Ryle, “Burying the Past-Healing the Land”

Ryle, Jacqueline. 2012. Burying the Past-Healing the Land: ritualising reconciliation in Fiji. Archives de sciences sociales des religions. 157(1):89-111.

Abstract: This article discusses a high-profile traditional reconciliation ceremony staged in Fiji in November 2003. It describes how human agency is reflected in the state of the land and in people’s social relations, past and present; how human agency is seen to spiritually disturb or reconcile the land, its innate ancestral powers and their influence on people’s relations and the land; and how the efficacy of ancestral spirituality of the land may affect change, punishing or rewarding people’s actions. And it discusses how the power of the Holy Spirit can bring about change through exorcising the land of ancestral spiritual power and un-blocking what Pentecostal Christians describe as demonic spiritual strongholds.

Tomlinson, “Passports to Eternity: Whales’ Teeth and Transcendence in Fijian Methodism”

Tomlinson, Matt (2012) “Passports to Eternity: Whales’ Teeth and Transcendence in Fijian Methodism,” in Lenore Manderson, Wendy Smith, & Matt Tomlinson (eds) Flows of Faith: Religious Reach and Community in Asia and the Pacific (Springer, New York).

Abstract: Christianity is often considered a religion of transcendence, in which divinity “goes beyond” human space and time. Recent anthropological scholarship has noted, however, that claims to transcendence must be expressed materially. This chapter examines the ways in which Fijian Methodists attempt to achieve a kind of Christian transcendence in which they escape negative influences of the vanua (land, chiefdoms, and the “traditional” order generally). They do so by offering sperm whales’ teeth to church authorities in order to apologise and atone for the sins of ancestors. Such rituals do not achieve the transcendence they aim for, however, as the whales’ teeth–the material tokens offered to gain divine favour–gain their ritual value precisely because of their attachment to the vanua.