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Religious Regimes and State-formation : Perspectives From


European Ethnology
Wolf, Eric R.
State University of New York Press
0791406512
9780791406519
9780585063928
English
Religion and state--Europe, Religion and state--Israel, Religion
and state--Africa, North, Europe--Religion, Israel--Religion,
Africa, North--Religion, Europe--Ethnic relations, Israel-Ethnic relations, Africa, North--Ethnic relations.
1991
BL695.R45 1991eb
322/.1
Religion and state--Europe, Religion and state--Israel, Religion
and state--Africa, North, Europe--Religion, Israel--Religion,
Africa, North--Religion, Europe--Ethnic relations, Israel-Ethnic relations, Africa, North--Ethnic relations.

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Religious Regimes and State-Formation

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Page ii

Adrianus Koster and Daniel Meijers


General Editors

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Religious Regimes and State-Formation


Perspectives from European Ethnology
Edited by
Eric R. Wolf
STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK PRESS

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Production by Ruth East


Marketing by Bernadette LaManna
Published by
State University of New York Press, Albany
1991 State University of New York
All rights reserved
Printed in the United States of America
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the
case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
For information, address the State University of New York Press,
State University Plaza, Albany, NY 12246
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Religious regimes and state-formation: perspectives from European
ethnology / edited by Eric R. Wolf: [Adrianus Koster and Daniel
Meijers, general editors]
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-7914-0650-4. ISBN 0-7914-0651-2 (pbk.)
1. Religion and stateEurope. 2. Religion and stateIsrael.
3. Religion and stateAfrica, North. 4. EuropeReligion.
5. IsraelReligion. 6. Africa, NorthReligion. 7. EuropeEthnic
relations. 8. IsraelEthnic relations. 9. Africa, NorthEthnic
relations. I. Wolf, Eric Robert, 1923-. II. Koster, Adrianus,
1945-. III. Meijers, Daniel.
BL695.R45 1991
90-40609
322'.1dc20
CIP
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

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Page v

Contents
Foreword

vii

Daniel Meijers and Adrianus Koster


Introduction

Eric R. Wolf
1 Religious Regimes and State-Formation: Toward a Research Perspective

Mart Bax
2 Marian Apparitions in Medjugorje; Rivalling Religious Regimes and State-Formation in Yugoslavia

29

Mart Bax
3 The Struggle for Control of the Irish Body: State, Church, and Society in Nineteenth Century Ireland

55

Tom Inglis
4 Saints, Shrines, and Politics in Contemporary Israel

73

Alex Weingrod
5 The Role of Ritual in State-Formation

85

David I. Kertzer
6 Clericals Versus Socialists: Toward the 1984 Malta School War

105

Adrianus Koster

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7 The Sociogenesis of the Hasidic Movement: An Orthodox-Jewish Regime and State-Formation in Eighteenth- 133
Century Poland
Daniel Meijers
8 Cultural Change and Religious Belief: The Armenians of Cyprus

153

Susan P. Pattie
9 Secular and Religious Responses to a Child's Potentially Fatal Illness

163

William A. Christian Jr.


10 Spirits and the Spirit of Capitalism

181

Jane Schneider
11 The Virgin Mary and Marina Warner's Feminism

221

Peter Loizos
12 The Politics of Religion on the Hispano-African Frontier: An Historical-Anthropological View

237

Henk Driessen
13 License, Death, and Power: The Making of an Anti-Tradition

261

Mark Tate
List of Contributors

285

Index

287

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Page vii

Foreword
In Spring 1983, Mart Bax, Adrianus Koster, and Daniel Meijers, members of the Anthropology Department of the
Vrije Universiteit (Amsterdam), met at the home of one of them to discuss faculty problems. Stimulated by Dutch gin
and good cigars, they concluded that their specializationspolitical anthropology and religious anthropologyhad
drifted apart; something should be done about this deplorable development.
In the months that followed, Mart Bax set himself to the task to write a research programme to that end, which he
called Religious Regimes and State-Formation. Meanwhile Dan Meijers, together with Ad Koster, planned to
organize a conference on the relationships between these two important fields of life1.
The plans were almost shelves as a result of the poor academic climate and the worldwide recession. Nevertheless, a
number of friends and colleagues were contacted, among them Ernest Gellner, M. Estellie Smith, and Eric R. Wolf.
In December 1985, however, during the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association in
Washington D.C., new opportunities turned up. Eric Wolf invited Bax, Koster, and Meijers to a working-breakfast at
his hotel. During that breakfast a clear strategy for the conference was worked out.
Back at home Meijers and Koster in particular started the enormous preparations. They were later assisted by Hens
Kraemer.
A Committee of Honor was formed consisting of the following prominent scholars and citizens: Professor Jan van
Baal (former Governor of Dutch New Guinea and Emeritus Professor in Cultural
1 In December 1979 the successful Conference Religion and Religious Movements was held at the Vrije
Universiteit. It was co-chaired by Ernest Gellner and Eric R. Wolf and the proceedings were published in
Wolf (1984) and Gellner (1985).

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Page viii

Anthropology at the State University of Utrecht and at the University of Amsterdam), Professor Henri Claessen
(chairman of the National Section Social and Cultural Anthropology/Sociology of Development), Professor Pieter J.
D. Drenth (Rector of the Vrije Universiteit), Professor Johan Goudsblom (Professor of Sociology at the University of
Amsterdam), Professor Andr J. F. Kbben of the Centre for the Study of Social Conflict, Professor Dick Mulder
(Chairman of the Dutch Council of Churches), Professor Pim Schoorl (chairman of the Department of Social
Anthropology/Sociology of Development at the Vrije Universiteit), and Ed van Thijn, Mayor of Amsterdam.
Funds were raised. Substantial support to the conference was given by The Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and
Sciences KNAW, The Netherlands Ministry of Education and Sciences, the Van den Berch van Heemsteede
Foundation, MMS Computers and Software (Bode-graven), the Department of Social Anthropology, and the Faculty
of Socio-Cultural Studies of the Vrije Universiteit.
The conference took place during 22-26 June 1987. It happily coincided with the festivities to celebrate the 90th
birthday of the late, lamented Norbert Elias. The organizers were very pleased that Professor Elias not only
generously allowed the conference to be dedicated to his honor but also took the pains to address the conference
personally. Furthermore, the cooperation of the Norbert Elias Foundation was much appreciated.
Ernest Gellner and Eric Wolf once more showed their academic qualities, humor, and wit amongst them, while cochairing the conference. John Davis, Charles Gullick, Matthew Schoffeleers, Estellie Smith, and Jojada Verrips were
able discussants.
At the 26th June, 1987 a steering committee was formed, consisting of Mart Bax, John Davis, Ernest Gellner, Johan
Goudsblom, Adrianus Koster, Daniel Meijers, Estellie Smith, and Eric Wolf. It was decided that Daniel and Adrianus
should be made responsible, as general editors, for the two books planned to be the offspring of the conference.
The publication plans enjoyed the continued support of the following original sponsors The KNAW, The
Netherlands Ministry of Education and Sciences, the Department of Social Anthropology, and the Faculty of SocioCultural Studies of the Vrije Universiteit. It is not easy nowadays to publish academic books of quality. Many
troubles have to be overcome. The final preparations for publication took great pains. However, Karin Bijker, who
succeeded Hens Kraemer, kept the
2 The second volume too, edited by Ernest Gellner, is well under way.

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train on the rails and going. Dick de Maa compiled the index.
It is with great pleasure that we see this first book with the conference proceedings ready,2 which incidentally is also
the first book to appear under the auspices of the recently set-up Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics at the
Vrije Universiteit. We are grateful to its editor, Eric Wolf, for his stimulating suggestions and to the authors, the
publishers and all persons and instances involved.
Amsterdam, September 1990
DANIEL MEIJERS
ADRIANUS KOSTER
References
Eric R. Wolf ed. 1984. Religion, Power and Protest in Local Communities: The Northern Shore of the
Mediterranean. Berlin: Mouton.
Ernest Gellner ed. 1985. Islamic Dilemma's: Reformers, Nationalists and Industrialization. Berlin: Mouton.

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Introduction
Eric R. Wolf
The conference on ''Religious Regimes and State-Formation" was held in 1987 to address the themes sounded in
Mart Bax's important paper by that title. In that statement, Bax argued for a research perspective that could overcome
the received practice of treating religion and politics as wholly separate and independent domains. Rather than
treating religion purely as a realm of meaning, without reference to issues of power, or dealing with politics as the
province of power, without raising questions of meaning, Bax suggested that research study power and meaning in
their "antagonistic interdependencies." Not only did this mean that religious and political regimes had to be seen in
relation to one another, but that close attention should also focus on the internal and external contests among rival
groups of claimants over how political and religious regimes should be constituted. The papers in the present
collection represent responses to this call for such a significant shift in attention on the part of ethnologists and
sociologists engaged in the study of Europe.
Mart Bax's own contribution to the conference dealt with "Marian Apparitions in Medjugorje: Rivalling Religious
Regimes and State-Formation in Yugoslavia." The reported appearances of the Virgin Mary set the ecclesiastical
hierarchyopposing the developing cultagainst the Franciscan Friars who supported it. This conflict illustrates an
internal conflict of religious regimes within a changing field of power. The Franciscans, who for many centuries
were the main agents of pastoral care in the diocese of Mostar, were displaced in the last quarter of the nineteenth
century through the establishment of a diocesan hierarchy, served by secular clergy. At the same time, the religious
hierarchy became involved in conflicts with the state, con-

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flicts that intensified with the establishment of a Socialist state in Yugoslavia after World War II. Yet, after Vatican
II, hierarchy and state also worked out patterns of mutual accommodation. Pressured by both hierarchy and state,
however, the Franciscans turned to the new Roman Catholic charismatic movement, and opened up the Franciscan
regimen to participation by the laity. This shift in religious intensification provided the context for understanding the
developing cult at Medjugorje, as a challenge to both diocesianization and state control.
Tom Inglis, in his contribution on "The Struggle for Control of the Irish Body: State, Church, and Society in
Nineteenth Century Ireland," then deals directly and in some detail with the question of how and why Catholicism
developed such a strong appeal to the Irish people in the nineteenth century. The conquering English state and the
Catholic church, at first bitter enemies, developed patterns of mutual accommodation in this period. The state
delegated to the Church the task of socializing the rebellious Irish into acceptance of patterns of social orderliness,
while the Church, in turn, became a vehicle for the social aspirations of Catholic believers. To become socially
respectable and mobile, the Irish people accepted religiously phrased social controls on their behavior, notably over
the comportment of the physical "body" and its appetites. Thus, the Catholic church "civilized" the Irish through
religious moralization rather than through the inculcation of secularized civility.
Alex Weingrod, in "Saints, Shrines, and Politics in Contemporary Israel," shifts the scene to the developing cult of a
Jewish saint, buried in Beersheba, in Israel's southern or Negev region. The tomb of the saint, which was moved
from Tunisia to Israel, has become a center for pilgrimages and devotions along patterns that suggest a kinship with
Moroccan Islamic maraboutism. The pilgrimages have proved most attractive to North African Jews, notably
Moroccans. Weingrod relates the popularity of the cult both to the experience of discrimination by North African
Jews in Israel at the hand of European-born or Israel-bred Ashkenazi Jews, and to political conflicts in the
secularized state, which these Jews have tended to dominate. Participation in the cult is related to the new ethnic and
nationalist politics through which North African Jews are attempting to widen the scope of their political influence.
David I. Kertzer takes up the larger issues of ritual and its importance in his discussion of "The Role of Ritual in
State-Formation." In that contribution, Kertzer achieves two goals: a discussion of the role of ritual in both religion
and politics, and an account of the antagonistic interplay between the Vatican and the Italian state. Kertzer's general
discussion, based on wide-ranging cross-cultural compari-

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sons, opens up interesting perspectives on our theoretical comprehension of ritual in both its religious and political
contexts. His treatment of Church-State relations through the successive phases of Italian state-formation, the
reduction of papal control over its own state, the advent of the monarchy, the development of Fascism, and the
difficult interactions governing the contests between the political and religious domains during the postwar
republican regime, offers a valuable synopsis of "antagonistic interdependency" in one European state.
Adrianus Koster's paper on "Clericals versus Socialists" in Malta, in turn, is a free demonstration of the utility of
Bax's approach in tracing: first, the relationship of the Roman Catholic church and the British imperial state, and,
second, the conflicts and accommodations experienced by the Catholic church in dealing with the demands of the
secularizing independent Republic. As in Ireland, the British state used the Church to stabilize Maltese society, an
arrangement that then came under severe challenge when Malta gained its own political independence. Koster's
account is doubly interesting in showing how the contest between church and state came to center specifically on the
issue of who was to control education. The rivalries between church and state are shown not only to involve
"Christians" and "Socialists," but internal conflicts within the Roman Catholic church, as the Vatican began to curtail
the powers of the ecclesiastical hierarchy in favor of accommodation with the new claimants to power after Vatican
II.
Koster's paper is then followed by the contributions of Daniel Meijers and Susan P. Pattie, each dealing with
religious developments and alignments under very different political circumstances. Daniel Meijers has provided a
well developed study of the rise of Hasidism in Eastern Europe, in "The Sociogenesis of the Hasidic Movement." He
shows how the intensification of state building and the rise of popular rebellious movements in Eastern Europe,
which were not only carried on by a scholar-elite pursuing a "rational" style of thought through teaching but also
carried on in a network of religious schools, weakened the Jewish religious regime. That scholar-elite was supported
both by state policies that delegated considerable rights of serf-management to Jewish communities, and by the
considerable prosperity gained by these communities through mercantile activities in a predominantly rural
environment. As states abandoned their support of communities, and as popular upheavals attacked the basis of
Jewish prosperity, the Jewish population became increasingly impoverished and threatened in their ability to survive.
Hasidism is then shown as a response on the part of a population under stress, a

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response that favored a general participation of believers in a religion of "the heart" over elite control through the
teaching of enlightenment rationality.
Susan P. Pattie, writing on "Cultural Change and Religious Belief: The Armenians of Cyprus," provides a
counterpoint drawn from another beleaguered population. While her focus is on the Armenians of Cyprus, the paper
engages also, on a more general level, the ways in which the Armenian church has helped to maintain Armenian
identity in the midst of conflicting and often genocidal political attacks on Armenian communities. She also raises
the question of how Armenian identity is to be maintained, as the religious mode of ethnic maintenance comes under
challenge by various secularizing currents that arise in the contexts created by the Armenian diaspora in the present
day.
The study by William A. Christian Jr. of "Secular and Religious Responses to a Child's Potentially Fatal Illness,"
based on field work in the Canary Islands, takes a narrower and more immediately ethnographic turn by focusing on
how a family dealt with a child's brain tumor. It sensitively traces out, through genealogical reckoning, how family
members and members of the larger kinship networkbelonging to different generations and involving different
responses by men and women, as well as located in different locations in the islands and on the mainlandrally in the
quest of a cure. This quest involves simultaneous appeals to the saints and to the procedures of modern medicine.
Christian interprets the saints as kinds of "supernatural doctors"; he discusses how the afflicted enter as clients into
both secular and supernaturally conceived sets of patrons and clients.
Jane Schneider's contribution on "Spirits and the Spirit of Capitalism" returns the discussion to a more theoretically
oriented level in a paper that deals with the displacement or replacement of beliefs in spirits by modes of thought
associated with the rise of capitalism. She suggests that beliefs in spirits stem from a religious orientation that strives
for an equitable balance between humans and aspects of "nature," an orientation exhibited in popular cults in which
the possible anger of supernatural forces must be bent away by various kinds of transaction. With the rise of
capitalism, this equity-conscious orientation yields to a religious mode that favors the more active exploitation of
both people and nature. The transactions that favor a more equitable, ecologically grounded set of relations among
people and forces are abrogated in favor of a more abstract, non-ecological, universalizing religious involvement that
grants stronger definition to individual self-seeking, by making the serf subject to autonomous moral demands.

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There are, finally, three papers which in various ways raise queries about aspects of the discussion. Peter Loizos, in
"The Virgin Mary and Marina Warner's Feminism" takes issue with the Marina Warner interpretation of the causes
concerning the development of the cult of the Virgin Mary. He argues, specifically, that views that see Mary
primarily as a symbolic representation of female oppression fad to do justice to the fact that the intensification of
Marian devotion, since 1800, occurs precisely in a period also marked by the steady emancipation of women, not
only through greater legal rights in inheritance, enhanced access to education, and widening opportunities for social
mobility but also by greatly broadened political emancipation.
Henk Driessen, in "The Politics of Religion on the Hispano-African Frontier," deals with the interactions between
Christians and Muslims in one of the Spanish enclaves in Morocco. Here the political and military encounter
between Christian and Islamic polities was accompanied by oscillations between religious confrontation and
tolerance. By detailing the modes of these varied encounters in frontier outposts, Driessen argues for an
ethnographically and historically detailed inquiry into the interaction between regimes, paying special attention to
religious apostasy and reincorporation.
The collection concludes with the paper by Mark Tate on "License, Death, and Power: The making of an AntiTradition." Tate depicts the rise of a popular, nonreligious ritual that focuses on the figure of a socially marginal
reprobate, who adopts many forms of ritual hallowed by religious tradition. The ritual is clearly secular, opposing the
traditional regimes of the Catholic church and state in Spain, with a satirical performance. As such, it serves to raise
the question of how political and religious regimes, by their very force and majesty, can provoke antireligious and
antistate responses. Where simpler and less hierarchical societies, such as, for example, those of the American
Indians, who often incorporate these antagonistic responses in their formal rituals through the action of clowns, here
the weight of the hierarchy has driven the responses clearly outside the realm of organized and legitimized power.
These papers suggest a new departure in the study of religion. Like earlier inquiries, they raise questions about the
nature of belief and ritual performance, but they understand these not merely as replicating religious traditions, but as
ongoing arguments about the shifting and changing distribution of power among people. These shifts occur within
religious regimes, as well as between them; they articulate in complex ways the changing power balances between
political institutions. Thus, the contributions to this volume uncover a

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subtle dimension of political transactions that has not been attended to in studies more closely focused on the
organization of religious and political institutions as separate and autonomous entities.

