The Social Life of Scriptures: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Biblicism
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What do Christians do with the Bible? How do they—individually and collectively—
interact with the sacred texts? Why does thisengagement shift so drastically among and between social, historical, religious, and institutional contexts? Such questions are addressed in a most enlightening, engaging, and original way in The Social Life of Scriptures.
Contributors offer a collection of closely analyzed and carefully conducted ethnographic and historical case studies, covering a range of geographic, theological, and cultural territory, including: American evangelicals and charismatics; Jamaican Rastafarians; evangelical and Catholic Mayans; Northern Irish charismatics; Nigerian Anglicans; and Chinese evangelicals in the United States.
The Social Life of Scriptures is the first book to present an eclectic, cross-cultural, and comparative investigation of Bible use. Moreover, it models an important movement to outline a framework for how scriptures are implicated in organizing social structures and meanings, with specific foci on gender, ethnicity, agency, and power.
"Bielo's collection is a must for all serious students of Christianity. It puts forth such a simple idea, we have to wonder why it's taken so long for anthropologists to get it: we cannot understand Christianity without understanding 'the social life of Scriptures.' In their detailed analyses, the contributors here make a convincing case."—Matthew Engelke, London School of Economics
"The essays in this collection explore the multiple contexts in which the Bible is actually read. They make a major contribution to the anthropology of Christianity and to the study of reading and interpretive practices."—Vincent Crapanzano, author of Serving the Word: Literalism in America from the Pulpit to the Bench