“Finding” the Eucharist in central Australia: Intichiuma ceremonies and the study of ritual sacrifice as a sacrament of communion
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Jens Kreinath, "“Finding” the Eucharist in Central Australia: Intichiuma Ceremonies and the Study of Ritual Sacrifice as a Sacrament of Communion," History of Religions 58, no. 3 (February 2019): 277-318.
Different theoretical frameworks have played a major role in several interpretations of ethnographic material collected among the Aborigines of Central Australia. This article explores the theoretical frameworks that anthropologists, scholars of religion, and missionaries used to interpret material collected in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries among the Western Aranda people of the Ntaria/Hermannsburg area of the Upper Finke River in Central Australia.1 The objective is to demonstrate how these frameworks—anthropological, theological, and cosmological—impacted the methods in which ethnographic data were conceptualized within different frames of reference. Special focus is placed on the Intichiuma ceremonies, as their interpretation became a point of contention in the debate encompassing theoretical and methodological foundations in the study of religion. This article aims to examine how different frameworks guided the interpretation of ethnographic material in a way that distorted the meaning of the Intichiuma ceremonies as a sacrificial ritual in Central Australia, refracting broader theoretical assumptions about the study of religion and reframing it as a sacrament of communion.
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