God's Agents: Biblical Publicity in Contemporary England

God's Agents: Biblical Publicity in Contemporary England

by Matthew Engelke

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The British and Foreign Bible Society is one of the most illustrious Christian charities in the United Kingdom. Founded by evangelicals in the early nineteenth century and inspired by developments in printing technology, its goal has always been to make Bibles universally available. Over the past several decades, though, Bible Society has faced a radically different world, especially in its work in England. Where the Society once had a grateful and engaged reading public, it now faces apathy—even antipathy—for its cause. These days, it seems, no one in England wants a Bible, and no one wants other people telling them they should: religion is supposed to be a private matter. Undeterred, these Christians attempt to spark a renewed interest in the Word of God. They’ve turned away from publishing and toward publicity to “make the Bible heard.”

God’s Agents is a study of how religion goes public in today’s world. Based on over three years of anthropological research, Matthew Engelke traces how a small group of socially committed Christians tackle the challenge of publicity within what they understand to be a largely secular culture. In the process of telling their story, he offers an insightful new way to think about the relationships between secular and religious formations: our current understanding of religion needs to be complemented by greater attention to the process of generating publicity. Engelke argues that we are witnessing the dynamics of religious publicity, which allows us to see the ways in which conceptual divides such as public/private, religious/secular, and faith/knowledge are challenged and redefined by social actors on the ground.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520280472
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 09/27/2013
Series: The Anthropology of Christianity , #15
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Matthew Engelke is a Reader in the Department of Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is the author of A Problem of Presence: Beyond Scripture in an African Church.

Table of Contents





CHAPTER ONE. Angels in Swindon: On the Production of Ambient Faith

CHAPTER TWO. The Semiotics of Relevance: Campaigning to Culture

CHAPTER THREE. Kingdom and Christendom

CHAPTER FOUR. Doing God: Theos and Public Theology

CHAPTER FIVE. Good Trouble and Good Timing: The Theology of Publicity

CHAPTER SIX. Reasonable Religion



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