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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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Victor Turner and Edith Turner

Victor Turner and Edith Turner

(p.174) 5 Victor Turner and Edith Turner
The Slain God

Timothy Larsen

Oxford University Press

Victor Turner (1920–1983) and his wife Edith Turner (1921– ) did fieldwork together among the Ndembu of what was then Northern Rhodesia. Victor was awarded a PhD from the University of Manchester and became a leading figure in the Manchester School, with its emphasis on extended cases studies and process. Agnostics and Communists as young adults, the Turners found faith and were received into the Roman Catholic Church in 1958. Soon after, they moved to the United States, with the University of Virginia becoming their final institutional home. They emphasized communitas as a more general category that helped them identify what was admirable in religion. They also went on Catholic pilgrimages as a way of combining their own practise of their faith with anthropological research. After Victor’s death, Edith emerged as an influential anthropologist in her own right. She has been a champion of the reality of spirits.

Keywords:   Victor Turner, Edith Turner, Communism, Manchester School, Ndembu, social drama, Roman Catholicism, pilgrimage, communitas, spirits

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