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1
Religious Regimes and State-Formation: Toward a Research Perspective
Mart Bax
". . . modern anthropology . . . has rarely thought fit to address itself to Christian history, and in matters of this
kind most anthropologists are at least as traditional as the societies they usually study."
Asad 1983, 238
Introduction: Problems and Pretenses
The announcement that Pope John Paul II was going to visit Poland (his homeland) for a second time in 1983 made
headlines all over the world. The event was widely interpreted as a kind of confrontation between two rival powers:
one spiritual and the other worldly. The head of a quasi-state was about to come and greet "his" subjects. He would
address them, encourage them and give them his blessing. Why did Wojciech Jaruzelski, the head of a powerful
state, refrain from preventing the leader of a spiritual organization from setting foot upon his territory?
Without access to the privileged correspondence between Warsaw and the Vatican, and to the diplomatic
negotiations, a satisfactory answer cannot be readily given. Yet this at least seems to be clear: the Roman Catholic
church is indeed a force to be reckoned with, for it commands considerable powers of its own, which even a state can

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overlook only at its peril. It may be that Jaruzelski acceded to the pope's plans in order to strengthen his own regime.
Simultaneously, however, Rome could exploit the papal visit to strengthen its own regime: a regime that transcends
national boundaries.
During his travels in Poland, the pope was closely guarded and carefully supervised. The state demonstrated
everywhere its apparent superiority. Both the army and the police were put on show as an imposing and powerful
means for the maintenance of public order. Yet, the pope was still able to derive considerable political capital out of
his visit, as the following, well-known example may illustrate. In the presence of the Polish authorities, he embraced
the widow whose husband was incarcerated during demonstrations in Gdansk and later died in prison. It was reported
that the pope wept profusely with her. A more spectacular and effective form of protest on the part of someone who
lacks any effective control over the means of physical violence is well-nigh impossible to conceive. But what kind of
power is this? Why is such symbolic behavior so effective in the face of a worldly power?
Questions such as these cannot be answered satisfactorily, because in anthropology it has been almost standard
practice to treat religion and politics as the private preserves of separate subdisciplines that almost invariably become
mired in their own theoretical presuppositions. Religion is approached largely from a symbolic or culturological
point of view. It is conceptualized as a system of meaning (supported by symbols and rituals) concerning "ultimate"
goals. This approach does not leave much room for a systematic inquiry into the social conditions and forces that
generate and change such systems of meaning. Political anthropology suffers from a similar kind of one-sidedness. In
the description of competitive processes, the cultural dimensionidiom, rhetoric, ritual, ideologyis usually treated as
little more than a power source. Systems of meaning consequently tend to be relegated to the realm of the so-called
dependent variables. In short, in both political anthropology and religious anthropology the mutual conditioning of
power and meaning is largely neglected.
One of the remarkable advantages of Norbert Elias's approach is that it consistently assigns a central position to the
mutual conditioning of processes of meaning and of power. The collective representations of people, their standards
of behavior, and their feelings can be understood only in connection with the networks of interdependencies that
people form together. This premise, which lies at the basis of Elias's writings, may provide a perspective for a more
adequate approach. Curiously enough, in relation to religion, Elias himself does not practice what he preaches. In The
Civilizing Process, his opus

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magnum on civilization and state-formation (Elias 1978, 1982), religion remains a system of meaning, dependent
upon other power constellations. Although this line of criticism has often been pursued, it has not infrequently been
brushed aside with a passing reference to some of the author's obiter dicta: to the effect, for example, that religion
does not exert any civilizing power of its own. This could well be the case: but it still overlooks the fact that, even in
the extended historical period which Elias examined, there were indeed constellations of people who were engaged in
religious activities; who appealed to religion in order to legitimize their activities in other spheres of life; and who
thereby incorporated other individuals and groups into their religious fellowship. These are precisely the religious
configurations that Elias rarely, if ever, treats seriously. To put it bluntly. Elias overlooks the relative autonomy of
religious processes. He thereby deprives himself not only of the possibility of acquainting himself with those
processes, but (above all) of understanding the significance of religion for the processes of civilization and stateformation.
The present paper elaborates this line of criticism in a constructive way. It deals with three closely related issues.
First, it shows that Elias's theoretical model of state-formation provides a useful starting point for the study of
religious configurations. Second, it argues that processes of religion-formation and state-formation have much in
common, while, at the same time, they also show remarkable differences. Comparison of them may therefore
improve our insight into the development of each separately, and of the two in combination. Third, it proposes a
perspective for studying religion which could help to eliminate the one-sided approach mentioned above. The
argument is based almost entirely upon Roman Catholicism in Europe. Only future research, along similar lines, in
other areas and with different religions, can establish the cross-cultural range of that perspective.
Religious Regimes: Aspects of a concept
A religious regime could be defined as a formalized and institutionalized constellation of human interdependencies
of variable strength, which is legitimized by religious ideas and propagated by religious specialists. The concept of
regime opens up a number of perspectives for research and theory-building. To begin with, religious regimes are
power-constellations, and as such they can be fruitfully compared with other social constellations. Religious regimes
are also political constellations. This implies, among other things, the formulation of

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ideologies and the working out of tactics and strategies of "how to fight and how to win" confrontations, encounters,
and collusions. Nor does this exhaust the concept. It also induces us to investigate religion in terms of cultural
content, structural form, and the interplay between these two aspects. Regime also implies dynamics; and, since it is
an "open" concept, it can be employed for all kinds of religious phenomena and at various levels of societal
integration.
Religious Regimes and States: A Preliminary Exploration
Antagonistic Interdependencies
Even the most cursory perusal of history books and daily newspapers shows us that the major world religions and
states have always been connected with one another. In the late Roman Empire, Christianity and the Roman Catholic
church were important means of pacification and domestication in the hands of secular rulers. During the seventh and
eighth centuries, Islam played a vital role in the Arab expansion over large parts of Europe. In the name of Allah,
large numbers of Arabs were mobilized and sent into battle. In their attempts to expand and consolidate their
regimes, the Frankish princes were dependent upon the Church and its resources. The colonial expansion of the
South and West European nations into America and Africa would not have been as successful as it was without the
active support of the Church. The Conquistadores established mission posts wherever they went; and they
contributed significantly to the process of pacification in these regions and the domestication of their inhabitants.
Until the recent coup in the Sudan, President Numeyry sought the support of the Muslim Brotherhoods and Sufi
organizations in the north as a means of increasing his influence in the Christian and (partly) animistic south.
Jaruzelski is continually seeking ways of neutralizing the centrifugal forces in his country, but he cannot afford to
overlook the resources of the Church in this process. In some Latin American countries, heads of state can be
observed pursuing similar routes toward internal pacification and integration.
Examples such as these suggest that religious regimes play an important role in processes of state-formation and statedevelopment. The opposite, however, is equally true: for their expansion, religious regimes are often dependent upon
states. Seen from a long-term perspective, these interdependencies seem to exhibit a far from harmonious character.
States, for instance, try to incorporate (or des-

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troy) churches and related religious institutions; but they never succeed completely. Religious regimes, in turn, try to
make states dependent upon them by taking over functions from the state. Apparently, then, religious regimes and
their secular counterparts constitute antagonistically interdependent configurations. A partial explanation is that the
two have important characteristics in common.
Similarities and an Important Difference
Religious regimes and states have much in common. Both fulfill important functions in the spheres of social
organization and cultural orientation. Both of them develop policies toward nation-building and community-building.
Both contain structures for internal control and external defense: they are defense-and-attack units. Both types of
regime are thus confronted with problems of internal cohesion and external confrontation; and both try to solve these
problems by attracting resources which they attempt to monopolize. The more differentiated religious regimes are
characterized by a formal division of powers similar to the trias politica of states. Finally, like secular regimes
(states), religious regimes are also characterized by their expansionist tendencies: both strive to extend their
territories and to exert their influence over other sectors of society.
There are also a number of striking differences between religious regimes and states. A major difference lies in the
sources of their power. Viewed from a long-term perspective, states have gained effective control over the means of
violence and taxation, whereas most religious regimes have lost control over these vital power sources. These gains
and losses have far-reaching consequences, as will be demonstrated in the following sections.
The Dynamics of Religious Regimes
Origin
A religious regime is a dynamic phenomenon, being in a state of constant development. Its dynamics spring from
three sources, to wit: the relationship between the religious regime and the worldly regime with which it is linked; its
confrontations with other religious regimes; and internal tensions and polarities between what may be called the
''dominant religious regime" and the "dominated regime." The Roman

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Catholic church serves as an example to illustrate these abstract assertions. 1


The Church's regime expanded dramatically throughout large tracts of West and Southwest Europe during the
Middle Ages. This was mostly due to its strong position against the secular rulers. It commanded important power
sources; even its control over the means of physical violence was considerable. Its superior position was maintained
for several centuries amidst the tensions between rival princes. Paradoxically, however, the expansion and
consolidation of the ecclesiastical regime ultimately contributed to the very conditions that undermined its own
powers. The religious orders opened up extensive tracts of virgin land and transformed them into new settlements,
which were attractive spoils for predatory princes. In the schools of churches and monasteries laymen were taught
reading and writing, which was a necessary condition for the emergence of rival lay elites. The religious orders also
contributed significantly to more pacified forms of trade. An extensive network of monasteries, which encompassed
rapidly expanding lay settlements, offered safety and shelter to merchants and itinerant tradesmen. They were also
attractive targets for power hungry princes.
The struggle to maintain their conquests compelled these princes to search for the resources with which to reward
their minions and retain their allegiance. Their increasing control over the means of violence even enabled them to
pose as protectors, thus facilitating the collection of "protection money" from churches and monasteries.2 In this
way, the balance of power swung gradually to favor the worldly rulers, whereas the regime of the Church assumed a
more specifically religious character.
The expansion of the Church into "The world" also provoked a critical discussion of its doctrines and practices.
Alternative religious regimes began to spring up in many places. Some of these "heretical" movements became a
serious challenge to the regime of the Church.3 The various Protestant churches were among the most important of
these counter-regimes. They were protected and exploited by the worldly rulers in their striving for nation-building.
The rise of religious counter-regimes and the extended power of states provoked further changes in the Roman
Catholic regime.4 Protestant regimes forced the Church to more sobriety, increasing rigidity, and privatization.
Public, more or less spontaneous, and collective forms of penitence gradually retreated into the confessional box.
Penance became a privileged conversation between the individual penitent and a priest. Greater emphasis was placed
upon priestly celibacy. Ordinands had to study in a seminary. Bishops were corn-

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pelled to reside in their dioceses and priests in their parishes. Even monastic life was drastically transformed. Double
cloisters were abolished on a large scale, the rules of the enclosed orders were tightened, emphasis on a sober life and
the renunciation of property was reflected in ever more rules. Furthermore, the process of canonizing saints was more
centrally controlled and carefully scrutinized.
Diminishing access to the means of physical violence, the loss of its monopoly in the fields of science and
knowledge, together with diminishing control over economic resources, brought about radical changes in the Roman
Catholic regime. It became increasingly a moral community. Physical violence was condemned and moral persuasion
was strongly propagated. The teaching of the Church and its pastoral practice began to stress the need for
reconciliation. The "pacific" Christ became a root paradigm for human conduct. Thus, the Church sanctified itself
and made itself holy; and the laity's esteem for the religious specialists grew.
The growing influence of states, and the emerging national states, also revived the centrifugal forces among the
religious specialists. The princes strove to make the religious organizations subservient to their policies and
attempted to "nationalize" religion in their domains. Indeed, local and national church leaders, such as bishops and
other dignitaries of the Church, were readily amenable to such pressures, whereas the monastic priests, with their
wide networks of contacts, were more resistant to this kind of overture. 5 This was one of the reasons Rome
remobilized the religious orders, tightened up its control of monastic activities, and deployed those forces to a much
greater extent in its local pastoral ministry. Their mobility gave Rome a certain respite in the struggle for power
between the Church and the princes, because their loyalties transcended national loyalties. Monastic religious
specialists were not only capable of maintaining the loyalty of the faithful to Rome, but also of exerting pressure on
the more vulnerable diocesan clergy. This internationalization made the monastic priests, almost by definition, into
enemies of the state; even their pastoral ministry at the local level was increasingly dangerous in the sense that such
activities could be regarded as suspect or even subversive by their worldly masters. In order to circumvent such
difficulties, the bishops increasingly adopted a different strategy: they strove to align the policies of their worldly
superiors with the directives from Rome. After all, they were dependent upon the latter for their office and for their
eventual promotion.
Even if the dangers of fragmentation temporarily subsided, the advent of a united Italy put considerable pressure
upon the Papal States. Indeed, there was a danger that they would disappear alto-

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gether. Together with the secular pressures under which the bishops had to perform theft duties, this was the most
important reason for organizing Vatican I (1869-1870). In this context, it is understandable that the most important
issue was the solemn proclamation of the infallibility of the pope. (A similar attempt was made earlier, at the Council
of Trent; but the bishops were far too powerful in those days, and the external threat to the papacy was less serious.)
6 Vatican I transformed the Roman Catholic church into a centralized, hierarchical, and supra-national religious
regime in which moral interdependencies were carefully formulated. Any use of physical force within the regime was
forbidden, and its use by other organizations, such as states, was publicly stigmatized by the religious regime.
"Power" gained a negative connotation and it seemed to have been banned from religious rhetorics. Religion and
politics thus became separate spheres. The first was the domain of the Church, while the second was the prerogative
of the state. The Roman Catholic regime adopted a stance that was detached from the state and transcended the
interests of national states. For these reasons, it developed into an opponent to be reckoned with.
Expansion
We must emphasize again that religious regimes are dynamic systems. They exhibit a tendency toward both
territorial and sectoral expansion. It is remarkable, though, that this expansionism has always been taken for granted
in the social sciences. Explanations in terms of ideology seem to suffice: "Go out into the whole world and proclaim
the Good News to all creation" (Mark 16, 16). However, the sociogenetic conditions generating such an ideology and
the forces maintaining it, never seem to be the subject of inquiry. Whence this tendency toward expansion?
For secular regimes (states), this problem has been dealt with at great length by Norbert Elias in The Civilizing
Process (Vol. 2 1982). Processes of competition and monopolization take a central place in his description and
explanation of state-formation (of France in particular). Given certain conditions, which need not detain us here,
feudal princes were forced to compete with each other to uphold the strength of their domains. The slightly stronger
ones in this power-field conquered the weaker ones, using the latter's territories as buffers against (potential) rivals;
this extension, in turn, forced them to expand theft governing apparatus. In these ongoing and related processes of
competition and control, a pattern began to emerge: the

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number of contestants became smaller and their domains larger, while their control systems grew more complex. The
increasing concentration of power ultimately resulted in the formation of the French state, founded on the closely
related monopolies of the organized means of violence and taxation. However, this was not the end of the driving
forces of competition and monopoly-formation. As Elias observes, within states "bounded competition" leads not
only to an increasingly complex organization of the twin monopolies of violence and taxation, it also induces the
monopolization of other spheres of life. The author further points out that the former "unbounded competition" in the
French area, continues at a higher level, that is, between states. To summarize, according to Elias, territorial and
sectorial expansion are the outcome of an interplay between intra-and inter-state competition. The question now is
whether Elias's insights can help us to understand more clearly the expansionist tendencies of religious regimes. The
following case may provide an answer.
The Expansion of a Roman Catholic Regime in Dutch Brabant
Up to the present day, the province of North Brabant has constituted an arena in which religious specialists have
competed with each other for the control of the faithful. 7 In this long struggle the state played a not inconsiderable
role. Especially during the Republic of the United Netherlands, and indeed, right up to the end of the eighteenth
century, North Brabant was discriminated against in many respects by the Protestant-dominated government.
Downgraded to a colonial status, it was heavily burdened by taxes. The diocesan organization was abolished, monks
and nuns were evicted and their possessions confiscated. There were also laws making provisions for placards
prohibiting the public celebration of the Roman Catholic faith. But despite all these setbacks, the monastic priests
and the diocesan clergy continued to be involved in a more or less hidden rivalry for clientele. The monastic priests,
however, were in a more favorable position. In addition to all the local and regional shrines, they controlled the
majority of the parishes. They were able to do so because their depleting ranks could be replenished by regularly
importing new personnel from what is now Belgium. The "protection money" they had to pay for their clandestine
ministry went to the local government.
The monastic regime began to lose its position of pastoral

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supremacy at the end of the eighteenth century when Napoleon occupied the southern Netherlands. They were cut off
from their traditional recruiting ground. Meanwhile, the Republic, which still officially controlled Brabant, was wary
of a "fifth column" on its territory and concluded an unofficial pact with some influential diocesan priests. The latter
were given permission to establish a seminary, which flourished for many decades and provided Brabant with a
regular supply of diocesan priests. With occasional support from the government, the monks were gradually eased
out of their strategic pastoral positions and replaced by young diocesan priests. This process was completed in 1853
when the diocesan organization was reinstated. It was then decided that only diocesan priests could be deployed in
the parishes, and this formally confirmed theft monopoly over the parochial administration.
The task of the bishops was to maintain and protect that monopoly. They had nothing to fear from the diocesan
priests, because the bishops had them under control. Nevertheless, the old rivalries soon reemerged, for the monastic
priests by no means disappeared from the scene. On the contrary, many of the itinerant members of the religious
orders (who compared themselves with Christ, who also had nowhere to lay his head) began to draw crowds. Their
influence on the rural population was considerable. They baptized, heard confessions, ministered to the sick and
dying, administered the last rites, and performed miracles of healing on people and cattle. The ranks of the itinerants
were soon augmented by an influx of monks and nuns who had been banished from Germany, Belgium, and France.
They were attracted to the Netherlands by its religious liberty, which was much more generous and tolerant after the
promulgation of the new constitution in 1848. They settled in great numbers in Brabant, where they soon opened and
staffed their own schools, almshouses, and hospitals. They also founded their own novitiates.
This renewed expansion of monastic influence was perceived as a great threat by the diocesan officials, but it was
virtually impossible to enlist the help of Rome in this particular struggle. Appeal to the Dutch government for
support was, of course, entirely out of the question. There was only one way out: to fight the religious orders with
theft own weapons. That course set in motion yet another round of competition and monopolization. The prelates
also urged theft priests and curates to set up religious organizations and clergy-run institutions. They defended their
policy to Rome by arguing that every effort had to be made to "emancipate" the backward peasant population and
guide them as well-equipped Catholics into modern Dutch society.

