Inside the Cult: Religious Innovation and Transmission in Papua New Guinea

Paperback | July 1, 1995

byHarvey Whitehouse

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For the past thirty years, adherents of a millenarian cult in Papua New Guinea, known as the Pomio Kivung, have been awaiting the establishment of a period of supernatural bliss, heralded by the return of their ancestors bearing `cargo'. The author, Harvey Whitehouse, was taken for areincarnated ancestor, and was thus able to observe the dynamics of the cult from within. From the stable mainstream of the cult, localized splinter groups periodically emerge, hoping to expedite the millennium; the core of this volume concerns the close study of one such group in two Bainingvillages.The two aspects of the cult studied here - on the one hand a large, uniform, and stable mainstream organization with a well-defined hierarchy demanding orthodoxy of views, and on the other hand a small-scale and temporary movement, emotional and innovative in its views - stand in sharp contrast oneto the other, but are here seen as divergent manifestations of the same religious ideology, implemented in differing ways. This original theory of `modes of religiosity' which Whitehouse here develops draws on recent findings in cognitive psychology to link styles of codification and culturaltransmission to the political scale, structure, and ethos of religious communities.

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For the past thirty years, adherents of a millenarian cult in Papua New Guinea, known as the Pomio Kivung, have been awaiting the establishment of a period of supernatural bliss, heralded by the return of their ancestors bearing `cargo'. The author, Harvey Whitehouse, was taken for areincarnated ancestor, and was thus able to observe ...

Harvey Whitehouse is at Queen's University of Belfast.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:248 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.59 inPublished:July 1, 1995Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198280513

ISBN - 13:9780198280514

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