By the time this issue of Studies in World Christianity goes to press, in March 2021, it will have been a year since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. At the time of that declaration, the Director General of WHO stated that there were 118,000 cases reported globally in 114 countries, with more than 90 per cent of the cases in China, South Korea, Italy and Iran. Even at that early stage, the danger of COVID-19 seemed remote to those living in other parts of the world. Yet soon after, regional and national governments began to close borders and implement different lockdown procedures. Certain people would be identified as ‘key workers’ as their jobs were seen as essential support for society. However, these individuals would be more readily exposed to the virus, which revealed inequalities across gendered, racial and socio-economic groupings. Furthermore, frustrations around the public health crisis resulted in forms of racial conflict. Many Western countries would see increasing reports of anti-Asian racism, as those of East Asian extract were scapegoated as causing the so-called ‘China virus’. Following the death of George Floyd in May 2020, major cities throughout the United States and other parts of the world would burst out in protest against police brutality towards blacks. It appears as though humanity has become more and more ‘socially distant’.
Manoela Carpenedo is associate lecturer in religious studies at the University of Kent and an affiliated researcher at the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge. The following is a summary of some of her doctoral research at Cambridge, which she presented at the Centre for the Study of World Christianity’s weekly research seminar. We present it here as an example of ethnographic research in our ongoing discussion of methods in world Christianity begun with Jason Bruner’s post on 30 January 2018.
Manoela Carpenedo discusses her research on Judaising Evangelicals in Brazil at the CSWC’s research seminar on 23 January 2018.
Ritual borrowing and appropriation of Jewish religious tenets by Christians is not something new. On the contrary, it constitutes the very basis of Christian tradition itself. Yet, the current appropriation of Jewish narratives, rituals and even political anxieties by Christians is gaining more and more relevance in the religious and socio-political landscape. Continue reading →
Biblical and Non-Biblical Sources of Popular Religiosity in World Christianity
Christianity, as our first contributor to this issue of Studies in World Christianity reminds us, is supremely a religion of the Book. The narratives, symbols and doctrinal content of the biblical writings supply the constituent texture of the religion. Nevertheless, as the same contributor, Ole Jakob Løland, points out, for much of Christian history the great majority of Christian believers did not have direct access to the text of the bible: its teaching was mediated and refracted through their participation in, or observation of, a non-vernacular liturgy, and through religious art, music, drama and the communal observance of pilgrimages and festivals in honour of the saints. Continue reading →