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Conversion to ChristianityHistorical and Anthropological Perspectives on a Great Transformation$
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Robert Hefner

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780520078352

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520078352.001.0001

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Religion, Morality, and Prophetic Traditions: Conversion among the Pitjantjatjara of Central Australia

Religion, Morality, and Prophetic Traditions: Conversion among the Pitjantjatjara of Central Australia

Chapter:
(p.233) Chapter Eight Religion, Morality, and Prophetic Traditions: Conversion among the Pitjantjatjara of Central Australia
Source:
Conversion to Christianity
Author(s):

Robert W. Hefner

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520078352.003.0008

This chapter describes some of the ethnographic and theoretical debates on why the Pitjantjatjara of the western desert of central Australia have not converted to Christianity. It first explains some of the more important features of Pitjantjatjara religion as they bear on the religious conversion process. It then elucidates the political and economic manifestations of Pitjantjatjara religious thought through which the ontological framework of society is sustained. The majority of Pitjantjatjara were not actively committed to Christianity. Deception beyond what myths and plot structures embrace is severely punished by the community. The contrast between Christianity and Pitjantjatjara religion indicates the degree of religious conjunction and disjunction which exists and the extent to which these factors can explain the dynamics of religious conversion among the Pitjantjatjara.

Keywords:   Pitjantjatjara, Christianity, central Australia, religious conversion, religious conjunction, religious disjunction

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