Chapter

“There is a spirit in that image”: Mass-Produced Jesus Pictures and Protestant-Pentecostal Animation in Ghana

Birgit Meyer

in Things

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780823239450
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823239498 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823239450.003.0018

Series: Future of the Religious Past (FUP)

“There is a spirit in that image”: Mass-Produced Jesus Pictures and Protestant-Pentecostal Animation in Ghana

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This chapter addresses Pentecostal ambivalence toward and contestation of Jesus pictures in southern Ghana. These are massively present in public space, entailing a “pentecostalization” of Ghana's public sphere. Misgivings about these pictures can be traced back to the anti-iconic semiotic ideology of nineteenth-century Protestant missionaries, who drew strict boundaries between subject and object, spirit and matter, attacking indigenous religion as “heathendom,” “idolatry,” and “Devil worship.” The pictures are considered harmless “symbols” for the pious, which publicly display their Christian identity, yet they are seen as liable to slip into “icons” that may be hijacked by the Devil-a radical reversal through which what is meant to display visually the outreach of Christianity may actually be subverted.

Keywords: Public sphere; Pentecostalism; Protestant missionaries; Images; Icons; Devil; Ghana

Chapter.  10533 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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