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The Slain GodAnthropologists and the Christian Faith$
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Timothy Larsen

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199657872

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657872.001.0001

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E. E. Evans-Pritchard

E. E. Evans-Pritchard

(p.80) 3 E. E. Evans-Pritchard
The Slain God

Timothy Larsen

Oxford University Press

E. E. Evans-Pritchard (1902–1973) was the leading anthropologist at the University of Oxford in the mid-twentieth century and the greatest British anthropologist of his generation. He obtained his doctoral training at the London School of Economics where Bronislaw Malinowski reigned, and did his fieldwork in the southern Sudan. Evans-Pritchard’s landmark study, Witchcraft, Oracles, and Magic among the Azande, challenged the existing assumption that ‘primitive’ people were ‘pre-logical’. An adult convert to Roman Catholicism, Evans-Pritchard launched a counter-attack against the rationalistic anthropologists, including Tylor and Frazer, who had dismissed religion as erroneous. His Nuer Religion was a defence of the theological sophistication and inherent worth of a traditional African religion. Evans-Pritchard himself was particularly drawn to mysticism as his own way of practising his Christian faith and as a valid source of authentic spiritual insights.

Keywords:   E. E. Evans-Pritchard, Azande, mysticism, Roman Catholicism, Nuer, University of Oxford, theology

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