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During the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the competition for personnel, lay clientele, and other resources
gathered momentum and assumed greater features of a self-sustaining and reinforcing process. Gradually, however,
the diocesan camp turned out to be stronger. Their superior organization, discipline, internal cohesion, and
cooperation with the secular authorities, and their greater numbers of personnel gradually enabled them to
encapsulate the smaller and mutually competing monastically-run institutions, or to make them dependent in other
respects. Thus, another round of competition had been won by the diocesan organization, now definitely the
dominant regime.
The rivalries, however, continued, and the battlefield became too small for the competing parties. The dioceses were
slightly enlarged, and the battle was exported to the overseas mission fields. These changes, in turn, compelled both
regimes to expand and extend their bureaucracies at home. The diocesan bureaucracy in particular became
increasingly top-heavy, and the power of the bishop to control it was actually diminished.
By the early decades of the present century an impressive social configuration had emerged among the Brabant
population, firmly led by the "garbed circuit." It included the sectors of education, welfare, and recreation, most
political organizations, the Farmers' Union with its multifarious economic branches, the laborers' union, and the
employers' association. They all were run by religious personnel or supervised by "spiritual advisers" (diocesan
priests), and almost all communication channels converged at a single nodal point, the diocesan headquarters.
A flourishing diocesan regime dominated the Brabant scene until the early 1950s, when signs of friction, resistance,
and decline began to appear. The first symptoms appeared among the religious specialists. Seminary enrollment
stagnated and later declined seriously; convents and monasteries were also confronted with a rapid fall in the number
of novices. Evidently, the priesthood was no longer the highly-valued career it had been for so long. Also,
anticlericalism emerged among the leading rural laity. This elite, better equipped for many modern, specialized tasks
than their "garbed" counterparts, began to resist clerical interference with "worldly affairs," interpreting it as outdated
tutelage and not in line with the major tendency in ohter Catholic areas in the Netherlands. Consequently, the
Brabantian diocese urged its clerics to withdraw gradually from those worldly fields. Thus, unforeseen and
unintended, the emancipation movement, stimulated by clerical factionalism, had created the conditions for the
declining power of its religious leadership and had contributed

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to the emergence of a new lay elite.


The movement also entailed changes in religious attitudes and practices. The new elite, quickly adapting themselves
to the northern Dutch (non-Catholic) standards of behavior and cultural codes, found it increasingly difficult to
participate in public religious performances such as processions and confraternities. They reminded them of bygone
times when Brabant was a backward area suppressed by the Protestant North. Under the pressure of these
circumstances, the ecclesiastical authorities adopted a policy aimed at a more restricted spiritual guidance program
and a general liturgical sobriety. The teachings of Vatican II reinforced this process.
To the less emancipated Brabantinesthe victims of the process of agrarian modernizationthe ecclesiastical policy
implied a serious loss of identity and orientation. They began to feel like strangers in their own parish church, which
was run by clerics and a lay establishment with whom they had almost nothing in common. So almost automatically
(and no longer constrained by bonds of agrarian dependency) they were drawn to the other section of religious
specialists, the monastic clergy and their fellow religious. The latter were only too willing to help. Like theft
diocesan counterparts, they had lost many of theft functions. Indeed, monasteries and convents had suffered the most
from the general declericalization process, and their aging personnel saw theft educational and welfare functions
taken over by better educated lay people and specialized state agencies. Consequently, the raison d'tre of these
persons, bound to live in congregations and to conduct an "apostolate in the world," was at stake. In search of new
ways to put their religious mission to practice, they found their target groups among the less emancipated rural
Brabantines.
In rural Brabant the consequences of these developments are not difficult to identify. The diocesan regime is now in
a state of deep decline. But the monastic regime is gaining in importance. While the parish churches are increasingly
empty, the chapels of monasteries and convents are now attracting visitors. The monastic influence is consequently
increasing and extending over ever more spheres of life. Rural Brabantian Catholics increasingly identify themselves
with the religious orders and their devotional life.
The evolution of Catholicism in Brabant attests that Elias's theory of state-formation offers valuable perspectives for
the study of religious regimes. Competition and monopolization appear to be the driving forces behind the waxing
and waning of the Brabantian regimes. Although competition with a growing state apparatus appears to be an
important condition, the driving force toward expansion

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results from internal competitive processes. Religious regimes generate counter-regimes, which they try to control,
without success. If this internal competition is a basic characteristic of religious regimes, we may find new
perspectives to solve old problems. 8 Two brief examples may suffice. Apparitions and subsequent pilgrimages are
often explained as more or less spontaneous reactions on the part of the poor and the oppressed. They are also alleged
to be instrumental to the policy of consolidation of the Church (Campbell 1982; Christian 1972, 1973, 1984; Tentori
1982; Turner and Turner 1978). This approach could well be correct; but it is also inadequate, for it fads to answer a
number of relevant questions. The most important concerns the attitude of the Roman Catholic church and its effects
on the faithful. Why is it that the Church authorizes some apparitions and discourages others, even when these are in
agreement with its official doctrine? How can we explain the spectacular and sometimes durable growth of
unauthorized apparitions? Such questions can be answered only if the Church is not viewed as a huge monolith, but
rather as a complex constellation of rival religious regimes, each striving for expansion and consolidation.9
Archival research has recently uncovered records of no less than eighty apparitions in North Brabant between 1830
and 1950, every one of which became the focus of an important pilgrimage. A preliminary analysis of this material
shows, first of all, that most of the apparitions occured between 1830 and 1875. Second, about 70 percent of the
messages accompanying the apparitions included an appeal for more devotion to local and regional saints. Third, the
religious orders and their lay followers played a crucial role in the "mystical preparations" and the subsequent
popularization of such devotions. Fourth, such cults were rarely, if ever, authorized by the diocese. Such data reflect
the substantial changes in the balance of power between the diocesan and the monastic regime in the area. Most of
these apparitions took place when the diocesan organization was on its way to becoming reinstated. During that
process, the diocesan regime was not only obliged to adapt itself to the northern Dutch (non-Catholic) standards of
behavior if it were to be allowed to operate at all; but it was also forced to compete with its monastic rival which,
until then, had virtually monopolized the devotional cults. This specific power constellation forced the diocesan
regime to stand aloof from these apparitions. It could not condemn such practices outright, because "private
revelations" are not excluded by official Roman Catholic teaching. Consequently, a policy of isolation was followed:
such practices were removed from the public eye and banished behind the monastic walls. Later, when the monastic
regime was given more

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leeway (thought under diocesan supervision), apparitions became obsolete as a means of monastic protest, and their
numbers decreased.
The perspective presented in this paper may help us to solve another hoary problem: the relationship between popular
belief and official belief. It is widely held in anthropology and sociology that popular representations and practices
disappear in the face of increasing integration and modernization. This assumption, however, is contradicted by the
fact that such representations and practices are being revived dramatically all over Europe. But explanations in terms
of a temporary upsurge, or even an anomaly, do not suffice. Detailed historical anthropological research in the south
of the Netherlands demonstrates that the content of the concepts of popular belief and official belief has been
changing together with power balances between diocesan and monastic regimes (Bax 1985b). Initially, devotional
cults and sacramental practice were closely connected. With the growing strength of the diocesan regime, however,
the former were increasingly suppressed and branded as "folk-belief" or even "superstition." In recent times, with the
decline of the diocesan regime and the growing strength of the monastic regime, devotional cults and sacramental
practice tend to unite once again. One may conclude, therefore, that official belief and popular belief, rather than
being fixed social forms, are better seen as oppositional, their content changing through time in connection with the
changing power relations between religious regimes. Abolishing such concepts for their ambiguity, as Christian
(1981, 78) suggests, means foreclosing the question of how, by whom, and for whom a particular attitude toward a
certain religious form is generated. 10
In summary, it may be said that religious regimes compete with each other and with states over the monopolization
of spheres of life. They are thus important conditioning forces in each other's development. Seen from a long-term
perspective, the process of state-formation seems to be characterized by ever-increasing concentration of power and
expanding monopolization. Religious regimes, on the other hand, seem to exhibit processes of expansion as well as
contraction; durable and cumulative monopolization seems to be beyond their reach. Why this is so, will be discussed
in the next section.
Power Sources, Strategies, and Confrontation
With the consolidation of the national states in Europe, the Roman Catholic regime lost control over the means of
physical power. This

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forced the specialists of that regime to adopt a different strategy. Increasingly, they aimed at controlling the means of
socialization and orientation, thereby implying the reduction of the number of orientation alternatives to zero. This
attempt, however, brought them into conflict with state builders, who aimed at the maximal integration of their
citizens. In this struggle for hegemony over the means of orientation, the Catholic leadership turned increasingly to
the lower strata and to those living on the peripheries of national societies. These sections of society offered more
chances for expansion and consolidation, while increasing political democratization provided the religious leaders
with a lever for bringing back to the Church the ''lost sheep" of high status. Put differently, the Church adopted a
strategy of contesting the power of the state by offering marginal social categories more chances, and by
monopolizing the social means to that end. Ongoing state-formation thus caused the religious regime leaders to adopt
an increasingly pronounced emancipation strategy. The unintended result, however, was their own relative
marginalization vis--vis those social categories, for the former "underdogs" now exploited their new chances. They
acquired knowledge and education, learned how to organize themselves into powerful pressure groups, and widened
their horizonall of which undermined the power of the religious leadership. But this is only one side, for the actual
process is dialectical. The emancipation strategy also generated new inequalities, new underdogs, and therewith new
potential clients. (The Brabant case illustrates this dialectical process.)
In sum, these processes and mechanisms may explain why the Church fails to establish a durable and cumulative
monopoly position; why, in other words, the Roman Catholic regime exhibits both tendencies of expansion and
contraction. One might now hypothesize that this pattern characterizes all religious regimes operating within state
societies with durable specialized apparatuses for monopolizing the means of physical violence.
Specialists within religious regimes, however, do not merely adopt passive strategies of adaptation. In their striving
for expansion and consolidation, they also openly confront their secular opponents. The nature of these
confrontations displays a pattern that is a function of the power sources of the religious regimes and, more generally,
their position vis--vis secular power formations. A few examples illustrate this proposition. When confronting
secular regimes, religious leaders tend to accuse their opponents of violating fundamental values (fundamental also
in the eyes of the opponent). At the same time, the religious leaders make it clear that they are the principal guardians
of those values. 11 The pope adopted this form of confronta-

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tion several times during his visit to Poland. Through the pope's actions the religious regime openly demonstrated its
superiority. Secular regimes are extremely sensitive to this kind of confrontation. They cannot deny that their
opponent is right because they themselves try to legitimize their policy with the same fundamental values. States are,
in fact, forced by such confrontations to conform to the cultural codes of religious regimes. Religious regimes, in
turn, are forced to an even stricter observance of the codes they propagate. This process of mutual reinforcement
seems to contribute to an increasing control of violence.
A related form of confrontation consists of publicly displaying one's superiority. Victor Turner's dramatic account of
the process of Thomas Becket's martyrdom is a telling example (Turner 1978). The pope and other Roman Catholic
clerics adopt similar behavior models. When arriving in a foreign state, the pope kisses the ground. This may be
interpreted as a gesture of humility; at the same time, however, it is a very effective symbolic act indicating that the
Prince of the Church sets foot on his "own" domain. Another pregnant example is the annual papal foot-washing
ceremony. Public humility can thus confirm one's own inherent superiority.
It can be argued that these forms of behavior constitute elements of a confrontation complex that is a function of the
power relations between religious and worldly regimes. They indicate the lack of command over the organized
means of physical violence, and they also serve as an example to secular regimes. The increasing problem of using
physical violence is not only the result of the policies that states force upon each other, it is also the outcome of the
(so far poorly explored) competition between religious regimes and states.
It will not surprise anyone that this cluster of strategies and confrontation is also characteristic of the field of rival
religious regimes; a dominated regime contests the dominant one in an analogous way. Apparitions and related
pilgrimage circuits are among the present-day competitiors of the established Roman Catholic regime. By means of
supernatural messages those movements accuse the established regime of deviating from the orthodox doctrine and
practice. They derive their strength and attraction among certain categories of the faithful from this strategy. The
Church cannot openly suppress these movements or relegate them to the realm of superstition, for that would
jeopardize its own legitimacy. The strategy of the established leadership consists of very careful maneuveringas
states do in relation to the Church. The strategy of the often loosely organized counter-regimes is also cautious. The
physical and mental conditions of the seer, his messages, and the circumstances of the appari-

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tions will be investigated very scrupulously, and if necessary "regulated." Formerly, when the Church was still a
mighty power, seers were imprisoned or forced to enter a convent, their movement destroyed or coopted. Nowadays,
the game of moves and countermoves is characterized (in public) by a degree of "civility." The dominant regime
''feels sorry," and is "anxious about errors"; the dominated regime proclaims that "There is still hope for the Church,"
one "prays for the others." Rather than being the outcome of a high degree of mutual control of violence, this
"civilized" behavior results from the moral-guide function that the religious regimes force upon themselves and each
other.
Conclusions
Some two decades ago, Clifford Geertz described the study of religion as stagnant, and he doubted that it could ever
be set going again by producing more minor variations on classical theoretical themes (Geertz 1966). A few years
ago, Talal Asad demonstrated conclusively that Geertz appears to have fallen into the same trap. In fact, Geertz, and
many anthropologists with him, conceptualize religion as a system of meaning, supported by rituals and symbols,
concerning ultimate goals. This culturological approach, Asad avers, does not leave much room for a systematic
inquiry into the social conditions and forces that generate and change such systems of meaning (Asad 1983). Mary
Douglas has even accused social scientists, in no uncertain terms, of being the victims of a general and deep-rooted
cultural bias, especially in the study of religion (Douglas 1982, 2-3).
Whence this bias; and why this one-sided approach to religion in terms of meaning, to the neglect of power? Such
questions cannot be aired adequately in this short paper; only a few programmatic observations must suffice. For a
proper understanding of such deficiencies one must investigate the evolution of the religious regime itself, and, more
specifically, focus on the external conditions and the immanent forces that generate a particular attitude toward
power. The preceding pages may provide us with a lead in this respect. When the long struggle for power between
the Roman Catholic regime and the worldly rulers was finally settled in favor of the latter, the Church had
definitively lost its access to the organized means of physical violence. Thus, an important chapter of the history of
Church-State relations in Europe was closed. To many people, religion was reduced in effect to a mere system of
meaning, which they thought right. Indeed, their views

