Striking changes are afoot in the way intellectuals address Christianity. Long seen as a largely Western tradition steadily losing its cultural influence in the West, Christianity has recently been re-installed at the center of debates that concern academic specialists and public intellectuals alike. In the last few years, it has suddenly become possible, maybe even fashionable, to ask whether Christianity might be a leading force of change in the contemporary world. Even more surprisingly, scholars who self-consciously stand outside what they think of as religious circles now find themselves promoting episodes in Christian history as key models for the way important social changes ought to occur.Read the rest of Global Christianity, Global Critique.
Matthew Engelke is a senior lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at the London School of Economics. He has conducted research on Christianity in Zimbabwe and in England. His book A Problem of Presence: Beyond Scripture in an African Church (University of California Press, 2007) won the 2008 Clifford Geertz Prize from the Society for the Anthropology of Religion and the 2009 Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing from the Society for Humanistic Anthropology. He is the editor of Prickly Paradigm Press and the editor designate of the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute.
Posts by Matthew Engelke:
This past November, a new think tank called ResPublica was launched in London, in the opulent surrounds of the Royal Horseguards Hotel. It’s not every day that a think tank appears, of course, but even so this one attracted an unusual amount of attention. The meeting room in which the launch took place was overflowing. David Cameron, the Conservative Party Leader, modernizer, and hopeful Prime Minister, provided the opening remarks, and introduced its director, Phillip Blond. In the lead-up to the launch, Blond got prime coverage on television, in the broadsheets, and throughout the blogosphere, building on what had actually been almost a year’s worth of buzz over his rise to the top. ResPublica’s signature approach is what Blond calls “Red Toryism,” which he outlined in the February 2009 issue of Prospect as “the tradition of communitarian civic conservatism,” and about which we’ll soon hear more.Read the rest of Radical Orthodoxy’s new home?.