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Religious Statues and Personhood: Testing the Role of Materiality

Religion


by
Amy Whitehead

Book Details

Format: EPUB

Page count: 224 pages

File size: 631 KB

Protection: DRM

Language: English

Objects such as statues and icons have long been problematic in the study of religion, especially in European Christianities. Through examining two groups, the contemporary Pagan Glastonbury Goddess religion in the Southwest of England and a cult of the Virgin Mary in Andalusia, Spain, Amy Whitehead asserts that objects can be more than representational or symbolic. In the context of increasing academic interest in materiality in religions and cultures, she shows how statues, or ‘things’, are not always interacted with as if they are inert material against which we typically define ourselves as ‘modern’ humans.

Bringing two distinct cultures and religions into tension, animism and ‘the fetish’ are used as ways in which to think about how humans interact with religious statues in Western Europe and beyond. Both theoretical and descriptive, the book illustrates how religions and cultural practices can be re-examined as performances that necessarily involve not only human persons, but also objects.

Objects such as statues and icons have long been problematic in the study of religion, especially in European Christianities. Through examining two groups, the contemporary Pagan Glastonbury Goddess religion in the Southwest of England and a cult of the Virgin Mary in Andalusia, Spain, Amy Whitehead asserts that objects can be more than representational or symbolic. In the context of increasing academic interest in materiality in religions and cultures, she shows… (more)

Objects such as statues and icons have long been problematic in the study of religion, especially in European Christianities. Through examining two groups, the contemporary Pagan Glastonbury Goddess religion in the Southwest of England and a cult of the Virgin Mary in Andalusia, Spain, Amy Whitehead asserts that objects can be more than representational or symbolic. In the context of increasing academic interest in materiality in religions and cultures, she shows how statues, or ‘things’, are not always interacted with as if they are inert material against which we typically define ourselves as ‘modern’ humans.

Bringing two distinct cultures and religions into tension, animism and ‘the fetish’ are used as ways in which to think about how humans interact with religious statues in Western Europe and beyond. Both theoretical and descriptive, the book illustrates how religions and cultural practices can be re-examined as performances that necessarily involve not only human persons, but also objects.

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