Bielo, “Materializing the Bible”

Bielo James. 2016. Materializing the Bible: Ethnographic Methods for the Consumption Process. Practical Matters 9. 

Abstract: Throughout the world there are over 200 sites that materialize the Bible, that is, sites that transform the written words of biblical scripture into physical, experiential attractions. These sites are definitively hybrid, integrating religion and entertainment, piety and play, fun and faith, commerce and devotion, pleasure and education. Religious studies scholars and anthropologists have published insightful works about selected sites, but no genre-wide analytical appraisal exists. In this article, I focus on how religiously committed visitors approach and experience these sites. Framed in a comparative register with research in religious tourism and pilgrimage studies, I propose analytical and methodological frameworks for the ethnographic study of Bible-based attractions.

Feldman, “A Jewish Guide in the Holy Land: How Christian Pilgrims Made Me Israeli”

Feldman, Jackie. 2016. A Jewish guide in the Holy Land: how Christian pilgrims made me Israeli. Bloomington; Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Publisher’s description: For many Evangelical Christians, a trip to the Holy Land is an integral part of practicing their faith. Arriving in groups, most of these pilgrims are guided by Jewish Israeli tour guides. For more than three decades, Jackie Feldman—born into an Orthodox Jewish family in New York, now an Israeli citizen, scholar, and licensed guide—has been leading tours, interpreting Biblical landscapes, and fielding questions about religion and current politics. In this book, he draws on pilgrimage and tourism studies, his own experiences, and interviews with other guides, Palestinian drivers and travel agents, and Christian pastors to examine the complex interactions through which guides and tourists “co-produce” the Bible Land. He uncovers the implicit politics of travel brochures and religious souvenirs. Feldman asks what it means when Jewish-Israeli guides get caught up in their own performances or participate in Christian rituals, and reflects on how his interactions with Christian tourists have changed his understanding of himself and his views of religion.

di Giovine and Picard (eds), “The Seductions of Pilgrimage”

Di Giovine, Michael A. and David Picard, eds. 2015. The Seductions of Pilgrimage: Sacred Journeys Afar and Astray in the Western Religious Tradition. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate.

Publisher’s Description: The Seductions of Pilgrimage explores the simultaneously attractive and repellent, beguiling and alluring forms of seduction in pilgrimage. It focuses on the varied discursive, imaginative, and practical mechanisms of seduction that draw individual pilgrims to a pilgrimage site; the objects, places, and paradigms that pilgrims leave behind as they embark on their hyper-meaningful travel experience; and the often unforeseen elements that lead pilgrims off their desired course. Presenting the first comprehensive study of the role of seduction on individual pilgrims in the study of pilgrimage and tourism, it will appeal to scholars of anthropology, cultural geography, tourism, heritage, and religious studies.

Contents:

Foreword, Jas’ Elsner

Introduction: pilgrimage and seduction in the Abrahamic tradition, Michael A. Di Giovine and David Picard

Purity as danger? Seduction and sexuality at Walsingham, Simon Coleman

The seductions of guiding: Jewish-Israeli tour guides on the Christian Holy Land pilgrimage, Jackie Feldman

As if the road there is covered with honey’: inquiries into the seductiveness of a Greek orthodox monastery in Arizona for Russian orthodox parish pilgrims, Julia Klimova

The seductiveness of saints: interreligious pilgrimage sites in Hatay and the ritual transformations of agency, Jens Kreinath

The seduction of the past in new age pilgrimage, Jill Dubisch

Seduction in the ‘Gypsy pilgrimage’ at Les-Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Ellen Badone

Seductions of suffering: stigmata, salvation and pilgrimage to the sanctuary of St. Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo, Michael A. Di Giovine

The seductions of the way: the return of the pilgrim and the road to Compostela as a liminal space, Eduardo Chemin

Up In God’s great cathedral’: evangelism, astronauts, and the seductiveness of outer space, Deana L. Weibel

Stadler, “Appropriating Jerusalem”

Stadler, Nurit. 2015. Appropriating Jerusalem through Sacred Places: Disputed Land and Female Rituals at the Tombs of Mary and Rachel. Anthropological Quarterly 88(3)

Abstract: Due to deep-seated political tensions and intermittent violence between various streams of the city’s three major religions, Jerusalem’s sacred landscape is in the midst of significant change. One of the most salient expressions of this phenomenon is the renaissance of female saint shrines, most notably the Tomb of Mary and the proximate Tomb of Rachel the Matriarch. At these sites, female symbols, imagery rituals, and materiality have become powerful tools for asserting political claims that pertain to land and belonging. I will take stock of this phenomenon through the lens of different ethno-religious groups in Israel/Palestine that are availing themselves of female symbols (such as fertility, suffering, and maternal care) to advance various objectives. I find that these symbols have charged valences within minority communities. For members of the country’s hegemonic denominations, Rachel is the Jewish people’s “eternal mother” as well as a national symbol of the “return of the exiles” to their homeland. At the same time, local Catholic and Orthodox Christians view Mary to be “the mother of minorities” who suffered on behalf of and continues to provide succor for the weak. As a minority, Christians in Israel/Palestine employ this image of the Virgin as part of their effort to struggle with their weakening grip over the territories. Viewing the Virgin as a protector of minority groups is a departure from the vast majority of the Christian world, where Mary constitutes a national symbol that reinforces social belonging. In sum, I show how, amid the ongoing religious struggle, both female icons and their respective sacred venues are mobilized by different groups for the sake of challenging the political order and reshaping the landscape.

