A Pietist Perspective on Love and Learning in Cultural Anthropology

Jenell Williams Paris

Love provides a fresh lens for understanding what Christian scholars do in cultural anthropology, and offers new perspectives on faith-learning integration more generally. In this essay Jenell Williams Paris first argues that the dominant integrationist model is not very helpful for understanding the work of Christian anthropologists because of its emphasis on philosophy and its emphasis on faith as the element of Christianity that is to be integrated. Second, she shows how a pietist perspective that focuses on love better illuminates the work of Christian anthropologists in the areas of basic research, mission, and applied anthropology. Finally, she explores implications beyond cultural anthropology, encouraging a de-centering of the integrationist approach in favor of a broader conversation that includes numerous Christian traditions and diverse ways of understanding what Christian identity may mean for the scholarly vocation. Ms. Paris is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Bethel University.

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Last Updated: April 14, 2006
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