Vernacular Catholicism, Vernacular Saints

Selva J. Raj on "Being Catholic the Tamil Way"

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Editor(s): 
Reid B. Locklin
  • Albany, NY: 
    State University of New York Press
    , April
     2017.
     318 pages.
     $90.00.
     Hardcover.
    ISBN
    9781438465050.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Muthuraj Swamy forthcoming.

Description

A collection of Raj’s groundbreaking ethnographic studies of “vernacular” Catholic traditions in Tamil Nadu, India.

At the turn of the twenty-first century, Selva J. Raj (1952–2008) was one of the most important scholars of popular Indian Christianity and South Asian religion in North America. Vernacular Catholicism, Vernacular Saints gathers together, for the first time in a single volume, a series of his groundbreaking studies on the distinctively “vernacular” Catholic traditions of Tamil Nadu in southeast India. This collection, which focuses on four rural shrines, highlights ritual variety and ritual transgression in Tamil Catholic practice and offers clues to the ritual exchange, religious hybridity, and dialogue occurring at the grassroots level between Tamil Catholics and their Hindu and Muslim neighbors. Raj also advances a new and alternative paradigm for interreligious dialogue that radically differs from models advocated by theologians, clergy, and other religious elite. In addition, essays by other leading scholars of Indian Christianity and South Asian religions—Michael Amaladoss, Purushottama Bilimoria, Corinne G. Dempsey, Eliza F. Kent, and Vasudha Narayanan—are included that amplify and creatively extend Raj’s work.

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

Reid B. Locklin is associate professor of Christianity and the intellectual tradition at St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto. He is the author of Spiritual But Not Religious? An Oar Stroke Closer to the Farther Shore and Liturgy of Liberation: A Christian Commentary on Shankara’s Upadeśasāhasrī, as well as the coeditor (with Mara Brecht) of Comparative Theology in the Millennial Classroom: Hybrid Identities, Negotiated Boundaries.

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