Ekklesia

Three Inquires in Church and State

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Paul Christopher Johnson, Pamela E. Klassen, Winnifred Fallers Sullivan
TRIOS
  • Chicago, IL: 
    University of Chicago Press
    , March
     2018.
     224 pages.
     $27.50.
     Paperback.
    ISBN
    9780226545585.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Finbarr Curtis forthcoming.

Description

Ekklesia: Three Inquiries in Church and State offers a New World rejoinder to the largely Europe-centered academic discourse on church and state. In contrast to what is often assumed, in the Americas the relationship between church and state has not been one of freedom or separation but one of unstable and adaptable collusion. Ekklesia sees in the settler states of North and South America alternative patterns of conjoined religious and political power, patterns resulting from the undertow of other gods, other peoples, and other claims to sovereignty. These local challenges have led to a continuously contested attempt to realize a church-minded state, a state-minded church, and the systems that develop in their concert. The shifting borders of their separation and the episodic conjoining of church and state took new forms in both theory and practice.

The first of a closely linked trio of essays is by Paul Johnson, and offers a new interpretation of the Brazilian community gathered at Canudos and its massacre in 1896–97, carried out as a joint churchstate mission and spectacle. In the second essay, Pamela Klassen argues that the colonial churchstate relationship of Canada came into being through local and national practices that emerged as Indigenous nations responded to and resisted becoming “possessions” of colonial British America. Finally, Winnifred Sullivan’s essay begins with reflection on the increased effort within the United States to ban Bibles and scriptural references from death penalty courtrooms and jury rooms; she follows with a consideration of the political theological pressure thereby placed on the jury that decides between life and death. Through these three inquiries, Ekklesia takes up the familiar topos of “church and state” in order to render it strange.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Paul Christopher Johnson is Professor of History and Afro-American and African studies and Director of the Doctoral Program in Anthropology and History at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is the author of Secrets, Gossip, and Gods: The Transformation of Brazilian Candomblé  and Diaspora Conversions: Black Carib Religion and the Recovery of Africa.

Pamela E. Klassen is Professor in the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto, cross-appointed to anthropology. She is the author of several books, including Spirits of Protestantism: Medicine, Healing, and Liberal Christianity, and Ekklesia: Three Inquiries in Church and State, with coauthors Paul Christopher Johnson and Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan is Professor in and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University Bloomington. She is also an affiliated professor of law at Indiana University Bloomington Maurer School of Law.

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