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were reinforced by the performance of the Church itself, which was now forced into the role of a moral guide of
society. (Actually, the Church has always exercised this function, but not always with the same zeal.) These external
pressures toward a particular self-presentation were augmented by the more or less structural tensions, polarities, and
rivalries between (and within) the leading sections of the Catholic regime. It is precisely this nexus of forces which,
to a much greater extent than heretofore, resulted in a particular collective self-restraint. This restraint manifested
itself in a more introverted stance, and, above all, in the ritualization of internal conflicts and the symbolization of
internal contradictions and dependencies, all of which were grafted upon a divine system of meaning.
Notes
Reprinted by courtesy of Anthropological Quarterly, from Anthropological Quarterly 60 (1) January 1987, 1-11.
For criticism of an earlier draft and for other sorts of stimulating help I am indebted to Walter Goddijn, Fons van den
Hurk, Adrianus Koster, Daniel Meijers, Matthew Schoffeleers, M. Estellie Smith, Peter van der Veer, and Eric R.
Wolf.
1. The illustration is based upon the literature in the References, together with standard encyclopedias on the Roman
Catholic church and/or Christianity. It must be emphasized that for reasons of clarity the argument is oversimplified.
The actual historical process was far from unilinear and much more complicated than it appears here. Its tempo was
not always constant and there were many intermediate phases of advance or retardation.
2. Precisely why the Church in this period had to recognize the princes as being superior in the field of organized
means of violence is a highly interesting through rather complex questions. R. W. Southern (1970), for example,
refers to the rapidly expanding judicial functions of Rome. The pope and his many officials were increasingly
involved in arbitration between rival princes. Consequently, the Church neglected to defend its own territory. J. G.
Vaillancourt (1980) suggests that it became increasingly impossible for the Church to govern effectively such an
extensive territory, given the rather primitive and limited means of communication at that time. Hence, the greater
room to maneuver, which princes increasingly exploited to their own advantage. This is an area that requires more
attention.
3. The Franciscan movement is a well-known early example. With its message of evangelical poverty, it sometimes
launched powerful attacks upon

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the leaders of the Roman Catholic church. But canonical measures were successfully promulgated and enforced
against the movement, and it was ultimately coopted by the Church.
4. A number of commandments and prohibitions mentioned here were already drafted in the twelfth century. But the
main point to note is that these changes in the Catholic regime did not gather momentum on a large scale until the
seventeenth and eighteenth century (cf. Deschner 1978).
5. For the reader who is not familiar with the Roman Catholic church, it is important to know that its leadership
structure includes two types of religious specialists: the diocesan and the monastic clergy. In most countries where
the Catholic church is established, the diocesan clergy, supervised by bishops, are in charge of the parochical
administration, including the liturgical cult and the sacramental rites. As a rule, the monastic clergy, that is, members
of religious orders who live in monasteries, are not involved in the administration of the parishes but in other sorts of
religious, educational, and general welfare work. Consequently, they are not under the direct authority of diocesan
bishops. Yet they have the same priestly privileges as the diocesan clergy. They may hear confessions, say mass,
baptize, marry, and administer the last sacraments to the dying. This implies that diocesan clerics and monastic
clergy are potential competitors. In addition to these male monastic religious, there are also many female religious,
living in nunneries and convents. They are not allowed to fulfill priestly functions; for the sacraments mentioned
above, they are dependent upon their male counterparts.
6. See Suttorp 1980 and Vaillancourt 1980.
7. For a more detailed treatment of these issues see Bax 1983, 1985b.
8. A recent study (Shapiro 1973) seems to confirm this point.
9. It is surprising to note that both W. A. Christian Jr. (1973, 1984) and the Turners (1978) have almost neglected to
pursue the question of politics within the Church, since their empirical material clearly points in this direction.
10. It is necessary to deal elsewhere with the highly interesting problem posed by the frequent counter measures that
have been taken against this kind of "popular" devotion in comparison with the liturgical cult and the sacraments,
which did not provoke such strong reactions.
11. Small, weak states, like the Netherlands, also use this weapon of moral stigmatization, but it is only one weapon
from a much larger arsenal.

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References
Asad, Talal. 1983. "Anthropological Conceptions of Religion: Reflections on Geertz." Man 18: 237-259.
Bax, Mart. 1983. "'Us' Catholics and 'Them' Catholics in Dutch Brabant: The Dialectics of a Religious Factional
Process." Anthropological Quarterly 56: 167-179.
. 1985a. "Religious Infighting and the Formation of a Dominant Catholic Regime in Southern Dutch Society." Social
Compass 32 (1): 57-73.
. 1985b. "Popular Devotions, Power, and Religious Regimes in Catholic Dutch Brabant."Ethnology 24(3): 215-228.
Brown, Peter. 1982. Society and the Holy in Late Antiquity. Berkeley. University of California Press.
Campbell, Ena. 1982. "The Virgin of Guadalupe and the Female Serf-Image: A Mexican Case History." In Mother
Worship: Theme and Variations, edited by J. J. Preston. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Chadwick, Henry. 1967. The Early Church. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Cragg, Gerald R. 1960. The Church and the Age of Reason. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Christian, William A. Jr. 1972. Person and God in a Spanish Valley. London: Seminar Press.
. 1973. "Holy People in Peasant Europe." Comparative Studies in Society and History 15: 106-114.
. 1981. Local Religion in Sixteenth Century Spain. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
. 1984. "Religious Apparitions and the Cold War in Southern Europe." In Religion, Power and Protest in Local
Communities, edited by Eric R. Wolf. Berlin: Mouton.
Deschner, Karl. 1974. Das Kreuz mit der Kirche. Eine Sexualgeschichte des Christentums. Dsseldorf: Econ Verlag.
Douglas, Mary. 1982. "The Effects of Modernization on Religious Change." Daedalus 111 (1): 1-21.
Elias, Norbert. 1978. The Civilizing Process, Vol. 1: The History of Manners. Trans. E. Jephcott. New York: Urizen
Press.
. 1982. The Civilizing Process, Vol. 2: Power and Civility. Trans. E. Jephcott. Oxford: Blackwell.

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Geertz, Clifford. 1966. "Religion as a Cultural System." In Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Religion,
edited by M. Banton. London: Althone.
Gibbon, Edmund. 1929. History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. London: Bury.
Neill, S. 1967. A History of Christian Mission. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Shapiro, Susan. 1983. "Patterns of Religious Transformations." Comparative Studies in Society and History 15: 143157.
Southern, R. W. 1970. Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Suttorp, L. C. 1980. "Het eerste Vaticaanse Concilie (1869-1870)."De Gids 143 (8): 552-569.
Tentori, Tullio. 1982. "An Italian Religious Feast: The Fujenti Rites of the Madonna dell'Arco, Naples." In Mother
Worship: Theme and Variations, edited by J. J. Preston. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Turner, Victor W. 1978. Dramas, Field and Metaphors. Symbolic Action in Human Society. Ithaca and London:
Cornell University Press.
Turner, Victor W. and Turner, Ethel. 1978. Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture. New York: Columbia
University Press.
Turner, Victor W. 1982. "Postindustrial Marian Pilgrimage." In Mother Worship: Theme and Variations, edited by J.
J. Preston. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Vaillancourt, J. G. 1980. Papal Power: A Study of Vatican Control over Lay Catholic Elites. Berkeley. University of
California Press.
Vidler, Alec R. 1961. The Church in an Age of Revolution: 1789 to the Present. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Waley, Dennis. 1963. The Papal State in the Thirteenth Century. London: Longman.

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2
Marian Apparitions in Medjugorje; Rivalling Religious Regimes and State-Formation in Yugoslavia
Mart Bax
"The church is as much a political actor as the state . . . because it is itself a body subject to internal . . . rivalry
and the struggle over resources and policies,"
Ramet 1985, 315
Introduction
On 24 June 1981, Mary appeared before six children who were playing on a hill just outside of Medjugorje, a
farming village of 3,400 inhabitants in the Yugoslav state of Bosnia-Hercegovina. Since then, the apparitions have
taken place almost daily, right up to this very day. They have attracted an impressive number of pilgrims from both
inside and outside the country: according to rough estimates, almost ten million (1986). Nevertheless, Medjugorje
(still) forms a controversial devotion. The Bishop of Mostar, whose jurisdiction the parish of Medjugorje comes
under, and his diocesan priests are bitter opponents. They forbid worshippers to make pilgrimages to Medjugorje or
otherwise take part in the "theatrical practices." In other respects as well, they do not refrain from sabotaging the
devotion, which they continually characterize as "misleading" and "untruthful.'' On the other hand, the Franciscan
fathers, who are entrusted with the pastoral care of the parish of Medjugorje, provide guidance and encour-

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agement for this "special grace" with all of their available resources. They experience the conduct of the bishop and
his priests as "debasing for God and the people" and they accuse these opponents of "lovelessness'' and "the desire
for usurpation." The secular authorities are just as closely involved in the events in Medjugorje. Initially, they used
severely repressive actions, but in the last few years, their policies have been characterized by ambivalence. The
devotion is tolerated within certain limits; should these, however, be exceeded (in the opinion of the state), then the
persons found guilty go to jail and the acquired privileges are (temporarily) cancelled again. Rome has made no
official statement concerning the devotion, but has adopted a wait-and-see attitude for the time being.
Why do the apparitions continue for such an unprecedentedly long time? Why is this antagonism between the two
categories of officials of the same church? Why does Rome make no official statement? Why does the devotion
nevertheless attract enormous numbers of worshippers and continue to attract them? These are just a few of the many
questions that emerge but are difficult to answer from the prevailing theoretical perspective because this is somewhat
one-sided. For within that perspective, apparitions and related pilgrimages are primarily considered as symptoms of
tensions within the community of the faithful; more specifically: as signs of protest. For the most part initiated by the
lay-visionaries (often of low birth), they function as a means to bind the faithful together again to the Church (for
example Campbell 1982; Christian 1973; Tentori 1982; Turner and Turner 1978). In this approach, the Church plays
an almost marginal and passive role: it authorizes the "heavenly messages" (and along with them, the pilgrimage
movement), or it withholds its approval; beyond this it seems that it leaves the developments to Providence. In short,
in the prevailing theoretical perspective, the faithful appear in front of the footlights, but the Church remains in the
twilight.
This paper adopts a different perspective, one which attempts to avoid that one-sidedness. Within this perspective,
the Roman Catholic church is not seen as a relatively passive monolith, but as a complex configuration of competing
religious regimes that are continually directed toward expansion and consolidation. 1 In conjunction with this,
apparitions and subsequent pilgrimages are not so much considered as more or less spontaneous movements that
emanate from the faithful laity, but rather as power sources in processes of competition between religious regimes.
In the Yugoslav village of Medjugorje, such a competitive process has manifested itself between what one can call a
"diocesan regime"

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and a "Franciscan regime." 2 It concerns a struggle for control over the faithful in the diocese of Mostar. For
centuries, the Franciscan fathers have functioned as the priests of the parishes in that area. In the last few decades,
their control has been disputed and fought by a bishop and his diocesan priests; they are supported in this by Rome
and, to a certain extent, by the state. A number of parishes has already come under the supervision of the bishop; they
have been attended by diocesan priests ever since. As a result of this diocesanization process, the Franciscans are in
danger of losing their influence in this area.
It is within the context of this power struggle that the events in Medjugorje can be clarified. The general position of
this paperwhich at the same time forms the guideline for its discussioncan now be formulated as follows. The origin
and development of the Marian devotional movement in Medjugorje form a function of the changing power balance
between the diocesan regime of Mostar and the Franciscan regime in that area; processes of state-formation play an
important conditioning role therein.
An Established Franciscan Regime (1370-1960)
Until the beginning of the 1960s, the Franciscan fathers reigned supreme in the area of pastoral care in the greater
part of the present diocese of Mostar. According to Rome, it has always been the intention that these missionaries,
after building up the parochial infrastructure, would make room for a diocesan establishment that would be formed
by a bishop appointed by Rome and a secular clergy designated by this prelate. Since their arrival in this region
(around 1370), however, the Franciscans have appeared to interpret their assignment differently.3 With the help of
one of the last independent Bosnic rulers, they not only managed to drive out the Bogumils, considered by Rome to
be heretics, but they also managed to firmly establish their own regime (Fine 1975; Mandic 1978). Also, the longstanding domination of Bosnia and Hercegovina by the Turks (1463-1878) was not unfavorable for the development
of the Franciscan regime in that area. Although it is true that for the continuation of their pastoral work among the
population the Franciscans had to pay considerable amounts of protection money to the Ottoman rulers, on the other
hand, they could remain safeguarded for all those centuries from control emanating from Romethe Turks'
archenemyand could expand and consolidate their regime in pastoral and material respects (Fine 1975; Gavranovic
1935).

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The Franciscan hegemony seemed to be brought to an end when the present Bosnia-Hercegovina was brought under
the authority of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire (1878). In consultation with Rome, the Hapsburg ruler produced a
diocesan division for the area and a parochial subdivision, whereafter its bishops and secular priests were appointed.
4 Mostar also fell under this regulation. But partly through massive pressure from the Franciscans on the Holy See,
the fathers managed to maintain, for the time being, this relatively densely populated and predominantly Roman
Catholic area, that from ancient times formed one of theft most secure strongholds. They did have to accept, along
with theft own provincial Father Superior, an "outside" bishop as leader. An agreement was made with this prelate
which was laterin 1923ratified by Rome. Within this agreement, the Franciscans were allowed to maintain the
majority of the parishes, and furthermore all of the parishes, which they had yet to build up (through missionary work
among Muslims and Eastern-Orthodox people), they could claim as their property. In return, the fathers would
contribute to setting up a diocesan seminary and apply themselves to the recruitment of seminarians. The first part of
this agreement has been fulfilled by the Franciscans; but partly as a result of their own well-organized recruitment
networks the number of seminarians has remained extremely low. This repeatedly has led to friction between both
categories of religious specialists (Quaestio 1979, 14; Gavranovic 1935, 71).
In the decades that followed, the Franciscans managed to set up nine new parishes, through which they had control of
sixty-three of the total of seventy-nine parishes. Along with that, theft regime in that area consisted of: twenty-nine
monasteries, five educational institutions, a few hospitals, diverse business establishments, and a considerable
number of landholdings (Ilic 1974). In short, in the beginning of the 1940s the religious arena of the diocese of
Mostar was characterized by a firmly established Franciscan regime and a weakly developed diocesan regime.
World War II, especially the establishment of the Communist state which followed, brought about great changes. A
series of legal measures, which partly intended to nationalize the Roman Catholic church in Yugoslavia, hit the
dominant Franciscan regime the hardest. Through this they lost nearly all of their property and authority; their private
schools and the right to religious education in elementary and secondary schools; and finally their nursing homes,
hospitals, and other health care institutions. Only the parishes remained. This power base, however, could not be
enlarged, because there were heavy sentences for missionary activities. In spite of these great losses, the

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Franciscan regime managed to maintain its authority still for some time. This was possible in part because that
regimein contrast to that of the opponentstill had at its disposal sufficient religious specialists to continue parochial
pastoral care. 5 But the days of the Franciscan hegemony appeared to be numbered . . .
Diocesanization (1960-1979)
Around the beginning of the 1960s, the relations between church and state in Yugoslavia became less strained. Both
parties seemed to realize that a certain amount of acceptance of the other was a requirement for their own
development. Diplomatic relations were renewed during Vatican II, and in 1966, Rome and the Yugoslav central
government signed a "protocol" in which their mutual rights and obligations were established.6
For the Bishop of Mostar, Monsignor Janco Vladec, these developments created the possibility to extend the
diocesan regime. In public speeches and in writings, this prelate had alreadyand this in contrast to his
colleaguesclearly spoken out in favor of the state government; he had even argued that Christianity and Marxism
went along very well together (Ramet 1985, 309; Rynne 1965, 144). As one of the first bishops of the country to do
so, Monsignor Vladec openly declared that he recognized the state-controlled priests associations; he even
encouraged his own priests to join.7 The advantages of this strategy were quickly apparent. In 1966, Bishop Vladec
concluded an agreement in secretwhich, however, quickly became a public secretwith the authorities of the State
Republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina. The latter guaranteed educational subsidies for priests and other facilities in
exchange for a certain degree of state control over the selection of seminarians and the appointment of priests in the
parishes. In the meantime, the prelate had also developed activities on another frontin Rome. In 1965, he was able to
have the agreement of 1923 (concerning the parochial property) revised. Through this revision, twenty-one of the
sixty-three Franciscan parishes came under Bishop Vladec's jurisdiction; of the remaining forty-two, according to
Rome, the parties were to consult among themselves, and harmoniously reach a solution. Two years later, in 1967,
after futile discussions with the Franciscans and through the mediation of the Holy See, the bishop managed to bring
another twelve parishes under his control, through which the domain of the Franciscans shrank to thirty parishes
(Quaestio 1979, 21).

