Løland, “The Position of the Biblical Canon in Brazil”

Løland, Ole Jakob.  2015. The Position of the Biblical Canon in Brazil: From Catholic Rediscovery to Neo-Pentecostal Marginalisation.  Studies in World Christianity 21(2): 98-118.

Abstract: This study analyses the historically significant shifts in the diffusion and reception of the bible in Brazilian Christianity. It questions whether Brazil is turning Protestant, given the marginalisation in Brazilian neo-Pentecostalism of scripture, which is the fundamental pillar of Protestant faith. While scripture has traditionally been marginal to Brazil’s popular Catholicism, it was regarded as the primary medium for access to the sacred in classical Pentecostalism. Whilst Brazilian Catholicism rediscovered the bible through the liberation theology movement, a contrary trend of marginalisation of scripture is evident in the Brazilian neo-Pentecostal church Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus (IURD). Although there is a performative use of the bible in IURD, the original meaning of the biblical texts is given little weight within this performance. Based on this evaluation of the bible’s position, the article suggests that neo-Pentecostalism stands in continuity with popular Catholicism and discontinuity with classical Pentecostalism in relation to the biblical canon.