Theology Revealing the Hājibs of Anthropology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter proposes ways in which theology could promote a critique of idolatries in modern anthropology. It culls resources by scouring Nietzsche’s arguments against modernity. Nietzsche enables a vision of modern anthropology as symptomatic of God’s death in the West, thus inducing questions about the ways its adoration of idols may inhibit a truer inquiry. The chapter finds examples to this effect in anthropology’s engagement with the nation state, humanism, and the constitutive concept of culture. It then speculates as to how a theological repudiation of anthropology’s idols could support a conceptual and institutional renewal going far beyond enhancing its study of religion. For instance, anthropology awakened by theistic rationality could adequately engage with the concept of tradition. It could also forge a new grammar of connectivity within the discipline as well as within the disciplinary arrangements of the modern university.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTheologically Engaged Anthropology
Editors J. Derrick Lemons
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780198797852
StatePublished - 2018


  • Nietzsche
  • critique
  • Talal Asad
  • anthropological theory
  • renewal


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