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Through all these activities, it is true that Bishop Vladec managed to win the sympathy of many state-inclined
Catholics (mainly the small-town bourgeoisie), but at the same time he brought upon himself the hatred of the very
extensive and extremely nationalistic peasant population from the numerous small villages. 8
In the years which followed, the transfer of the parishes to the diocesan priests proceeded far from flawlessly. These
new priests, the majority of whom had just completed their studies and came from well-to-do urban backgrounds,
were considered by many faithful to be an extension of the state, which was still hardly friendly toward religion.9 In
most of the parishes, it came to open resistance against this diocesanization. The parishioners, not infrequently
helped in the background by Franciscans, refused to open the church doors for the new priests, who sometimes, after
receiving a stiff beating, had to leave defeated. In a few cases it seems that diocesan priests and Franciscans even
came to blows publicly, with the population cheering them on (Ramet 1985, 307-310.) Only after police intervention
could the diocesan priests take possession of their new domain.
The tensions and antagonisms reached a high point in 1975, when it was learned that Rome was considering granting
another five parishes to Bishop Vladec. For the Franciscans, these were just those parishes that were a necessity of
life: since ancient times they formed the center of theft most important area for recruiting personnel (Quaestio 1979,
24). The fathers were therefore prepared to go a long way in order to maintain these "lifelines." In an open letter, they
accused the bishop of a deliberate isolation policy. In addition, the Father Superior of the Franciscan province sent a
letterevidently a stiff oneto Rome, in which he explained the precarious situation of his fellow brothers and pointed
out that the plans were contrary to previously made agreements. The result was that the Father Superior was
suspended. Bishop Ciro Markovic, Monsignor Vladec's possibly even more energetic successor, interpreted the
suspension as an excommunication and declared the presence of all Franciscans in the parishes in conflict with
Church law. Therefore, legallythought the prelateall parishes had come under his power of command. Although the
bishop was in no hurry to take possessionprobably he was under pressure from the secular authorities, who wanted an
orderly turnoverstill, the Franciscans were in utmost difficulties. They had nowhere to turn: there were no other
forms of pastoral care, such as education or health care; and there were heavy sentences for missionary work among
nonbelievers. A number of Franciscans emigrated to Western Europe; there the majority found pastoral work in the
many communities of Yugoslav foreign workers and political

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exiles. But "God's salvation was at hand," said one older Franciscan emphatically during a conversation.
The Origin and Development of a Devotional Regime (1979-Present)
Mystical Preparations
The events which followed and which people indeed call "mystical preparations" are difficult to uncover; and the
following account is surely not complete. Father Branko, who for years had served in the parish of Medjugorje,
attended in 1979 a meeting of the New Roman Catholic Charismatic Movement that took place in a monastery in
Italy. There, after expressing his great concern over the developments in the diocese of Mostar, he received
(according to widespread claims in Franciscan circles) two prophecies coming from some of the leading figures of
that movement. In one of them, the father was seen in the midst of a fast-growing multitude; and from the place
where he sat, there flowed streams of living water. The other read: "Do not worry, I shall send you My Mother; and
everyone shall listen to Her."
Shortly afterward, according to the previously mentioned Franciscan cricles, Father Branko received, in a dream, the
mission to return to his old parish of Medjugorje, and there make preparations that were to be dictated to him. Once
home again, in a small catechism class for children, he began to teach the Franciscan regimen for the laity: prayers,
fasting, confession, atonement, and recitation of the rosary had an important place therein. Some time later, a similar
class was formed for women in the parish. Father Branko told the women and children of the "special grace," which
God would reveal to the children of Medjugorje, and which was intended for all people; the people had to pray daily
to hasten its coming.
In 1980, two children in the village became seriously ill. When recovery through medical means no longer seemed
possible, the mothers of these children sought help from Father Branko. From the children's catechism class he
formed prayer groups that were required to pray and keep vigil over the sick children. On 8 September, the Virgin
Mary's birthday, after a few weeks of intense prayer, the recovery occurred. Out of gratitude, all of the persons
concerned, along with a number of other parishioners, journeyed to the famous pilgrimage place of Marija Bistrica,
while a special devotion for the Virgin Mary was set up in Medjugorje.

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In the early spring of 1981, "the special grace revealed itself once again to the children," according to Father
Leonard, the second pastor of the parish. Six children (of the catechism class) each found, separately and in different
places, old and costly Franciscan rosaries. After inquiries in the village, they did not seem to belong to anyone, so the
children went to Father Branko. The priest was joyful: these were "clear signs of their selection by God and His
coming grace." Father Branko urged them to pray fervently everyday with each other, with him, and also with the
women.
Our Lady Appears
On 24 June 1981it was a sultry summer eveningthe moment seemed to have arrived. Six children, back from evening
mass, walked home while playing and romping about. Suddenly, they saw on a small hill, not far from the tobacco
fields at the end of the village, a luminous figure. Curious, but also somewhat apprehensive, they ran to it. It was the
Gospa (Our Lady)they knew it immediatelyshe smilingly beckoned them closer. After a few heartening remarks and
the promise that she would return the following evening, the figure vanished. The children hastened back to the
rectory and told Father Brankoand the whole village later that eveningwhat had happened to them. The following
evening, the children went back to the hill, accompanied by a rapidly growing crowd of villagers and people from
neighboring hamlets. The Virgin Mary, who was only seen and heard by the little visionaries, gave them messages
which they were to pass on to everyone. Peace and forbearance among God's people, the priests, and all people of the
worldthose are the continually recurring elements in the messages right up to the present-day. In addition, Mary
gave, and she continues to give, very concrete instructions and assignments. These are meant for ever-changing
persons and groups of people, but peace and forbearance are nearly always found in them. 11 Furthermore, Mary,
who wants to be called the "Queen of Peace," has urged people from the outset to pray, fast, confess, and take
communion. The Virgin has also entrusted the children with ten secrets. In due course of time, these will be made
known to all people in order that they believe in God's love and almighty power.
In peasant societies, unusual news travels on widespread wings. Consequently, within a short time, the number of
participants in the meetings, recurring every evening on the mountain, had grown to a few thousand. Many received
special forms of grace, such as recovery from sickness, and numerous persons beheld spectacular light phe-

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nomena. The still young devotional regime became just as quickly entangled in conflicts: first with the authorities,
somewhat later also with the diocesan regime and with Rome.
Conflicts, Confrontations and Expansion
The miraculous news spread like wildfire through the rough countryside of Hercegovina. In no time it had reached
the district's capital, Citluk. The local police took immediate measures against this form of disturbance of public
order. 12 More than thirty policemen closed off the mountain of the apparitions, day and night, and for all persons.
The six children were the subject of a thorough investigation. First, they were extensively interrogated at the police
station (which must have involved the use of violence); subsequently, they were brought to a clinic for mental illness,
where they had to undergo a complete examination.13 However, they appeared to be in perfect health; and because
all six of them were minors, they could not be booked or fined. For the authorities and the leaders of the Communist
party in Citluk, this was not the end of it; on the contrary, they launched an offensive that was characterized by harsh
confrontations and conflicts. In the Communist press (exhaustive) attention was paid to the devotion: this was
continually depicted as a "fascist" movement that formed a threat to the unity of the Yugoslav people. Church life,
the religious leaders, and the worshippers also had to regularly bear the burden for it. The sounding of the church bell
was prohibited (that would be "provocative"); the church building and the rectory were searched several times for the
presence of "propaganda literature hostile to the state"; the receipts of the church collections were seized a number of
times; party activists monitored church services daily for ''imperialist propaganda"; the fathers had to appear twice a
week at the police station in Citluk; worshippers were repeatedly pulled in and without any form of trial were locked
up for a few days in the district's prison.
All of these open forms of intimidation and violence, however, did not produce the result desired by the authorities,
because soon after the closing off of the mountain, the apparitions took place again, although in a different spot.
After the closing off of the holy mountain, father Branko asked the visionaries to request the Virgin, in future, to
appear in the church. Our Lady granted this request; and since then she has appeared to the visionaries daily (until
recently) after evening mass in one of the side rooms of the church, while a continually growing number of
worshippers waits for the signs of "special grace" of

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body and soul. The campaign pursued in the Communist press also did not have the desired result. On the contrary,
the campaign even contributed to making the unusual events in Medjugorje known over a large territory, and to an
ever larger number of people making pilgrimages to that place. In short, partly due to the repressive actions of the
authorities, the devotional regime expanded, which in turn increased its bargaining power.
After more than two years, the authorities had become more accommodating. The mountain was reopened and also
the grounds near the church were released for the devotion. On this latter spot, around forty Franciscans hear each
day the confessions of an ever-growing mass of pilgrims from both within and outside the country. The official
explanation for the relaxing of the restrictions is that the church leaders in the area have conformed with the policies
of the authorities. Another reason, possibly of equal importance, is of a financial nature. The pilgrimsespecially those
from outside the countrybring in good money and a lot of it, for which the economy of the area has an urgent need.
Furthermore, the spiritual leaders in Medjugorje annually pay a considerable sum for "taxes" to the local authorities.
14
Even though it seemed that the authorities and the Franciscans had moved somewhat closer to each other, the
conflicts between these fathers and the bishop and his diocesan priests went on virtually without abatement. But
these antagonisms also unintentionally contributed to the expansion of the devotional regime. From nearly the
beginning, Bishop Markovic must have considered the apparitions and the "guidance" of them by the Franciscans as
a threat to his own regime, because he challenged both with all of the means available to him.15 After the bishop, in
a personal discussion, had vainly demanded silence from the fathers of Medjugorje, he switched over to open
confrontation. In accordance with Church law, he set up a commission for the purpose of investigating the
apparitions for their authenticity. When this commission could point to no inconsistencies with ecclessiastical
teachings, the bishop sought another direction.16 He brought up the events in Medjugorje for discussion at the
Yugoslav Bishop's Conference. This conference sent out a communique (that in all parishes of the pulpit was read
aloud) announcing the following: The bishops collectively speak out against "official" (organized by the Church,
M.B.) pilgrimages to Medjugorje; however, unofficial journeys, individually or as a group, are not forbidden.17
Bishop Markovic must have interpreted this as support for his policies. For in a pastoral letter (that was ignored in
the Franciscan parishes), he prohibited all worshippers in his diocese to make pilgrimages to Medjugorje; the

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offenders would be barred from receiving the sacraments. 18 This weapon, however, did not hit its intended mark; on
the contrary, it had the opposite effect. The number of regularly pereginating worshippers from the diocese was
already very large; many of these worshippers were now in fact forced to go to Medjugorje or rather, receive the
sacraments in one of the Franciscan parishes. Consequently, the size of those religious communities grew with
unprecedented speed. For the Franciscans, this was reason to ask the Superior General of their order in Rome for an
increase in personnel in their parishes. The Holy See must have granted this request, for since the end of 1984, the
number of Franciscans working in the diocese of Mostar has risen by more than forty.19
The attacks of the bishop were not only aimed at the ordinary faithful, but also and especially at their religious
leaders, the Franciscans. Through all sorts of contacts, the prelate had the backgrounds of Franciscan priests checked.
Not infrequently, these priests were involved (or previously involved) in nationalistic movements that operated from
bases inside and outside the country. By making this information public (by means of widely circulated pamphlets)
the bishop, in fact, incited the authorities to imprison the Franciscan priests.20 However, these confrontations also
worked out more to the advantage of the devotional regime: the nationalism in the countryside was increased by this
and became more closely interwoven with the devotional regime; also, more and more Franciscan leaders were
considered political martyrs, which considerably increased their attractiveness.
After these direct confrontations, which all had unintentionally contributed to the expansion of the regime associated
with the Franciscans, the Bishop of Mostar began to approach his opponents more cautiously. The experience that
Rome does not support him under all circumstances, the knowledge that his adversary enjoys the (paid) "protection"
of the authorities and has an extremely large number of worshippers behind himall of these circumstances must have
brought the prelate to that point. Sinde 1985, his strategy seems to be completely directed at exposing his adversary
by means of canon law. Through informants, who have been continually present at the site, the bishop has had the
devotion, the visionaries, the heavenly messages, and the officiating Franciscans carefully monitored and everything
that even hints, in his opinion, at divergence from the teachings or the traditions of the Church is reported to
Rome.21 The Franciscans, however, seem hardly concerned about this form of surveillance. "Rome now has another
ear in Medjugorje," as a father once said, somewhat ironically.

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Franciscan Strategies and Tactics


The description thus far could give the impression that the Franciscans pursue a passive strategy and mainly observe
how the mechanism of victimization works to their advantage. This impression is incorrect: since the first
apparitions, they have pursued various actions on different fronts in order to strengthen their position in the arena of
Mostar.
From the beginning, the devotional regime has been directed toward achieving international support and recognition.
The Franciscan supervisors have not waited for the opinion of the episcopal investigatory commission, but they
themselves invited experts from the international apparition network to give their opinion. In particular, Ren
Laurentin, a world-renowned expert, has indicated in numerous publications his certainty about the authenticity of
the apparitions and the supervision of them by the Franciscans. 22 In addition to this, the Franciscan Family is
involved. This worldwide network of male and female Franciscans and their sympathetic laity organize pilgrimages
to Medjugorje from a number of countries. The coordination of this effort occurs in the Franciscan center of
Steubenville, Ohio, which is also in charge of constant publicity about Medjugorje.23 Of course, the Yugoslav
communities in Western Europe, led by the Franciscans, are also mobilized. They contribute to the dissemination of
the "heavenly messages" from Medjugorje; they organize pilgrimages to the site; and they give financial support for
the education of young Yugoslav men to become Franciscan priests. The devotional regime has also assured itself of
international support and recognition in the (para)-medical field. A commission of medical specialists from Italy,
Germany, France, and the United States is studying the registered cases of miraculous healings in Medjugorje. The
(favorable) results of this study are frequently published on a large scale by Franciscan sources.
On the homefront as well, in the diocese of Mostar, an active strategy has been pursued from the very beginning.
This is directed at stigmatizing and deadlocking the diocesan opponent on the one hand, and on the other hand,
incorporating into the devotional regime as many faithful laypersons as possible. Through the visionaries, the bishop
and his diocesan priests have received numerous messages and instructions from the Virgin Mary. One of the first
messages was for Bishop Vladec. Our Lady declared in that message that the prelate had wrongfully
excommunicated a number of Franciscans; she encouraged the bishop to make "public reconciliation" with these

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"sons of the Church." 24 The diocesan priests are also constantly and frequently urged along this "heavenly" course
toward reconciliation.25 The numerous messages and instructions have not remained secret for long: swiftly it has
become widely known that Mary has reprimanded the bishop and his priests and has supported their adversaries.
Indeed, this open stigmatizing has become more or less institutionalized. On the mountain of the apparitions and in
the church, weekly intentions are prayed for the bishop and his priests, who are referred to by name; according to the
visionaries, the Virgin has urgently requested this in a special message.
The consequences of this series of tactical maneuvers on the elbowroom of the bishop and his priests appear to be
clear. They can no longer openly consider the messages and apparitions as untruths; in so doing, they would only
further damage their position with respect to the faithful. A denunciation on the basis of canon law is also not
possible, as Rome and the investigatory commission have not (yet) made any definite pronouncements. On the other
hand, recognition of the apparitions and messages is likewise out of the question: in this way, the bishop and his
priests would play into the hand of their Franciscan adversary. In short, the leading specialists of the diocesan regime
seem to find themselves in a deadlocked position.
This gives the Franciscans the opportunity to once again serve their formerly lost clientele. In this respect, the
visionaries and their "heavenly" messages also play an important role. Through the children, the Virgin has made
known to a number of influential laypersons from the former Franciscan parishes that they, together with their family
and fellow villagers, must form prayer groups and meet regularly to pray for their sick and needy neighbors. "God
will send His spirit to His children," according to the message from Our Lady. In addition, for the dissemination of
her messages, the Virgin has continually made use of the miraculous ways in which persons in Medjugorje are healed
or in other respects are converted. Furthermore, Our Lady has called upon the faithful in the diocese a number of
times to join in celebration at the site of her apparitions. (The results of such requests can be considered as public
demonstrations of the strength of the devotional regime.) One of the best-known and most spectacular examples of
this is the "alternative" celebration of Mary's two-thousandth birthday. The official date was 8 September 1984; but
the Virgin called upon "her children" to come to Medjugorje on 5, 6, and 7 August 1984. More than 15,000 faithful
obeyed this request and the official feastday (which was propagated from the diocesan side) was ignored. There have
been, as of mid-1986, six of such mass mobilizations.

