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The Slain God

Timothy Larsen

Published in print August 2014 | ISBN: 9780199657872
Published online November 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780191785573 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657872.001.0001
The Slain God

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Throughout its entire history the discipline of anthropology has been perceived as having a bias against Christian faith. Many of its most prominent theorists have been agnostics who assumed that ethnographic findings and theories had discredited religious beliefs. E. B. Tylor, the founder of the discipline in Britain, lost his faith through studying anthropology. James Frazer saw the material in his highly influential work, The Golden Bough, as demonstrating that Christian thought was based on the erroneous thought patterns of ‘savages’. On the other hand, some of the most eminent anthropologists have been Christians, including E. E. Evans-Pritchard, Mary Douglas, and Victor and Edith Turner. Moreover, they were willing to give public, articulate reasons for how their religious convictions cohered with their professional work. This book asks a number of questions. Why have so many anthropologists believed that the discoveries of their discipline undercut Christian beliefs? And how, then, have some of the most renowned anthropologists been able to maintain and defend intellectually their own Christian faith? Why did figures such as Evans-Pritchard and Victor and Edith Turner convert to Catholicism even after they had done their ethnographic fieldwork? And how did they integrate these two, discreet areas of thought?

Keywords: anthropology; British social anthropology; Christianity; ethnography; theology; faith and doubt; history of social sciences; agnosticism; Christian intellectuals

Book.  272 pages. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion ; Christian Theology

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Table of Contents

Introduction in The Slain God

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Edward Burnett Tylor in The Slain God

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James George Frazer in The Slain God

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E. E. Evans-Pritchard in The Slain God

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Mary Douglas in The Slain God

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Afterword in The Slain God

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