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When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God (Vintage)by Tanya Luhrmann
Synopses & Reviews
How does God become and remain real for modern evangelicals? How are rational, sensible people of faith able to experience the presence of a powerful yet invisible being and sustain that belief in an environment of overwhelming skepticism? T. M. Luhrmann, an anthropologist trained in psychology and the acclaimed author of Of Two Minds, explores the extraordinary process that leads some believers to a place where God is profoundly real and his voice can be heard amid the clutter of everyday thoughts.
While attending services and various small group meetings at her local branch of the Vineyard, an evangelical church with hundreds of congregations across the country, Luhrmann sought to understand how some members were able to communicate with God, not just through one-sided prayers but with discernable feedback. Some saw visions, while others claimed to hear the voice of God himself. For these congregants and many other Christians, God was intensely alive. After holding a series of honest, personal interviews with Vineyard members who claimed to have had isolated or ongoing supernatural experiences with God, Luhrmann hypothesized that the practice of prayer could train a person to hear God’s voice—to use one’s mind differently and focus on God’s voice until it became clear. A subsequent experiment conducted between people who were and weren’t practiced in prayer further illuminated her conclusion. For those who have trained themselves to concentrate on their inner experiences, God is experienced in the brain as an actual social relationship: his voice was identified, and that identification was trusted and regarded as real and interactive.
Astute, deeply intelligent, and sensitive, When God Talks Back is a remarkable approach to the intersection of religion, psychology, and science, and the effect it has on the daily practices of the faithful.
From the Hardcover edition.
The anti-witchand#8212;first published in 2009 under the title Dand#233;sorcelerand#8212;is Jeanne Favret-Saadaand#8217;s third and concluding monograph on witchcraft in the Bocage (West France). This first English edition (translated by anthropologist Matthew Carey) presents a synthesis of ethnographic theory and psychoanalytic revelation, wherein the line between researcher and researched is blurred if not erased. At once classic and state-of-the-art, The anti-witch develops the contours of an anthropology of therapy, while methodologically and epistemologically engaging what it means to be caught in the logic of witchcraft. Through an intimate and provocative sharing of the ethnographic voice with one Mme. Floraand#8212;a and#8220;dewitcherand#8221; and one of Favret-Saadaand#8217;s interlocutors for two yearsand#8212;The anti-witch delivers a critical challenge to common anthropologial chestnuts like and#8216;affectand#8217; and participant observation. Of interest to practioners of psychoanalysis and anthropologists who work on themes of magic and witchcraft, trauma and therapy, religion and belief, this new editionand#8212;with a foreword by anthropologist Veena Dasand#8212;is also certain to bring a whole new generation of scholars into conversation with the work of one of Franceand#8217;s most brilliant anthropologists.
1st Edition Publication Data (French Original): 2009. Dand#233;sorceler. Paris: and#201;ditions de Land#8217;Olivier.
The work of Ernesto de Martino is relatively unknown outside of Italian intellectual circles, but with a growing interest in his ethnographic and theoretical work, he is now widely considered to be one of the great anthropologists and historians of religion of the early twentieth century. Magic: A theory from the south (first published in Italian as Sud e Magia) is de Martinoand#8217;s stunning ethnography of ceremonial magic in southern Italy (Luciana/Basilicata), an intimate and#8220;otherand#8221; to Western European civilization. Rigorous and detailed analyses of evil eye, possession, witchcraft, religious belief, and#8220;binding,and#8221; exorcism, and various magical practices lead de Martino to question the historical, ideological, ritual, psychological, and pragmatic grounds of the arts of enchantment. The question here is not whether magic is irrational or rational, but why it came to be perceived as a problem of knowledge in the first place.
De Martinoand#8217;s response is contextualized within his wider, pathbreaking theorization of ritual, as well as his politically sensitive reading of the southand#8217;s subaltern culture in its historical encounter with Western science. In addition to the ethnography, De Martinoand#8217;s historical anthropology traces the development of and#8220;jettaturaand#8221; in Enlightenment Naples as a paradigm of the complex dynamics between hegemonic and subaltern cultures. Far ahead of its time, this first English edition (annotated and translated by Dorothy Louise Zinn) stands to be as relevant as ever as anthropologists (among others) continue to theorize modernityand#8217;s continued tryst with magical thinking.
1st Edition Publication Data:  2001. Sud e magia. Milano: Feltrinelli Editore.
Though his work was little known outside Italian intellectual circles for most of the twentieth century, anthropologist and historian of religions Ernesto de Martino is now recognized as one of the most original thinkers in the field. This book is testament to de Martinoandrsquo;s innovation and engagement with Hegelian historicism and phenomenologyandmdash;a work of ethnographic theory way ahead of its time.
This new translation of Sud e Magia, his 1959 study of ceremonial magic and witchcraft in southern Italy, shows how De Martino is not interested in the question of whether magic is rational or irrational but rather in why it came to be perceived as a problem of knowledge in the first place. Setting his exploration within his wider, pathbreaking theorization of ritual, as well as in the context of his politically sensitive analysis of the global southandrsquo;s historical encounters with Western science, he presents the development of magic and ritual in Enlightenment Naples as a paradigmatic example of the complex dynamics between dominant and subaltern cultures. Far ahead of its time, Magic is still relevant as anthropologists continue to wrestle with modernityandrsquo;s relationship with magical thinking.
Jeanne Favret-Saada is arguably one of Franceandrsquo;s most brilliant anthropologists, and The Anti-Witch is nothing less than a masterpiece. A synthesis of ethnographic theory and psychoanalytic revelation, where the line between researcher and subject is blurredandmdash;if not erasedandmdash;The Anti-Witch develops the contours of an anthropology of therapy, while deeply engaging with what it means to be caught in the logic of witchcraft. Through an intimate and provocative sharing of the ethnographic voice with Madame Flora, a andldquo;dewitcher,andrdquo; Favret-Saada delivers a critical challenge to some of anthropologyandrsquo;s fundamental concepts.
Sure to be of interest to practitioners of psychoanalysis as well as to anthropologists, The Anti-Witch will bring a new generation of scholars into conversation with the work of a truly innovative thinker.
About the Author
Tanya Luhrmann is a psychological anthropologist and a professor in the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University. She received her education from Harvard and Cambridge universities, and was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003. In 2007, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.
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