the Christian tradition of the Urapmin, Joel Robbins indicates how its preoccupations supply keys to knowing the character of cultural swap extra mostly. In so doing, he deals one of many richest on hand anthropological bills of Christianity as a lived faith. Theoretically formidable and engagingly written, his ebook opens a different viewpoint on a Melanesian society, non secular event, and the very nature of fast cultural change.

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Additional resources for Becoming Sinners: Christianity and Moral Torment in a Papua New Guinea Society (Ethnographic Studies in Subjectivity, 4)

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I mention these issues at the outset, though, lest readers imagine, as people these days sometimes do, that the small size and remote location of communities such as Urapmin somehow iconically renders the study of their cultures and histories of necessity a narrow undertaking and one that is off the beaten track of contemporary anthropological concern. 6 Introduction on cultural change I take culture to be a set of values and categories (or “symbols” or “representations”) and the relations between values and values, categories and categories, and values and categories.

The Hawaiian abrogation of taboo was not simply a matter of a change in their understandings of taboo or of any other single category. Instead, it was the outcome of changes in the relations that linked the categories “men,” “women,” “chiefs,” and “commoners” to one another. These cascading changes were brought about by the way Hawaiians employed all of these categories, along with that of taboo, in relating to Cook and his crew. In such cases people manage, as they also do when they use an old category to encompass a new element, to reproduce some aspects of their traditional culture.

That was the year that a Christian revival began to sweep through many of the groups in their region. Though the revival had its most proximate origin in 1 2 Introduction movements then flourishing in the Solomon Islands, it brought with it a recognizably Western form of Christianity focused on the revivalist and charismatic themes of the need for a conviction of human sinfulness to accompany conversion, the role of the Holy Spirit in helping converts to address their sinful nature, and the potential imminence of the Second Coming.

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