The Slain God
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Oxford University Press / 2016 / Paperback

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The Slain God

Oxford University Press / 2016 / Paperback

In Stock
Stock No: WW757429

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Product Description

A groundbreaking study on the relationship between anthropology and Christianity. In this first book-length treatment of the subject, Larsen examines the belief and non-belief of six British scholars---including Edward Taylor, James Frazer, and Victor and Edith Turner---to determine how their research led some to support social science's convergence with faith and others to discredit it. 272 pages, softcover from Oxford University.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 272
Vendor: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2016
ISBN: 0198757425
ISBN-13: 9780198757429

Publisher's Description

Named Book of the Year by Books and Culture

Throughout its entire history, the discipline of anthropology has been perceived as undermining, or even discrediting, 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 that he presented 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, Victor Turner, and Edith Turner. Moreover, they openly presented articulate reasons for how their religious convictions cohered with their professional work.

Despite being a major site of friction between faith and modern thought, the relationship between anthropology and Christianity has never before been the subject of a book-length study. In this groundbreaking work, Timothy Larsen examines the point where doubt and faith collide with anthropological theory and evidence.

Author Bio

Timothy Larsen is McManis Professor of Christian Thought, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois. He is a Fellow of both the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Anthropological Institute. He has been a Visiting Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge, and some of the research for this volume was undertaken while a Visiting Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford. His previous monographs published by Oxford University Press are Crisis of Doubt: Honest Faith in Nineteenth-Century England and A People of One Book: The Bible and the Victorians.

Editorial Reviews

"Larsen provides a most satisfying study...Beautifully written and carrying lightly an immense amount of historical and literary research well placed in the extensive footnotes to each chapter, one is impressed with the fullness of Larsen's explorations...By bringing so many strands together in a remarkably complete documentation of all sources, Larsen's work stands as difficult to refute by those intoxicated with the fable that anthropology is of its nature secular, that all religion is illogical and beyond analytical remit, save to destroy it and that faith is incompatible with the good works of the discipline."--New Blackfriars

"What [Larsen] has done in The Slain God is commendable in its scope and depth, well executed in its writing, and rich in insight. It will reward careful study by students of anthropology, cultural theory, contemporary theology, and modern religious history."--The Journal of Religion

"Sophisticated wit and graceful prose. Highly recommended to advanced general readers as well as to specialists."--Church History

"This well-documented and well-written book is an interesting account of the lives and works of some of the most influential anthropologists and their own Christian faith, or lack thereof....This is a welcome contribution to the history of anthropology, and to the growing body of literature that reflects on Christianity's influence on shaping the discipline, and on the complex, often difficult, relationship between the two. This book is relevant to researchers and students alike, who have a general interest in anthropology, and a particular interest in the study of Christianity from an anthropological perspective....Larsen's narrative and sharp observations skilfully weave together authors' biographical experiences with their theoretical and ethnographic findings... I hope this book will break for good certain unspoken taboos in the discipline that one cannot be at the same time a serious anthropologist and a practising 'believer'."--Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

"This is a startling book. Many anthropologists do not realize how deeply religious many of the great anthropologists of religion have been. The Slain God raises the question of how faith shapes what the anthropologist sees, and it will change the way the reader thinks about the answer.."--Tanya Luhrmann, Watkins University Professor of Anthropology, Stanford University

"Larsen's book is beautifully written and based on the most patient scrutiny of every scrap of evidence. It provides an authoritative account of some of anthropology's most influential practitioners."--David Martin, Professor of Sociology Emeritus, London School of Economics

"This well-written and finely research book . . . should be widely discussed in a variety of circles concerned with anthropology, religious studies, theology and the history of religion."--Journal of Ecclesiastical History

"Larsen shines a bright sidelight on the history of social anthropology and its treatment of Christianity." --Times Literary Supplement

"In his latest book, The Slain God, Timothy Larsen provides a compelling account of the complex relationship between anthropology and the Christian faith . . . His is the first book-length study of the relationship between anthropology and Christianity and as such is of interest to anyone who wishes to understand this relationship better. The book is also particularly timely in view of the recent resurgence of interest in these issues in the anthropology of Christianity."--Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford

"As in his earlier work, Larsen disrupts a teleological vision of religion condemned to disappear before the forces of progress and modernity. He is to be congratulated for challenging this narrative head-on and confronting what amounts to anti-religious bias in the human sciences." --Journal of Theological Studies

"One of the many virtues of Larsen's study is its revealing of the 'all too human' character of the scholarship by the anthropologists he examines."--Christian Smith, First Things

"Witty, penetrating, following the evidence where it leads, this book is a great delight."--Books and Culture

"Larsen's book is clearly and delightfully written. It is, he says, the first book-length study of the subject, and it is as welcome as it is overdue." --Peter J. Leithart

"Readers interested in continuing debates over faith, science and secularism will find much of value in this very important book. The further you get into the book, the more astonished you are that no predecessor has written such a full-length study of this critically important topic." --Philip Jenkins, author of The Next Christendom

"Witty, penetrating, following the evidence where it leads, this book is a great delight." --Books & Culture

"Larsen deals with historical research on the religiosity of six 19th- and 20th-century British social anthropologists (Edward Burnett Tylor, James George Frazer, Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard, Margaret Mary Tew Douglas, Victor Witter Turner, and Edith Lucy Brocklesby Davis Turner), how they interfaced with Christianity, and how their research (much of it in sub-Saharan Africa) led some to see social science as compatible with faith and others to discredit faith... The research is supported by abundant footnotes, 17 pages of bibliography, and 8 pages of index. This book will be of most utility to those interested in British social anthropology and the trajectory of these individuals." --HOICE

"This book will be greeted as something of a bombshell amongst anthropologists of religion. . . . a highly original book that should be with us for a long time to come."--Joel Robbins, Sigrid Rausing Professor of Social Anthropology, Cambridge University

"Larsen has broken new ground in an area that was overgrown with the weeds of anecdote and myth." --International Bulletin Missionary Research

"Larsen's volume is impressive in its depth and scope. This informative study will be a resource for students and academics . . . Larsen's book is a groundbreaking and meticulously developed project that demonstrates the relevance of personal faith and religious experience within anthropology research and discourse." --Theological Studies

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