'You have to call the right name' - Operation Joshua meets Cosmology and Catholicism at Lake Chambri in Papua New Guinea

Falck, Christiane (2020) 'You have to call the right name' - Operation Joshua meets Cosmology and Catholicism at Lake Chambri in Papua New Guinea. Australian Journal of Anthropology, 31 (2). pp. 170-186.

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Abstract

In the Sepik, names feature centrally in political and religious contexts. Esoteric knowledge about totemic names enables Nyaura men to achieve status and power and can set them in contact with spirits. A recently arrived Pentecostal/evangelical movement-Operation Joshua-claims to have found the true name of God, whom it presents as being radically different to the beings people's ancestors have known. At Lake Chambri, however, the Nyaura (West Iatmul) community Timbunmeli had accommodated Catholicism to their culture long before Operation Joshua came to their village. While Operation Joshua demonizes Nyaura spirits, the Catholic community understands God to be an ancestral being for whom different clans know different names. Taking a political ontology perspective, I analyze the encounter of Operation Joshua and Nyaura Catholicism in Timbunmeli in relation to cosmo-ontological politics pursued by ambitious Nyaura men and different denominations. I suggest that denominational pluralism creates ontological pluralism in Timbunmeli, where different actors engage different truth claims concerning the being and reality of central Christian figures in their world-making practices.

Item ID: 64688
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1757-6547
Keywords: Christianity, cosmology, denominationalism, pluriverse, political ontology
Copyright Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes. © 2020 The Author. The Australian Journal of Anthropology published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Australian Anthropological Society.
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2020 07:56
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4401 Anthropology > 440107 Social and cultural anthropology @ 100%
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