Chapter

Old and New in Christian Reformation

Richard Werbner

in Holy Hustlers, Schism, and Prophecy

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780520268531
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520949461 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520268531.003.0010
Old and New in Christian Reformation

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It is important to recognize that the syncretism against which Bengt Sundkler inveighs, if temporarily, comes at a certain phase in Christianizing. If not the first phase of Christianity, it is, significantly, an early phase. In it what is still being contested is the very emergence of “religion” itself as a sphere distinctively set apart in spiritual purity. If primarily seen by embattled participants as a struggle about specifics, such as the regard for spirits and the dead, for example, it is nonetheless contestation that is more radical, even fundamental, and broad in its implications. This chapter discusses syncretism as it is politicized in relation to antisyncretism. These still resonate importantly in current debate, sometimes put in terms of syncretism, rehearsing at least part of Sundkler's approach is useful for a perspective on Christian reformation and, in particular, religious change through prophecy among Apostolics.

Keywords: syncretism; Bengt Sundkler; Christianity; religion; spirits; antisyncretism; reformation; prophecy; Apostolics

Chapter.  11987 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology of Religion

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