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7228 -- REITHOFER, HANS

The python spirit and the cross. Becoming Christian in a highland community of Papua New Guinea
(Göttinger Studien zur Ethnologie 16)
Münster: Lit Verlag 2006
392 pp., Euro 39.90; ISBN 3-8258-9336-7
Keywords: Somaip, Christianization, identity, "indigenizing" Christianity, conversion, negotiating identity, religion of Somaip

##This study explores the processes of Christianization among the Somaip, a linguistically divided but ritually united group of clans in the western Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Based on ethnographic fieldwork from 1998 to 2000, it focuses on three major issues: (a) conversion (b) the dynamics of "indigenizing" Christianity, and (c) the negotiation of a new (Christian) identity. The analysis proceeds from an exensive reconstruction of pre-Christian concepts and ritual practices which are also situated in a wider regional context. It is only against this richly painted background of the ancestral religion that one can appreciate the distinctive vigor of current Somaip Christianity as it has been shaped by the creative blending of two religious traditions and the tensions and resonances perceived between them.##

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