Birgit Meyer: Aesthetics of Persuation: Global Christianity and Pentacostalism’s Sensational Forms

1. Global Christianity as a Framework:

Meyer argues that “by virtue of its foundational premise to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, Christianity is a world religion” – a stance that I thoroughly agree wtih. This raises questions of what is new – empirically and conceptually – about the notion of “global Christianity”. This notion spotlights a new, distinct mode through which Christianity becomes manifest in the world, which calls for special attention. New: current empirical phenomena – emergent modes of religiosity that did not exist before – and to theoretical innovation, which has repercussions for past and present conceptualisations.

Framework of global Christianity: actual present-day transformations & alternative approaches, through which our understandings of Christianity as we know it are altered.

2. Theological Contradiction:

universality of the Holy Spirit: everywhere, not tied to one priviledged locality. Ruth Marshall: contemporary archetype of Christianity as a community without an institution, but a community of a new type, proper to the forms of diffuse, individualised, and nonsomorphic forms of connectedess in our globalised world. (Marshall, Political Spiritualities, U of Chicago Press 2011)

vs highly contextualised, instrumentalised, institutions of Christianity in different social-political-economic configurations.

3. Divine made tangible in the immanent: Aesthetics, Forms, Persuation

Meyer’s universal appropriation of religiosity also reponds to her application of Kant’s aesthetics: for Kant, the appreication of beauty requires a disinterested beholder and yet depends on a feeling that is objective by virtue of being shared by others. (Kant, Kritik der Urteilskraft) Terry Eagleton (Eagleton!) further explains: Kant’s understanding of aesthetics as expressive of our universal human faculty of judgment, which predisposes us to feel the same, irrespective of our own subjective interests and decisions, provided a new ideological paradigm for bourgeois society. (Eagleton, The Ideology of Aesthetics, Oxford, Blackwell, 70-101) -> modern discourses on aesthetics and religion of the magical religiosity type are inscribed in the dualism of body and mind, in which the importance of sensations is recognised.

Sensational form: a necessary condition for expressing content and meaning and ethical norma and values; a modality or device that allows for repeated stereotyped actions.

More importantly – as I wish to stress or to complement Meyer’s argument – forms are authorised modes for invoking and organising access to the transcendetanl that shape both religious content and norms, which is the collective sensatoinal form, what Meyer calls the “aesthetics of persuation”

aesthetics of persuation religious sensations are socially produced. and their stereotyped repetition depends on the existence of formallised, authorised pracrices that frame individual religious sensations and enable their reproducibility. Religion as a particular aesthetics, embodies a prior forms which are not given as in Kant’s notion of sensus communis, but are “subject to the power of distribution, a political process of governing the very possibility of sensation”. That’s where I consider more analysis of contextual institutions should be added.

However Meyer…Simplifies Christian theology, or takes theology at its face level (e.g. the overly cited yet not analysed Bible verse); this dismissive attitude towards Christian theology also leads to the ignorance of contextual theology, which is salient in understanding Christianity as a Global religion.

About ting

from SHANGHAI to the WORLD


  1. Sharon xie

    How can i obtain more information on the people who studied there? My grandfather was graduated from this uni.

    Thank you


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