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Anthropology of CatholicismA Reader$
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Kristin Norget, Valentina Napolitano, and Maya Mayblin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520288423

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520288423.001.0001

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Catholicism and the Study of Religion

Catholicism and the Study of Religion

(p.305) 23 Catholicism and the Study of Religion
Anthropology of Catholicism

Birgit Meyer

University of California Press

This chapter argues that deeper knowledge about Catholic religiosity – regarding theological ideas, rituals as well as everyday practice – is important to allow for a shift in perspective so as to bring into the picture aspects that remain blind spots as long as religion is explored through a mentalistic (Protestant) lens. Turning to Catholicism as an alternative archive allows for a critique of the Protestant legacy that shaped the master narrative of modernity as well as the study of religion across the world and offers fresh insights for conceptualizing and approaching religion from a material angle. The point is that paying attention to Catholic religiosity is helpful to further flesh out an approach to religion that acknowledges the role of the body, objects and human practice in generating a sense of divine presence. This approach should ultimately transcend the mental-material distinction, as well as the spectrum of Christianity.

Keywords:   Protestant bias, Catholic religiosity, material approach to religion, religious mediation, body, images

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