ABSTRACT

In this article, the author sheds light on some of the methodological challenges that currently face scholars in world Christianity by mapping out genealogically how ontology has come to be a concern for those pursuing social scientific approaches to the study of Christianity in particular. By unraveling some of the guiding theoretical principles of the study of religions more generally, the author reveals the conditions that have ultimately rendered the “problem of belief” in fact a “problem” for (purportedly) secular explorations of Christian cultures. The author reflects upon the theoretical principles of an emerging group of anthropologists of Christianity who are seeking to address the problems raised by their secular orientations and cultivating what is fast becoming known as a “theologically engaged anthropology.” From there, she offers some of her own solutions to these predicaments and suggests some useful theoretical approaches for those scholars working in world Christianity going forward.

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