The development of a phenomenological approach to religion and the rise of perspectivism are challenging anthropology’s exclusive rootedness in the ontology of secularism. When considered with the increased interest in the anthropology of religion as an area of study, it is clear that there is a growing need for non-reductionist representations of Christian thought and experience in ethnography.

This volume is intended as a critique of anthropology’s epistemological and ontological assumptions and a demonstration of the value added by an expanded set of parameters for the field. The book’s core argument is that while ethnographers have allowed their own perspectives to be positively influenced by the perspectives of their informants, until recently anthropology has done little in the way of adopting these other viewpoints as critical tools for analysis precisely because it has represented those viewpoints from a limited epistemological perspective.

With chapters organized around topics in epistemology and ontology written by scholars of anthropology, theology and history, and an afterword by Joel Robbins, the book is essential reading for scholars of the anthropology of religion as well as other philosophically-oriented social scientists, theologians and those who are interested in gaining further insight into the human condition.

chapter |9 pages


chapter 1|20 pages

Engaging the religiously committed other

Anthropologists and theologians in dialogue

part I|132 pages

Epistemology for ethnography

chapter 2|21 pages


To know and be known in ethnography

chapter 3|26 pages


A biblical teaching as an anthropological resource

chapter 4|21 pages


A post-critical and biblical epistemology for a committed anthropology

chapter 5|36 pages


A Christian impulse as fruitful motif for anthropological theory and practice

chapter 6|26 pages


Agnes C. L. Donohugh, early “apostle for ethnography”

part II|78 pages

Ontology for anthropology

chapter 7|10 pages


Insights from practical theology for a transformed applied anthropology

chapter 8|13 pages


The multiple expressions of the sacred in Andean ontology

chapter 9|21 pages


Implications of the transcendent for love and purpose in migration

chapter 10|13 pages


Conceptual tools for an interdisciplinary theology of culture

chapter 11|19 pages

Anthropology in the mirror of theology

Epistemology, ontology, ethics (an afterword)