theologically engaged anthropology
Joel Robbins' much anticipated second monograph promises to secure the foundation of theologically engaged anthropology. Both sociocultural anthropology and theology have made fundamental contributions to our understanding human experience and the place of humanity in the world. But can these two disciplines, despite the radical differences that separate them, work together to transform their thinking on these topics? Joel Robbins argues that they can. To make this point, he draws on key theological discussions of such matters as atonement, eschatology, interruption, passivity, and judgement to rethink important anthropological debates about such topics as ethical life, radical change, the ways people live in time, agency, gift giving, and the nature of humanity. The result is both a reconsideration of important aspects of anthropological theory through theological categories and a series of careful readings of influential theologians such as Moltmann, Pannenberg, Jüngel, and Dalferth from the vantage point of rich ethnographic materials concerning the lives of Christians from around the world. In conclusion, Robbins draws on contemporary discussions of secularism to interrogate the secular foundations of anthropology and suggests that the differences between anthropology and theology in regard to this topic can provide a foundation rather than obstacle to their dialogue. Written as a work of interdisciplinary anthropological theorizing, Robbins' book also provides theologians an introduction to some of the most important ground covered by burgeoning field of the anthropology of Christianity while guiding anthropologists into some major areas of theological discussion. This roundtable invites anthropologists to join Robbins in discussing the work, as well as the implications of its argument for the discipline.
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AAA Annual Meeting 2021
18 November 2021