Chapter

Religion, Morality, and Prophetic Traditions: Conversion among the Pitjantjatjara of Central Australia

Robert W. Hefner

in Conversion to Christianity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 1993 | ISBN: 9780520078352
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520912564 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520078352.003.0008
Religion, Morality, and Prophetic Traditions: Conversion among the Pitjantjatjara of Central Australia

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This chapter describes some of the ethnographic and theoretical debates on why the Pitjantjatjara of the western desert of central Australia have not converted to Christianity. It first explains some of the more important features of Pitjantjatjara religion as they bear on the religious conversion process. It then elucidates the political and economic manifestations of Pitjantjatjara religious thought through which the ontological framework of society is sustained. The majority of Pitjantjatjara were not actively committed to Christianity. Deception beyond what myths and plot structures embrace is severely punished by the community. The contrast between Christianity and Pitjantjatjara religion indicates the degree of religious conjunction and disjunction which exists and the extent to which these factors can explain the dynamics of religious conversion among the Pitjantjatjara.

Keywords: Pitjantjatjara; Christianity; central Australia; religious conversion; religious conjunction; religious disjunction

Chapter.  10946 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology of Religion

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