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Finally, the devotional regime, led by the Franciscans, also pursued more than just a passive strategy toward the Holy
See. Along with a steady flow of diplomatic traffic between Medjugorje and Rome, which was almost completely
kept out of public view, three "heavenly" messages have been sent from the place of mercy to Pope John Paul II; as
of mid-1986, they have been widely circulated in printed form. 26 In the first message (1981), the Virgin makes
known that she loves the pope, and protects him during his travels. In the second message (1982), Our Lady
announces that she cherishes the Holy Father and encourages him in his efforts for peace. The third message (1983)
consists of an extensive report, in which the urgent character of Mary's announcements is emphasized. Although
there has been no formal reaction from Rome, one can hardly imagine that these messages and their widespread
publication have had no influence upon the position and the maneuvering space of the Holy See.
The Devotional. Regime Anno Domini 1986
What began approximately five years ago with a supernatural experience of six children in a peasant village has now
developed into a firmly established and extensive Franciscan-oriented devotional regime with an impressive number
of international branches. In the geographic center of the regime, the village of Medjugorje, this is clearly evident.
Each day a large number of pilgrims come from both inside and outside the country. Partly as a consequence of the
large numbers, the more or less spontaneous collective manifestations of faith, as in days past, have had to make
room for more routine practices, which take place each day according to a fixed schedule.
In large groups, the pilgrims first visit the mountain of the apparitions (which takes on more and more the appearance
of a crater as many pilgrims take a stone as a souvenir). Next, the people are led to the field adjacent to the church,
where several dozen Franciscans hear confessions; afterward the faithful take communion in the church. After this is
over, there is an opportunity to visit the visionaries (of whom there are always at least two present) and ask for their
intercession with Our Lady or to receive their prayers with the laying on of hands. (Those who have been healed or
who have received some other answer to theft prayers are requested to register this in a section of the large rectory.
In the summer months, there are between two hundred and five hundred declarations made daily.) Then there is time
to talk with people in the village and in the neighboring hamlets, who have been healed or received other forms of

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special grace. Six o'clock in the evening is the climax; in a small room in the rectory, now only accessible to priests,
Our Lady appears to the visionaries for a few minutes. Nowadays, her messages for the faithful are usually
announced by a Franciscan priest. This is done over a public address system, because otherwise the numerous
persons present in the church and on the adjacent field cannot be reached. (All of the messages are recorded on tape
by the Franciscans; and also many pilgrims use portable tape recorders to record the "heavenly messages," which are
translated into a number of languages.) Then the visionaries go outside, and under the buzzing of film cameras and
light from flashbulbs, they hurry to the church building; on their way they are repeatedly touched by waiting
worshippers, who hope to become empowered with some of the supernatural power that is believed to be present in
the children. Thereafter, in the church, a mass is celebrated, usually by a dozen Franciscans, together with a few
guests: prominent religious dignitaries from other countries in Europe and elsewhere. For the rest of the evening, the
worshippers can visit the visionaries once again, to hear whether Our Lady has given a special message for them, or
to have them bless objects brought from home and devotional objects acquired at the site. On warm summer nights,
Medjugorje is not still: one can hear song and subdued conversation until the following morning. Then the same
repertoire begins again for a new group of pilgrims. (The foreigners among them have already spent a few days
visiting other sights required of them by the authorities, through which they arrive at the place of mercy somewhat
lighter in the monetary sense.)
In addition to routinization, a process of functional differentiation had taken place at the devotional center. The tasks
of the religious specialists are considerably expanded; there is presently a rotating staff of at least fifty Franciscans
present. 27 The departments of finance, visitor registration, documentation, and "special pastoral care," alone are
good for a full day's work for surely ten Franciscan priests and a few female Franciscans, who formerly attended to
the local elementary school. In addition to this, a large number of faithful villagers are more or less professionally
involved with the devotion each day. There are guides for groups; those who preserve order; people who tell of their
healing or other hearing of their prayers; villagers who serve meals or refreshments or offer pilgrims lodgings;
handymen and craftsmen, who manufacture the devotional objects and sell them through their wives or children; and
further technicians for the large amount of electrical equipment of the visionaries, the religious specialists, and the
many pilgrims. In short, almost all of the villagers, in one way or another, are a part of the devotional regime.

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"Everyone there eats from Our Lady," remarked a cynic. 28


In many parishes of the Mostar diocese, a certain consolidation of the devotional regime has taken place. The more
or less spontaneously formed prayer groups of the past have grown into imposing communities, which are
reminiscent of religious brotherhoods. Spread out over the diocese, there are now almost seventy such groups, each
of which contains a number of families. These groups are usually called "Krizari," which literally means crusadersa
revealing term.29 Krizari have no status in canon law, and have also no formal leadership; the active core almost
always consists of a small group of laypersons who have been approached by the Virgin Mary in a special way.
A Krizari group fulfills a multitude of functions, locally for the members as well as for the broader devotional
regime. First and foremost, they still continue to function as a prayer group. People come together in the home or
barn of one of the members three times a week, including once on Sunday, at the time mass is said in the parish
churches controlled by the diocese. If possible, the Sunday meetings are "attended" by a Franciscan priest, who then
takes care of the Eucharist and other sacramental rites. Holding such an "alternative" mass, however, is not without
danger, as the law forbids the practice of religion outside of state-recognized church buildings. Due to the violation
of this law, many a Franciscan has landed in jail, but usually they are quickly set free again (after paying ransom
money). Krizari groups also function as mutual assistance organizations. The members of such a group support each
other during illness, accidents, death, and other calamities. The costs incurred in connection with this support are
covered by a fund, the largest part of which comes from the devotional center Medjugorje, through the Franciscans.
(It goes without saying that this form of assistance has a recruiting effect.)30 Krizari also function as reception
centers for pilgrims who come from far away: the members provide them with meals, lodgings, and other forms of
assistance, for which they are usually paid. Krizari are also of importance as junctions in a long-distance
communications network. They receive messages ("heavenly" and otherwise) from the center of the devotional
regime, and distribute these in the parishes; conversely, they see to it that the center receives information concerning
local situations. Last, but certainly not least, these local "branches" of the regime function as mobilization forces for
pilgrims to Medjugorje. The faithful continue to go there on pilgrimages in groups because it is generally believed
that there "the power of mercy'' is the greatest. People go there to have crosses and portraits of Our Lady blessed; to
make confessions and receive the sacrament of the Eucharist; to have children baptized; to ask for the recovery of

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their own illness or that of a family member; to take a vow; or to thanks for gifts received. In short, also through a
constant two-way flow of people and information, a Franciscan-oriented regime (once again) has taken on form in
the diocese of Mostar.
Summary and Conclusion
In his prominent treatise on apparitions in southern Europe, William A. Christian, Jr. makes a case for a transnational
approach: "a nation-based analysis . . .would miss much about it." (Christian 1984, 259). The preceding discussion
does not seem to support the position of the influential author completely. The origin and development of the
apparitions in Medjugorje, as well as the pilgrimages to the site, appear to be closely connected to the regional
configuration of rivalling religious regimes and the development of the Yugoslav state. The promotion of the Marian
devotion by a threatened Franciscan regime appeared to be an effective strategy of defense against a diocesanization
process; it strengthened the position of the Franciscans in the religious arena. The still young coalition with the
statenecessary for the expansion of the diocesan regimelost its exclusive character, while Rome pursued a less onesided diocesan-oriented policy. With this improved position the Franciscans managed to regain their formerly lost
domain. They stimulated the formation a multi-functional "base communities" in a great number of parishes, which
maintain close relations with each other and with the devotional center. The visionaries and their "heavenly"
messages played a fundamental role therein, just as did the Franciscan Family.
Although each case is historically unique, and certainly not all apparitions can be traced back to a single principle of
origin, it seems that further study from the perspective adopted in this paper, would be worth the effort. The dual
character of the Roman Catholic religious leadership, with its possibilities for tensions, friction, and polarities, is a
universal fact. The same applies to diocesanization (the social sciences have yet to begin studying this phenomenon)
and state-formation.
There now remain a few intriguing questions; however, only brief attention can be paid to them here. First of all,
concerning the rivalry between the religious specialists of both religious regimes: Why was it so public and hostile?
Undoubtedly, an important reason can be found in the specific nature of the configuration of which the religious
leaders were part. This configuration encompassed a secular and

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church authority, both of whom pursued an indistinct policy toward the two categories of religious specialists, and
through which they wereintentionally or unintentionallyset up against one another. As both sorts of priests were
dependent on the same clientele for their livelihood, their competition had to come out into the open.
A second question concerns the attitude of Rome. Why does the Holy See make no official pronouncements over the
apparitions? Stated briefly, one can postulate that Romein any case for the time beingdoes not have enough
elbowroom. An official authorizing is difficult: the laboriously acquired results of the already stagnating
diocesanization process probably would not be favored at all, the diplomatic relations with the state would be
damaged, and the tensions between both religious camps would only be increased. An official denial of the
"heavenly" character of the messages, however, is just as problematical: theological arguments for this do not as yet
appear to be present, but also the spectacular gain in new and reactivated worshippers would possibly be lost.
(Rome's assignment that the collective conferences of bishops in Yugoslavia make a statement would be
understandable in this light.)
The spectacular growth forms another point of interest. In contrast to what is generally asserted about pilgrimages,
the growth of this case does not depend on the standpoint of Rome, but more on the social strength of the religious
specialists connected to the devotion. It concerns here an extensive provincial order (the only one in the area) with a
high degree of social cohesion (all of the members are in the same boat) and a strong historical tie to the local
population, which can appeal to a worldwide network of sympathizers for various forms of help. That the
significance of the religious specialists is of crucial importance for the chances of development of visionary
movements, cannot be overemphasized. At approximately the same time as the first apparitions in Medjugorje, there
was a report of a similar occurrence in another parish of the diocese. The Franciscans distanced themselves from this,
whereafter the young devotion died a peaceful death (cf. Ramet 1985, 308). Finally, there is one more question that is
perhaps the most intriguing: Why do the apparitions continue for such an unprecedentedly long time and take place
with the regularity of a clock? A comparison with the intra-religious power balances in societies of other European
states can bring some clarification in this respect. Where the diocesan regime is firmly established, authorized
devotional movements are coopted, their forms of worship brought into agreement with the teachings of the church,
and the visionaries are kept out of the public eye because they and their messages form a potential threat to the
teachings of the church and the religious

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authorities (cf. Christian 1973, 108). Well, then, the balance of power in Mostar makes the concealment of the
visionaries and their "heavenly" messages nearly impossible. The diocesan regime lacks the power to do so, while
the Franciscan regime has a great interest in the continuation of their presence. "Outwardly" they form an important
defense method: Rome, the bishop, and the priests of the diocese have limited elbowroom because of this.
"Inwardly" they not only contribute to the maintenance of boundaries between the numerous "base communities" and
the diocesan-controlled parishes, but they also stimulate the cohesion between those communities, among themselves
and with the devotional center. One can therefore expect that the visionaries and their ''heavenly" messages will only
disappear from public view when, in the opinion of the Franciscans, a satisfactory solution has been found for the
conflict that binds them to the diocesan regime.
Notes
This paper is based on literature, source material and field work, which was conducted, with intervals, in 1985 and
1986. For obvious reasons, the names of persons in this piece of work are fictitious. I thank my informants in BosniaHercegovina and in different Yugoslav communities in Germany, Austria, the United States, and the Netherlands for
their multifarious help. Especially the clergymen among them have taught me that sweet devotion and political
pragmatism can go together very well. I must respect the explicit request of all informants to remain anonymous.
1. For an extensive theoretical treatment concerning religious regimes, see Bax 1987.
2. For those who are not familiar with Catholicism, it is important to know that the Roman Catholic church
distinguishes two types of religious specialists: the diocesan or secular priests and those of an order or regular priests.
The first fall under the direct authority of the bishop. The regular priests, to which the Franciscans belong, do not
come under the direct responsibility of a bishop, but under the Father Superior of their provincial order. Both types of
religious specialists have equal competence: they may hear confession, attend to the Eucharist, baptism, marriage,
and last rites for the dying. Through this they are essentially each other's competitors. In reality, however, that
competition usually remains concealed or it is only latently present. This is because of the division of their work. The
diocesan priests are primarily responsible for the administration of the parishes and the spiritual care of the
parishioners. The priests of orders concern themselves mainly with other forms of spiritual care, such as in education,
in hospitals, and in nursing homes. This division of labors can be traced back to the way in which the Church usually
organizes its establishment in a new area.

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This roughly is as follows: Rome places a provincial order in charge of "colonizing" a new mission territory and
names one of the members of the order as bishop. Together with the priests (missionaries) he selects from his
province, this prelate is to build up the Church's infrastructure in the area. The formation of parishes and the
establishment of seminaries for autochthonous priests are the most important tasks in connection with this. If the
missionary process, in the opinion of Rome, has proceeded successfully, then the Holy See (after the approval
of the secular authorities) will begin a diocesanization process. This includes: the transformation of the mission
territory into one or more dioceses, and gradually replacing the missionaries in the parishes with autochthonous
priests of the diocese. The missionaries then leave the area or receiveif the secular authorities allow thistasks in
the so-called categorial spiritual care (education, health care, and so on). It is relatively well-known that
missionary processes do not always go that smoothly; however, hardly anything is known of the problems of
diocesanization, especially within the Church.
3. In Quaestio Hercegoviniensis (1979; 19) the Franciscan fathers very emphatically worded that they do not see
themselves as missionaries and that they were never considered as such by Rome. On the contrary, according to the
discussion, back in the fourteenth century, Rome had entrusted the spiritual care of the present diocese of Mostar to
the Franciscans. More information on the history of the Franciscans in the region can be found in: Fine 1975, 1987;
Alexander 1979; Mandic 1978; Gavranovic 1935; Guldesan 1964.
4. That Rome was in favor of such a form of management, goes without saying. For the Hapsburg ruler, there was
also the issue of marginalizing the Franciscans and, where possible, to replace them with a loyal (also to be named by
him) secular clergy. Well-organized and with strongly nationalistic sentiments, the Franciscans of BosniaHercegovina formed too strong a centrifugal political power, in the opinion of the ruler (cf. Alexander 1979;
Gavranovic 1935).
5. After the closing of the seminaries in Bosnia-Hercegovina (1945), the prospective Franciscans from the region
received their education in one of the many Franciscan establishments elsewhere in Europe. In addition, the
recruitment of new personnel and other resources occurred (and still occurs) through the Yugoslav communities of
foreign workers and political exiles in Austria and Germany. In religious respectsand others as wellthese
communities are led almost exclusively by Franciscans from Bosnia-Hercegovina.
6. Nevertheless, the tensions between the Roman Catholic church and the state remain existent right up to the presentday. Among other things, that has to do with an unclear description of the domain of religion. For the state, that
domain is limited to purely religious activities, while the Church, from its social responsibility, draws the line as
broadly as possible. A comprehensive description of this problem is found in: Petrovich 1972; Kristo 1982;
Alexander 1979.

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7. In order to get a firm grip on the clergy, which since World War II was severely impoverished, the state
encouraged the establishment of priests associations. These are a sort of labor union, which arrange for social welfare
insurance and pensions for their members, using government money. Against the will of the bishopswho did not want
to share with the state the power over their priestsnumerous clergymen became members. By openly speaking out in
favor of the associations and encouraging the establishment of a branch in his diocese, Bishop Vladec paved the road
for further cooperation with the state. Earlier, in 1950, the Franciscans of Bosnia-Hercegovina had set up a similar
association, called "Dobri Pastir" (The Good Shepherd). They turned to this for two reasons. First, this was done to
demonstrate their independence from the organization of the bishopric. Second, to prevent the state from prohibiting
them working on Yugoslav territory, because of their membership in an international religious organizationa measure
that often occurs in young independent states, that strive for "nation building." That the authorities chose for a close
cooperation with the diocese is no wonder. such a territorially organized hierarchy is easier to control than an
internationally branched network of clergymen of an order.
8. The establishment of the Communist Federal State, after World War II, brought new contrasts and antagonisms to
the population already strongly divided into nationalities. One of the most important new contrasts is that between
the more state-oriented population in the smaller cities (where party patronage flourishes in an overdeveloped state
bureaucracy), and the many antistate-oriented peasants in the countryside. The latter, in many respects, have become
the victim of the new regime: they lost their independence, and many their land; they are still one of the most heavily
taxed population groups. Through this a mentality of hostility toward the state in the countryside and the renewal of
the old (Croatian) nationalism developed.
9. These new priests of the diocese distinguished themselves, in many respects, from their Franciscan colleagues.
Their social mannerisms are characterized by formality and aloofness: they let themselves be called "Gospodin"
(mister, master); they emphasize their urban (that is superior) background and their scholarliness. The Franciscans,
on the other hand, who often grew up within the parishes that they serve, are warmhearted and also somewhat fiery.
In their social mannerisms they hardly distinguish themselves from the countryfolk: they are often called by the
kinship term "Ujak" (mother's brother), which expresses intimacy, or else with Brother, but one would never call a
Franciscan Gospodin.
10. This movement, which originated in the United States, can be considered a Roman Catholic reaction to the
Pentecostal Movement; mystical forms of experiencing faith and prayer healing have an important place there.
11. Regularly, the Virgin Mary's messages and instructionsafter Franciscan censuringare collected in devotion
leaflets and distributed on a very large scale in Europe and the United States.