Coleman, “Anthropological Tropes and Historical tricksters”

Coleman, Simon. 2015. Anthropological Tropes and Historical Tricksters: pilgrimage as an ‘example’ of persuasion. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 21(s1):144-161.

Abstract: I explore the implications of example-making for both informants and ethnographers through an analysis of the history of the refoundation of the Anglican shrine at Walsingham during the twentieth century. I argue for an appreciation of distinctions between examples as ‘models’ and ‘instances’, but also for a focus on relations between the inchoate and the specific in processes of exemplification. The paper shows how an examination of the making of examples by actors in the field can speak to the creation of examples in writing and analysis, and may introduce elements of ‘serendipity’ more normally associated with encounters in the field.

Mesaritou, “He is among us, get it into your head, he is alive and always here”

Mesaritou, Evgenia. 2015. ‘He is among us, get it into your head, he is alive and always here’: saintly presence at the pilgrimage centre of Padre Pio and the importance of ‘being there’ Culture and Religion: An Interdisciplinary Journal. DOI: 10.1080/14755610.2015.1019896

Abstract: The paper will focus upon the issue of saintly presence and the ways in which this is felt, experienced and enacted at the pilgrimage centre of Padre Pio. This issue will be examined in relation to the material and spatial structures of the pilgrimage centre and in particular the Sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Grazie, at the crypt of which the tomb of Padre Pio was until recently emplaced. In examining the issue of saintly presence in relation to the sanctuary’s materiality, the paper will also explore the relationship of two of the dimensions Eade and Sallnow ([1991] 2000, ‘Introduction’, in Contesting the Sacred: The Anthropology of Christian Pilgrimage., 2nd ed., edited by John Eade and Michael J. Sallnow, 1–29, Urbana: University of Illinois) propose for the examination of pilgrimage, namely person and place. Drawing on ethnographic data gathered during fieldwork (2004–2005), it will argue that the feeling of saintly presence is mainly generated by the knowledge people have of Padre Pio having lived and being buried there. This knowledge shapes their pilgrimage experience.

Pritchard, Pilgrimages and publics: The case of Taizé

Pritchard, Elizabeth. 2015. Pilgrimages and publics: The case of Taize. Anthropological Theory 15(1): 68–91.

Abstract: Applying Michael Warner’s definition of a public as an organized body capable of being addressed in discourse, this essay argues that the mission and associated practices of Taizé pilgrimage are a public formation. The argument draws from visits to the Taizé community in France, to a Taizé youth group in Rotterdam, interviews with pilgrims, writings by community leaders and members, as well as numerous addresses to the European pilgrimages on the part of religious and political leaders. The aims of this argument are to bring pilgrimage research into broader conversations with other strata of cultural theory and to challenge prevailing understandings of the ‘public’ and the relationship between publicness and religion.

Feldman and Young, eds. “Pilgrimage to the Holy Lands”

Religion and Society: Advances in Research, volume 5, 2014, features an edited collection on “Pilgrimage to the Holy Lands” edited by Jackie Feldman and Donna Young.

Introduction: Contested Narratives of Storied Places – the Holy Lands
Jackie Feldman

Guiding Settler Jerusalem: Voice and the Transpositions of History in Religious Zionist Pilgrimage
Alejandro I. Paz

Changing Colors of Money: Tips, Commissions and Ritual in Christian Pilgrimage to the Holy Land
Jackie Feldman

Age of Innocence: The Symbolic Child and Political Conflict on American Holy Land Pilgrimage
Hillary Kaell

‘The Empty Tomb’ as Metaphor: Finding Comfort in Nothingness
Donna Young

The Accidental Pilgrim: Olive Pickers in Palestine
Anne Meneley

Afterword
Ellen Badone

Coleman, “Pilgrimage as Trope for an Anthropology of Christianity”

Coleman, Simon.  2014. Pilgrimage as Trope for an Anthropology of Christianity.  Current Anthropology.  Early online publication.

Abstract: While studies of Pentecostalism have played an important role in forming the emergent anthropology of Christianity, research on pilgrimage has had far less of an effect on this subfield. I explore some of the reasons why by looking at the “semiotics of theory” and asking what constitutes resonant anthropological model making at a particular moment in the construction of anthropology. Having provided a critical account of past theoretical and ethnographic work on Christian pilgrimage, I suggest an alternative approach, drawing in part on fieldwork carried out at the pilgrimage shrines of Walsingham, in Norfolk, England. I suggest that my approach can provide useful perspectives not only on the anthropology of Christianity but also on aspects of our understanding of ritual and religious experience more generally.

Wood, “Soundscapes of Pilgrimage: European and American Christians in Jerusalem’s Old City”

Wood, Abigail. 2014. “Soundscapes of Pilgrimage: European and American Christians in Jerusalem’s Old City.” Ethnomusicology Forum. DOI:10.1080/17411912.2014.965080 [Early Digital Release].

Abstract: Building on the recent ‘auditory turn’ in ethnomusicology and on recent anthropological approaches to pilgrimage, this article considers how the soundscapes and vocal practices of European and American Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem’s Old City shape the practices and experiences of pilgrimage. Sounds colour the ethical comportment of pilgrims; listening, both voluntarily and involuntarily, intervenes in their interactions with others in the pilgrimage environment, provoking a range of public and private responses. Focusing attention on the auditory landscape provides compelling insights into the practices and politics of pilgrimage, in particular revealing moments of tension as pilgrims seek to realise personal and communal ideals in a crowded, shared space.