Dangerous Things: One African Genealogy

Matthew Engelke

in Things

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780823239450
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823239498 | DOI:

Series: Future of the Religious Past (FUP)

Dangerous Things: One African Genealogy

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Addressing the problematic Protestant stance with regard to materiality, and informed by fieldwork conducted in Zimbabwe, this chapter discusses the logic of materiality among the Friday apostolics, who are deeply committed to a semiotic ideology of immateriality, understanding even the Bible as obstructing a direct connection to God. The “problem of presence” entailed by this semiotic ideology is solved by a semiotic coding of the “material” stuff of “sticky honey” as basically “immaterial.” This proves to be an awkward, unstable, and vulnerable code, however, which underscores that “materiality” and “immateriality” are not simply given but actively produced and constructed.

Keywords: Protestantism; Materiality and immateriality; Problem of presence; Semiotic ideology; Friday apostolics; Zimbabwe

Chapter.  11314 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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