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12. Gatherings of religious communities may only occur in places indicated by law and the authorities.
13. In the first Yugoslav publication concerning the events in Medjugorje (Rupcic 1982), the violent intervention by
the police and the extremely feared secret state police (UBDA) was described. The author, a Franciscan, received for
this a two year prison term. In the French and Dutch versions of this publication, delivered by Ren Laurentin (1984
and 1985), the passages about the use of violence by the authorities are omitted. The propaganda literature seems to
undergo a purifying process continually.
14. Informants from the diocesan camp were able to tell that the Franciscans have to pay a hugh amount of money
per year. Franciscans have repeatedly confirmed that it concerns "considerable," "large," sums; however, they have
never given me concrete information.
15. It is indeed true that Bishop Markovic defended the apparitions and the then still young devotion in an official
letter to the authorities (1981); according to Franciscan informants, he still believed that the devotion could be
coopted.
16. In 1984, the bishop set up an investigatory commission, which consisted of anti-Franciscan-oriented persons.
Nevertheless, this commission was not able to criticize the devotion based on the Church law. In mid-1986, the
Conference of Bishops in Yugoslavia put together a commission from those in their midstpeople say on assignment
from Romewho now must finish the job.
17. Cf. Glas Koncila, 16 August 1982. That the Conference of Bishops did not completely forbid the pilgrimages,
according to insiders, has to do with an old rivalry between prelates from out of the south and the north of the
country. More on this is found in Ramet 1985.
18. It is also in this pastoral letter that the diocesan side, for the first time, attacks the authenticity and the integrity of
the apparitions and the Franciscans. Ever since, pamphlets are distributed with clocklike regularity from out of the
diocese in which the apparitions, the Franciscans, and the visionaries are denounced.
19. This concerns Franciscans who came from Hercegovina, but until that time had worked in the Yugoslav missions
in Germany and Austria. At the end of 1986, there were more than 120 Franciscan priests working in the diocese of
Mostar.
20. According to Franciscan sources nineteen Franciscan priests landed in jail because of this, but, after paying a
ransom, they were quickly released.
21. In this way, according to insiders, the bishop has managed to

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achieve that the site of the apparitions changed once again. Since 1986, Our Lady no longer appears in the church,
but in a room of the rectory. Also from this diversion from the legal regulations, the Franciscans pay bribes to the
authorities.
22. For more information, consult the bibliography of this article. Also Ren Laurentin was connected with the
publication of Janko Bubalo (1985). Through his doing, all of the works are translated into a great number of
languages.
23. Videos, films, cassettes with songs and prayers, newsletters, prayer books, brochures with messages from Our
Lady, instruction booklets on how to set up devotion groups for the Queen of Peacethese are just a few of the many
forms of propaganda produced in the "head-quarters" in Steubenville, Ohio.
24. This concerns the Franciscan fathers who, after their parishes were taken over by priests from the diocese, still
continued to organize pastoral activities there. It is told that they went to Medjugorje where the Virgin let them
know, through the visionaries, that She supports them in their ways.
25. According to one of my sources, a Franciscan from Hercegovina who regularly served in Medjugorje, there were
by mid-1986 almost 160 such messages registered in the parish's daybook (From the diocesan side no figures were
mentioned.)
26. The text of two messages appears in a highly abridged form in Ren Laurentin 1985.
27. In answer to my question of why the religious staff rotates, a Franciscan answered: "So no one can claim that the
devotion is the work of one particular person"
28. The religious leaders refuse to ask for money for their goods and services; but according to the custom of the
area, it is impolite to refuse a gift from a friend. A clear picture of the significance of the devotion for the local
economy is difficult to present. The political establisment does not encourage private enterprise, but the structural
alterations of homes seem to indicate that the hospitality extended to pilgrims has more than only moral
considerations.
29. The name Krizari was used before World War II for the children's section of Catholic Social Action; but also the
task force of the ultra-nationalistic Croatian Ustasa movement from World War II carried the name. More
information on the Ustasa can be found in Alexander 1979.
30. The authorities consider this to be a form of lay apostolate, which is an activity prohibited by law. Also because
of this, fines have been imposed many times.

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References
Alexander, Stella 1979. Church and State in Yugoslavia since 1945. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Bax, Mart. 1987. "Religious Regimes and State Formation: Towards a Research Perspective," Anthropological
Quarterly. Vol 60 (1): 1-11.
Bubalo, Janko. 1985. Ik zie Maria. Brugge: Uitgeverij Tabor, Original Ed. Je vois La Virge. Paris: O.E.I.L., 1984.
Campbell, Ena. 1982. "The Virgin of Guadalupe and the Female Serf-Image: A Mexican Case History." In Mother
Worship, The and Variations, edited by J. J. Preston, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.
. 1984. "Religious Apparitions and the Cold War in Southern Europe." In Religion, Power and Protest: The Northern
Shore of the Mediterranean, edited by Eric R. Wolf: Berlin: Mouton.
Fine, John V.A. Jr. 1975. The Bosnian Church: A New Interpretation. Boulder: East European Quarterly.
. 1987. The Late Medieval Balkans. A Critical Survey. Michigan: University of Michigan Press.
Gavranovic, Berislav. 1935. Uspostava redovite katolicke hijerarhije u Bosni i Hercegovini 1881 godine. Beograd:
Filosfski Fakultet.
Guldesen, Satnko. 1964. History of Medieval Croatia. The Hague: Mouton.
Ilic, Zarko. 1974. Hercegovina u Crkvi. Duvno: Sveta Bastins.
Kristo, Jure. 1982. "Relations between the State and the Roman Catholic Church in Croatia, Yugoslavia in the 1970s
and 1980s." In Occasional Papers on Religion in Eastern Europe. Vol. 2 (3).
Laurentin, Ren. 1984. La Virge apparait-elle Medjugorje? Paris: O.E.I.L.
. 1985. Verschijnt Maria in Medjugorje? Brugge: Uitgeverij Tabor.
Mandic, Dominik. 1978. Bosnien und Herzegowina. Geschichtlich-kritische Forschugen. 2 Tln. Chicago: Ziral.
Petrovich, Michael. 1972. "Yugoslavia: Religion and the Tensions of a Multinational State." East European
Quarterly. Vol. 6 (1): 118-135.
Quaestio. 1979. Quaestio Hercegovinisensis. Mostar.
Ramet, Pedro. 1985. "Factionalism in Church-State Interaction: The Croatian Catholic Church in the 1980s." Slavic
Review. Vol. 44 (2): 298-315.

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Rupcic, Ljudevit. 1982. Gospina ukazanja u Medjugorju. Matos: Samobar.


Rynne, Xavier. 1965. The Third Session. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.
Sadasnjost, K. 1974. Opci semitizam katolicke crkve u Jugoslaviji. Zagreb: Krscanska Sadasnjost.
Tentori, Tullio. 1982. "An Italian Religious Feast: the Fujenti Rites of the Madonna dell' Arco, Naples." Mother
Worship, Theme and Variations, edited by J. J. Preston. Cahpel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.
Turner, Victor W. and Turner, Ethel. 1978. Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture. New York Columbia
University Press.

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3
The Struggle for Control of the Irish Body: State, Church, and Society in Nineteenth Century Ireland
Tom Inglis
"In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all Authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions
both of men and States must be referred, We, the people of Eire, Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to
our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial, . . . Do hereby adopt, enact
and give to ourselves this Constitution."
Constitution of Ireland 1980, 2
This is the Preamble to the Irish Constitution, which was enacted in 1937. The Preamble, like the Constitution itself,
reflects the heavy influence the Catholic church has had on the social teaching of the time. In effect, the Constitution
represents the culmination of the historically intertwined struggle for Catholic emancipation and national liberation.
A subsection of Article 44 of the 1937 Constitution reads "The State recognises the special position of the Holy
Catholic Apostolic and Roman Catholic Church as the guardian of the faith professed by the great majority of the
citizens." 1 A draft article had gone even further, and simply pronounced the Catholic church to be the one true
church.2
The legacy of the 1937 Constitution still pervades Irish society. Two referenda held in the 1980s have reinforced its
Catholic ethos. In

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1983, a referendum on abortion was held. The result was to make abortion not just illegal, which it had been since
1861, but also unconstitutional. Also, in 1986, another referendum was called by the government, this time to remove
the constitutional ban on divorce. It was defeated by a two-thirds majority. 3 Political parties and the State have
tended to avoid putting forward any social policy or legislative act that the Catholic church might interpret as
interfering in its sphere of authority. For example, it took six years of tortuous debate before the State finally
introduced legislation permitting the distribution of contraceptives in 1979. Even then, they were available to bona
fide married couples, who had a doctor's certificate that prescribed them. It was described, at the time, by the present
Prime Minister of Ireland, Charles Haughey, as "an Irish solution to an Irish problem."4 The problem, to put it
briefly, is that although Ireland may purport to be a modern, liberal, pluralist society in which there is a rational
differentiation between religion and politics, the Roman Catholic church still holds a monopoly on morality.5 The
basis for much of this monopoly can be linked to the control that the Church exercises in education, health, and
social welfare. But the purpose of this paper is to provide a sociological explanation of how, in the nineteenth
century, the Catholic church first came to establish such a monopoly. At the outset, however, in order to understand
the theoretical perspective of the analysis, it may be useful to make some basic points about the sociological study of
religious regimes and religious behavior.
Some Theoretical Considerations on Religious Regimes and Religious Behavior
The study of religious regimes and religious behavior has tended to fall between two scientific stools. On the one
hand, cultural determinists have tended to view religion as the essential element of culture, which permeates every
aspect of social life, and which forms the basis of normative institutions.6 On the other hand, economic determinists
are inclined to view religion as some kind of "false conscious" ideology that plays a central part in the reproduction
of essentially economic structures of domination.7 Following a Max Weber interpretation, I tend to see religion,
specifically the interest in the meaning of life, salvation, and how to live the good life, as one of a number of ideal
interests that humans have.8 Religious regimes are forms of hierocratic or priestly power that have, throughout
history, been organizational crystallizations of this ideal interest. The particular form that

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the religious regime takes, depends on how the other ideal interests, for example, possessions (economic), power of
command (political), cognition (knowledge) have been crystallized. Analytically, these organizations may be seen as
either coercive power blocs that reproduce their power by limiting discourse and practice to within the parameters
which they set. On the other hand, the organizations may be seen as normative institutions that are founded on the
voluntary commitment of individual members. 9
Marxists, and those who share a materialist perspective on society, have tended to emphasize the coercive basis of
social order. From such a perspective, religious regimes would be seen as coercive power blocs. But Marxists have
tended not to analyze religious organizations, for they have seen them as epiphenomenal to more fundamental
economic, political, and social structures of domination. On the other hand, sociologists who have written on religion
have tended to do so from a perspective that sees religious organization as central to social order and as based on
normative commitment rather than coercion.
Corresponding to this analytical distinction on social order is a division of social action into that which is
instrumental, calculating, and oriented to discovering the most efficient means of attaining specific ends, and that
which, viewed from the instrumental perspective, is "non-rational" in that it is oriented to substantive ideals, ends-inthemselves that "do not appear to be exhausted by the actor's reliance on instrumental calculation, nor do his goals
appear effectively to be reduced to the status of means."10 Again, religion has tended to be viewed in terms of being
normative, nonrational action rather than being a specific calculation of how to attain more immediate, material ends.
The Catholic church, then, has become an integral part of Irish social life. In attempting to provide an alternative and
systematic explanation of its power and influence, this paper develops a particular perspective on how it has operated
as a religious regime. Instead of seeing the Church as a voluntary body to which people subscribe on the basis of
shared beliefs, values, and practices, I examine it in terms of a large bureaucratic organization which, like any other
organization, is primarily interested in maintaining its power and influence in society. I look at the Church as a
compulsory and coercive organization that, regardless of the intentions of individual members, has limited Irish
discourse and practice, that is, the general range of possibilities of what Irish people could do or say. In this regard,
the Catholic church in Ireland is a power bloc that operates mainly in the social and moral spheres of Irish life, but
that has a major influence on

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political and economic life. To understand how the Church operates as a power bloc, it is necessary to understand
how it dominates and forms alliances with the other power blocs that have emerged in Irish society. The most
important power bloc is the State, and one of the main ways in which it has been limited and controlled by the
Church is the monopoly the latter has developed on morality, mainly through the control it has had in education,
health, and social welfare. To understand how it developed such a monopoly on morality, it is necessary to
understand the struggle that emerged in nineteenth century Ireland in order to pacify and socially control the
rebellious Irish. The Catholic church first emerged as a power bloc in Irish society during the last century when the
English State, recognizing the failure of political and economic repression, gradually changed its policy and sought
to pacify and control the Irish population. After a series of conflicts and compromises with Vatican Rome and the
Irish hierarchy, it gradually handed this task over to the Church whose organizational strength had increased rapidly
during the first half of the nineteenth century.
But this is a macro-sociological explanation. It does not explain why Irish people allied themselves with this new
emerging power bloc. At the level of social action, I explain the rapid growth in adherence to the rules and
regulations of the Church not so much in terms of commitment to its teachings and practices in order to live a good
life and gain salvation in the next world, but more in terms of how it helped Irish people attain and maintain power,
particularly the social prestige that came from being civil, respectable, well-disciplined, well-mannered people, all of
which helped overcome the labels of ''animals" and "savages."
Many English commentators of the time described the Irish in this manner. 11 The growth of the institutional Church
was based on an instrumental interest among Irish Catholics in becoming as civil and morally respectable as other
modern Europeans. In importing the civilizing process into Ireland, the Church gained control of many of the
buildings and mechanisms through which modern manners and civility were incorporated and developed among Irish
Catholics.
State Mechanisms of Political and Social Control in Nineteenth Century Ireland
Throughout its history Ireland had been like no other English colony; it was right next door and yet separated by a
stretch of sea. It was the

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sea that made Ireland easily accessible to France and Spain, and its insular proximity that made England feel
militarily vulnerable. It was mainly this military vulnerability that made Ireland of unique colonial interest. Not
having any natural resources, other than some reasonably good land, the English were forced to try various methods
to pacify and subdue the natives, and sustain a permanent colonial presence. The confiscation of lands and the
experimental plantation system of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries had largely failed, except in the north. The
attempted "legal" repression of Irish Catholics through systematic penal legislation had also failed.
The Penal laws restricting education and religion can be understood as part of the strategy to demean and demoralize.
Without knowledge and discipline there was every chance the Irish Catholic would remain an ignorant savage. As an
uneducated, uncivil, disorganized alliance, Catholics might occasionally burst out in open rebellion, as they had done
in the past, but at least they would not be able to engage in any organized political revolution. Bishops, clergy, and
religious order priests were the means toward the end of a civilized, moralized, and disciplined Catholic population,
and this added to the reasons why they were, in the case of bishops and religious order priests, expelled or, in the
case of diocesan clergy, reduced to the role of saying Mass. If after 1698 any priests other than diocesan clergy were
found, they were to be imprisoned and transported out of the country, and if they returned, "were liable to be hanged,
disembowelled and quartered."
By the 1820s, the State had begun to show visible signs of concern, if not outright worry, about the Irish problem.
The first detailed census of 1821 had shown that the Irish population had grown to 6.8 million; over haft the
population of England, and one-third of the British Isles altogether. To have so many traditionally rebellious people
living "next door," who to all intents and purposes were regarded as savages, posed a threat to the peaceful industrial
order of England. It was within the wider context of previous failures at political and social control that the English
State became willing to experiment with a number of strategies and tactics in order to subdue and pacify the Irish.
There were four new mechanisms by which the English State sought to pacify and control the Irish population in the
nineteenth century:
1. The establishment of a new civil police force that was uniformed and armed. During the period 1786-1836, a
series of Police Acts were passed that gave Ireland a form of State

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control, which was only extended to England itself in 1856, but which, eventually, came to be imitated throughout
many other Western societies. These new organizational structures did not, as was hoped, provide for the permanent
civilization of Ireland. They were rejected by the Irish peasant, the emerging Catholic bourgeoisie, and the State's
own arm of enforcementthe magistrateswho still rejected State centralization and interference? 12
2. In 1822, following a particularly bad harvest, the English State extended its experimental program of state-aided
emigration to Ireland. The plan was to get the Irish to emigrate to Canada, but instead the Irish emigrated in large
numbers to England and the United States. This caused a certain amount of consternation; there was a fear that with a
large influx of population "savage" Irish practices and customs might spread to English cities and disrupt the
industrial order that had been established within them.13
3. From the beginning of the nineteenth century there was a steady growth in life-encompassing institutions such as
gaols, asylums, houses of industry, workhouses, and hospitals. In these institutions the undisciplined and unhealthy
were removed from wider society and subjected to a rigorous system of discipline and organization.
4. There was an enormous body of knowledge produced about the habits and customs of the Irish people through
various commissions and select committees set up by the English House of Commons. Through these reports,
documentations, statistics, and censuses, the State accumulated an enormous body of knowledge about how the Irish
people behaved, and about the environmental conditions that produced their behavior.14
The Alliance Between State and Religious Regime
By the middle of the eighteenth century, English politicians began to realize that the attempt to eliminate Catholics
through persecution had faded. Nevertheless, the Protestant ascendancy still feared for their possessions and position.
Any sign of "native unrest," or indeed any large gathering of Catholics, even if for a pattern or pilgrimage, "struck
terror into the hearts of Protestants."15 But it was soon

