Charismatic culture in St. John's, Newfoundland : a crossdenominational study of religious folklife in three groups

Cartwright, Christine A. (Christine Ann) (1983) Charismatic culture in St. John's, Newfoundland : a crossdenominational study of religious folklife in three groups. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This is an ethnoscienitific study of three charismatic Christian prayer groups in St. John's, Newfoundland (Roman Catholic, Neopentecostal, and interdenominational), focusing upon the culture which provides the basis for their frequent interactions and sense of unity. It places the groups in diachronic and synchronic context, discussing their development and relations to continental patterns of religious and cultural change, as well as to local religious traditions. Its ultimate purpose is to provide detailed ethnographic data toward the definition of charismatics as a religio-cultural group, usefully analysed across denominational and demographic classifications. -- The study focuses especially upon relations between belief, language, and experience in everyday life. Chapters focus upon the experiential nature of charismatic ritual; of conversion, Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and divine inspiration; the administration and reception of the nine charismata or spiritual gifts; religious thought in everyday life; and the symbolic system and its functions. Community discussions, analytic theorizing, and experimentation are shown to play crucial roles in the formation and revision of religious beliefs and customs and in the interpretation of mystical experiences. Dialectical thought, using experiences to interpret biblical metaphor and metaphor to interpret experiences, is also typical of local charismatics. Formal logic, biblical metaphor, sensory data, and community consensus are shown to form a coherent system through which customs and beliefs develop and change. -- Previous categorizations of Pentecostal and charismatic groups as forms of cathartic or compensatory religion, allied with Haitian Voudon, espiritismo, and shamanistic systems, are challenged on the basis of the St. John’s data. It is argued that these categorizations have largely ignored the structure and phenomenology of native thought, and that glossolalia, spirit possession, trance, and ecstasy are etic concepts, not necessarily indicative of cultural or phenomenologicial similarity. The absence of trance, of pathology, and of obvious demographic commonalities between local charismatics argue for the analysis of their religious culture as culture, and not as cult.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5498
Item ID: 5498
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 632-659.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Folklore
Date: 1983
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Avalon Peninsula--St. John's
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Pentecostalism--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's

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