Luhrmann, Tanya. (2012). “A Hyperreal God and Modern Belief: Toward an Anthropological Theory of Mind.”

Luhrmann, Tanya. 2012. A Hyperreal God and Modern Belief: Toward an Anthropological Theory of Mind. Current Anthropology 53(4):371-395

Abstract

This article argues that there is an epistemological style associated with much American evangelical Christianity that is strikingly different from that found in never-secular Christianities. This epistemological style is characterized by a playful, self-consciously paradoxical framing of belief-claims in which God’s reality is both clearly affirmed and qualified. One can describe this style as using an “epistemological double register” in which God is described as very real—and as doubted, in some way. The representation of God generated by this complex style is a magically real or hyper-real God, both more real than everyday reality and in some way fictive. The article goes on to argue that these epistemological features can be understood as generated by and generative of particular theories of mind. The article argues for the development of an anthropological theory of mind in which at least four dimensions are important: boundedness, interiority, sensorium, and epistemic stance.

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