Contesting the Sacred

Contesting the Sacred : The Anthropology of Christian Pilgrimage

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Whether a pilgrimage crystallizes around a place, a visionary individual, or a text, it brings widely diverse individuals and their beliefs, doctrines, and expectations into contact with each other. One person's holy site is another person's profit center - and this mingling of the sacred and the profane is what makes pilgrimages and their destinations complex sites of exchange and conflict. Focusing on Christian pilgrimage to locales as far flung as Lourdes, Italy, Jerusalem, Sri Lanka, and Peru, this important collection assesses the qualities and power of pilgrimage shrines as sites for accommodating various, often competing, meanings and practices, both among pilgrims and between shrine custodians and devotees.Contributors discuss the highly organized shrine at Lourdes and also the shrine at San Giovanni Rotondo in Sangiovannesi, Italy, where conflicting interests among townspeople and pilgrims have crystallized around the life and the remains, respectively, of a holy man Padre Pio.
Another contributor looks at the competing images of Jerusalem among pilgrims of various Christian faiths - Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Christian Zionist - who see the holy land as, respectively, the repository of treasured icons, the itinerary of Christ's recorded life, and a sacred site in itself.Others discuss the unique attributes of shrines outside the Christian heartland: in Sri Lanka, where Christianity as a minority religion is enclaved within the dominant Sinhalese Buddhist culture; and in Peru, where Catholic observances are interwoven with the practices of local indigenous cults. There is a major advance in understanding the complexity of pilgrimage, Contesting the Sacred that provides valuable insight into the process of exchange between human beings and the divine that gives pilgrimage its central rationale. John Eade's new introduction places the book's theoretical frame in the context of recent thinking and writing on pilgrimage and considers the impact of globalization and tourism on pilgrimage cults and sites.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 200 pages
  • 150 x 222 x 14mm | 249.47g
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0252069404
  • 9780252069406
  • 2,140,981

Review quote

REVIEWS "The volume as a whole is a veritable cornucopia of quotable quotes and useful methodological concepts, for which scholars and students of pilgrimage will remain grateful for many years to come." --Journeys, The International Journal of Travel and Travel Writing ADVANCE PRAISE "A classic in the anthropological study of pilgrimage." -- Jill Dubisch, author of In a Different Place "This stimulating volume ... offers an innovative anthropological framework for this central religious institution... A short review cannot do justice to the ethnographic richness of this volume... [It] stands as an important contribution to the growing body of anthropological literature on Christianity and Catholicism." -- Ellen Badone, Man
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9 ratings
3.33 out of 5 stars
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3 33% (3)
2 22% (2)
1 0% (0)
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