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Oxford University Press
17 February 2016
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.
By:   Timothy Larsen (McManis Professor of Christian Thought McManis Professor of Christian Thought Wheaton College)
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 216mm,  Width: 140mm,  Spine: 15mm
Weight:   322g
ISBN:   9780198757429
ISBN 10:   0198757425
Pages:   272
Publication Date:   17 February 2016
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  A / AS level ,  Further / Higher Education
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Acknowledgments ; Introduction: Anthropology, History, and Doubt ; 1. Edward Burnett Tylor ; 2. James George Frazer ; 3. E. E. Evans-Pritchard ; 4. Mary Douglas ; 5. Victor Turner and Edith Turner ; Epilogue: The Ever-Recurring Drama ; Works Cited

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.

Reviews for The Slain God: Anthropologists and the Christian Faith

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 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, Patheos Witty, penetrating, following the evidence where it leads, this book is a great delight. John Wilson, Book of the Year 2014, 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 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 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 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


  • Winner of Books and Culture's 2014 Book of the Year.

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