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realized that, as William Lecky has written: "The higher Catholic clergy, if left in peace, were able and willing to
render inestimable services to the Government in suppressing sedition and crime, and as it was quite evident that the
bulk of the Irish Catholics would not become Protestants, they could not, in the mere interests of order, be left wholly
without religious ministration." 16
It was at this stage that a tentative power alliance began to be formed between the English State and the Catholic
church. As long as the Irish could be prevented from bloody rebellion and became civil and disciplined, it did not
matter so much who produced the results. The Protestant ascendancy continued to press for a return to the Penal
Code. Throughout the first haft of the nineteenth century members of this class argued and wrote at length about the
necessity of expelling all forms of Popery from Ireland.17 In contrast, many English politicians, responding perhaps
to pressure from the English bourgeoisie, began to realize what a powerful ally the Church could be in the
pacification of the Irish masses. The constant exhortations by Catholic bishops and clergy for law and order provided
continuing evidence of their good intentions.18
The fight by the Irish Catholic church against the English State had been encouraged and partially directed by Rome
as part of its own multi-national power consolidation process. Such a process was not new and had been rigorously
pursued in Ireland throughout the seventeenth century, even though the Church and Catholic population were often in
the depths of religious persecution. The Tridentine reforms, which Rome sought to introduce, involved the
establishment of a parish system of pastoral care operated in and through the Church rather than the home; the
pursuance of a catechetical program to produce a uniform, orthodox doctrine; and the constitution of the priest as a
man of Roman precept and morality rather than a mere religious functionary. The Penal laws brought a temporary
halt to this process of Tridentine reform. Nevertheless even in the period of active enforcement of the laws, Rome
continued to exert considerable power over the Irish Catholic church.19
It was not that the Church organization and discipline were new. Instructions regarding clerical discipline had been
laid down since, at least, the eleventh century. What was new was the extent to which bishops began to communicate
with each other and reform their dioceses. Much of the discourse and practice of bishops in the first haft of the
nineteenth century was taken up with tightening clerical discipline. There was a general clamp down on public
disorders and scandal-giving practices of the clergy, especially insolence, drinking, and cavorting with undesirables.
Emet Larkin concludes that "what

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happened between 1800 and 1845 is that the character and conduct of the clergy, which certainly left a great deal to
be desired at the beginning of the period, was gradually and uniformly improved. By 1830, the worst was over since
the Irish bishops with the help of Rome finally secured the upper hand over their priests." 20 He notes that the
improvement was greatest in the east, especially in the Archdiocese of Dublin, and in the towns where priests of
better manners and better information were generally placed. Throughout the rest of the century, this growth in
manners, discipline, and civility was to spread westward, being instilled into the homes and bodies of most Irish
Catholics through the organizations and buildings supervised by priests and religious.
One of the important aspects in the emergence of the Catholic church as a power bloc in Irish society was the control
it gained of the education and discipline of Irish children from 1750. By 1846, the Church had won decisive battles
that made it clear that it, rather than the English state or the established Protestant Church of Ireland, had moral
jurisdiction over Irish Catholic children and how they were to be educated. It had begun to exercise control in the
state-subsidized, and supposedly nondenominational, national school system. It had vetoed State proposals to
establish "godless colleges," and was preparing to establish its own voluntary Catholic university. At the second level
of education, orders of nuns and brothers, especially the Sisters of Mercy and the Christian Brothers, had already
built a reputation as the providers of a relatively cheap, well-disciplined, moral education that was to become allimportant in the creation of a new rural Catholic middle class. By the middle of the last century, State supervision of
education had given way to a situation in which the Church was about to, and not with much disapproval from the
State, take control of Irish education. The main transformation in education in the nineteenth century was not just the
dramatic expansion in the number of well-built schoolhouses, but that the State paid for them and, by and large,
handed their supervision and control over to the Church.
Although the institutional power of the Catholic church had been growing since the end of the previous century,
partly as an equal and opposite reaction to the degradation and demoralization caused by the Penal laws, and
although the Church gradually began to gain control of the systems of health and social welfare, it was the fact that
the State gradually conceded control of education to the Church that was to prove decisive in the moralization of the
Irish population. It would be wrong, however, to consider the Irish population as a mere pawn, which the State
handed over to the Catholic church. The interest in modern civility was part of a much wider process that had

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been spreading across Europe since the sixteenth century. It was because an adherence to the Catholic church became
the means toward modern civility that the Irish became and remained legalistically religious rather than secularly
civil for more than a century afterward.
The Extension of the Civilizing Process to Ireland
The Western civilizing process was not simply some cultural movement in which people became more refined and
behaved less like animals. It had to do with the end of the Middle Ages in which warriors and knights were the real
rulers. From the thirteenth century onward, there was a centralization of power all over the Western world and the
gradual formation of states. Instead of battles between warriors, there were now long drawn-out wars between these
states. But internally these states became pacified, and instead of power being a monopoly of the aristocracy and the
Church, it became diffused among the lower orders. 21 The improvement in communications, especially the
invention of printing, allowed the bourgeoisie, and later other classes, to behave in the same civilized manner as the
higher orders. The internal pacification of states, then, came about through a new, differentiated, rationally ordered
struggle for power that was based on being civil as much as physically powerful. Being civilized and mannerly
became associated with a disciplined control of the body. For a long time in human history this control was attained
through external mechanisms based on physical punishment. Western civilization and manners became most
rationally developed when mechanisms of control were internalized and physical control became based on selfdiscipline. This self-discipline was mainly attained through a supervision of the body, which was similar to that
developed by Irish monks in their penitentials.
There are three aspects of the modern civilizing process that are important in understanding how it spread throughout
Europe and the Western world and how, and in what form, it reached Ireland in the nineteenth century. First, because
modern civilized behavior was essentially a new type of ethical behavior based on internal control and an inculcation
of shame and guilt about the body, it never lost its religious associations. Second, there arose a socio-religious
interest, as well as a political interest in disseminating it as widely as possible. Not only did the upper and middle
classes of society such as England want to civilize other nations such as Ireland, they also wanted to

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disseminate civilized behavior to the lower classes of their own society. Third, the Catholic church played a major
role in popularizing and disseminating civilized behavior throughout Europe and the rest of the world. The Catholic
church proved to be, what Norbert Elias calls: "One of the most important organs of downward diffusion of behavior
models." 22 Restraint of the emotions and disciplined behavior, which were a major characteristic of the civilizing
process, have always been a major characteristic of ecclesiastical institutions.
The rigorism which, with the new physical growth and discipline of the institutional Church began to be
disseminated throughout Ireland in the nineteenth century, was based on a systematic discipline, surveillance, and
sexualization of the body. It was these practices that transformed the Irish into a modern civilized people. The
majority of the practices were instituted in and through the Catholic church. Many of them were similar to the
Puritan ones that achieved prominence in other Western societies in the nineteenth century. In 1849, Sir William
Wilde wrote that: '"the tone of society in Ireland is becoming more Protestant each year; the literature is a Protestant
one, and even the priests are becoming more Protestant in their conversation and manners."23 This is a confusion of
Protestantism with the modern Western civilizing process. What was peculiar to Ireland, and what was to have a
lasting effect, was that the whole civilizing process took place in and through the Catholic church. Due to the absence
of a native rural bourgeoisie, the priests and later the nuns and brothers, were the most accessible and acceptable
models of modern civilized behavior. Catholic tenant farmers wanted to be as civilized and well-mannered as the
Protestant ascendancy, which had dominated them for so long. But from an inherited hatred they were loath to be
deemed Protestant by imitating their behavior.
The Irish may have wanted to be as moral and civil as the English; they may have wanted to speak, dress, eat, and
generally live as the English did, but they firmly rejected the latter as a means toward that end. This is the dialectical
process within the civilizing process, that is, by using different means to become civilized, the Irish avoided
becoming Protestant and fully anglicized.
The civilizing process was delayed in coming to Ireland not merely because of its insular position on the north-west
coast of Europe, but also for a number of economic, political, and social reasons. Chief among these was the absence
of any security of tenure for the majority of Irish farmers. It was only from the beginning of the nineteenth century
that a substantial body of settled tenant farmers, that is, with thirty-one year leases, began to emerge in Ireland.
Although these farmers gained greater control of the means of pro-

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duction, it was the absence of a sense of security that prevented them from becoming disciplined and industrious.
Another reason was the absence, due to the Penal laws, of decent schools to which farmers could send their children.
Finally, there was a lack of human and physical resources on the part of the Catholic church, together with a lack of
discipline and organization among its own members. Once these inhibiting factors began to be removed and, in
particular, once the English State developed a social and political interest in civilizing the Irish, the process
developed rapidly throughout the nineteenth century.
The modern civilizing process was a transformation in what people did and said. It was a transformation of life-style,
customs, and manners. It was a transformation of the body in terms of the mechanisms by which it was controlled. It
involved changes in the space in which the body operatedfrom one-roomed mud cabins to multiroomed brick houses,
from sleeping with animals to sleeping only with humansfirst with the whole family, later with one's brothers and
sisters and, finally, on one's own. It involved a change in the manner of eatingfrom wooden bowls on the floor to
pottery, knives, and forks on the tableand in dietfrom one consisting mainly of cereals, milk, and potatoes to a more
varied one including bread, meat, and other vegetables. It involved a transformation of spacefrom open fields to the
confined spaces of school desks, from mass rocks and houses to ornate churches with pews. It involved changes in
dress and languagefrom coarse woolen garments to manufactured clothes and shoes, and in language from Irish to
English. It was above all a transformation from open, passionate bodies to closed, moral bodies. In Ireland, priests,
nuns, and brothers were the main agents responsible for bringing about these transformations.
There were three methods by which the priest acted as a civilizing agent in Irish society. The first was his mere
physical presence as a civilized, disciplined, and well-mannered Irish Catholic being. He was a model of morality
and civility. A shining example of what could be produced from a tenant farmer background. He interacted with the
poorest of people, bringing civility and morality into their humble abodes. The second method had to do with the
transformation of the priest from a religious functionary, who officiated at major rites of passage, for example, birth,
marriage, and death, into a rigorous disciplinarian, who through pastoral visitation and confession, began to
supervize and control all aspects of social life. The third method was the dissemination of a detailed body of Catholic
doctrine and practice, first through confraternities and book societies, and later through schools, hospitals, and
homes.

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In modern Western societies in which the bourgeoisie has become the dominant class, the family has become the
main agent for instilling moral discipline and self-control. In nineteenth century Ireland, the Catholic church played a
major part in the constitution and formation of a class of Catholic tenant farmers; it became the dominant class in
Irish society during the next hundred years. A major part of the formation of that class took place in schools where
rude, ignorant, and what many English commentators considered to be "savage" children, learnt to be civil and
moral. In subsequent generations, when the initial phase of civil and moral conditioning had been completed in the
school, the family, or specifically the mother, became the prime agent of Irish civilization and moralization. It was
not until the 1960s, and the new dominance of a commercial and industrial bourgeoisie in Irish society, that the
Church's control of sexual morality and discipline began to weaken, and the family, especially mothers, became
increasingly autonomous from the Church and assumed greater responsibility for instilling morality and civility.
What priests, nuns, brothers, and teachers began to instill within Irish Catholics was not much different from what
had been happening to other people throughout Europe since the sixteenth century. The civilizing process may have
taken many different paths, and it may have changed greatly in the interim, but nevertheless one of its consequences
was that eventually, even after almost three hundred years, farmers in the remotest part of Ireland, which was one of
the remotest parts of Europe, began to behave in a manner similar to the aristocracy of the sixteenth century. What
was different about Ireland was that the civilization of the Irish body was a state-sponsored project, operated by the
Catholic church through schools. It was not so much that there was a native bourgeois tenant farmer in Ireland at the
beginning of the nineteenth century waiting to be civilized, but rather there was a network of small tenant farmers,
who became bourgeois, through a civility and morality fostered by priests, other religious, and teachers. It was
through the schools that body discipline, shame, guilt, and modesty were instilled into the Irish Catholic. Through
such discipline and control, successive generations of farmers were able to embody practices that were central to the
modernization of Irish agriculture, for example, postponed marriage, permanent celibacy, and emigration, as well as
a routine, regulated life-style that is central to maintaining production. However, because it was the Church that was
the civilizing force behind the embourgeoisement of the Irish farmer, and because it gained a monopoly of control
over their bodies, secular civility became almost synonymous with Catholic morality. The Church, family, and
community, with the priest at the

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head, became major power blocs and alliances in Irish society.


Conclusion
The growth of the power of the Catholic church in Ireland cannot be attributed to one or two factors. Rather has it
been the result of numerous events and processes coming together over a period of time. One of these was a
transformation in the way in which the English State sought to control the Irish population. There was a shift away
from repressive Penal laws and the systematic attempt to eliminate Catholics from Ireland, to softer, more indirect
forms of control centered on policing, emigration, and education. Once it was realized that the attempt at Protestant
evangelization was doomed to failure, and once the reports from various investigative commissions began to be
submitted, the State started to hand the task of educating and civilizing Irish Catholics over to the Catholic church.
One of the reasons that precipitated this capitulation was that the Irish church, in and through Rome, was already
emerging as a cohesive, bureaucratically organized power bloc that was able to challenge and harangue the State.
But again it would be too easy to explain the growth in Church power simply as something that was imposed by
power blocs, in this case the Roman Catholic church and the English State, on an unwilling people. Hierocratic
power, or the power of priestly religion, cannot be considered to be coercive in the same way as the power of the
State, even though the threatened denial of salvation is often as effective as the threat of death itself in attaining
compliance to commands. One of the reasons why the Catholic church was able to attain compliance with its
teachings and practices was because it afforded the ability, denied during the Penal laws, for Irish Catholics to
become the moral equals, if not the superiors, of the Protestants who had dominated them for so long. Indeed, Irish
Catholics are a good example of a traditional people who in the transition to modernity place primary importance on
becoming the same, that is, as civil and refined, as those who have dominated them, but who use a different meansin
this case the Catholic churchto attain that end. In some respects, the Penal laws were a failure in that they made Irish
Catholics more Roman and attached to the Church than they might ever have been. On the other hand, they were a
success in that once they were abolished there was such an intense interest in becoming as civil and moral as modern
Europeans that, beyond the struggle to attain owner-

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ship of the land and to a lesser extent to attain the status of a nation-state, economic and political development was of
secondary importance. In other words, the abolition of the Penal laws helped foster the very economic backwardness,
which they were intended to establish among Irish Catholics.
The interest in becoming as moral and civil as Protestants, and of worshipping in large, ornately furnished churches
rather than in secluded back streetsor worse still in the open airwas a major factor in the physical growth of the
Church in the first haft of the nineteenth century. But the interest in modern civility had much deeper roots. It had
been spreading throughout Europe since the sixteenth century. Essentially it involved the imitation of the manners
and customs of the court behavior of aristocrats, first by the bourgeoisie and later by other classes. What is
coincidental is that the development of this civility involved a moral discipline over passions and instincts that was
best achieved through an internalization of shame and guilt about the body; a process that had originally been
developed and exported to the Continent by Irish monks back in the sixth and seventh centuries. The most rationally
developed form of this morality was Puritanism and, in particular, Jansenism. Now while there is no evidence that
Jansenist doctrines were ever preached or adhered to in Ireland, there is little doubt that a Catholic brand of Jansenist
practices was imported under the umbrella of Rigorism. It is a matter of debate whether this Rigorism was Roman or
French in origin or whether it was a development within the Irish church itself. Whatever its exact origins, and again
it was probably a combination of all three, this new morality began to be developed from the middle of the last
century, first in churches and later in schools and homes.
The strict adherence to the rules and regulations of the Church became the means of halting the emiseration that had
been caused by the subdivision of farms. There was little differentiation of time and space in the mud cabins, which
dominated Irish housing, until the Irish potato famine (1846-47). There was a differentiation made between animals
and humans, but the pig was often given the right to his space since he at least helped pay the rent. It was in and
through the Church and school that the child began to take precedence in Irish homes, and the pig was removed to
the outhouse. The new moral discipline aided the adoption of postponed marriage, permanent celibacy, and
emigration. These practices became the principal means of consolidating farm sizes and of increasing the standard of
living. Homes, like churches and schools, became well-ordered, supervized spaces in which there was a time and
place for everything, and everything was in its proper time and proper place. The transformation in

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the size, quality, and durability of Irish houses, during the second haft of the nineteenth century, involved an internal
revolution of time and space centered on body discipline. It was paralleled by an initial differentiation of spaces: of
churches from schools, of churches from homes, and, within homes, of kitchens, bedrooms, and living rooms. It was
because this initial differentiation of space took place in and through the supervision of the Church, and because the
Catholic church continued to be able to determine what went on in schools and homes, that it was not rationally
developed and, consequently, the full modernization of Irish society was delayed until the middle of the present
century.
Notes
1. See John Whyte, Church and State in Modern Ireland (Dublin: Gill and MacMillan, 1971), 54. This article was
removed from the Constitution through a referendum held in 1972.
2. Dermot Keogh, The Vatican, the Bishops and Irish Politics 1919-1939 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1986), 210.
3. For a more detailed discussion of these two referenda see Tom Inglis, Moral Monopoly (Dublin: Gill and
MacMillan, 1987).
4. See John Whyte, Church and State in Modern Ireland, 2d edition (Dublin: Gill and MacMillan, 1980), 415.
5. For a further discussion of the relation between Church and State in Ireland and what constitutes the moral
monopoly of the Catholic see Inglis, Moral Monopoly, and Tom Inglis, ''The Separation of Church and State in
Ireland" Social Studies, vol. 9 (1985); 37-48.
6. See, for example, Talcott Parsons "Family and Church as Boundary Structures," Sociology and Religion edited by
N. Birnbaum and G. Lenzer (New Jersey. Prentice Hall, 1963), 425. This is the central theme that runs through
Parsons's theory of evolution. Talcott Parsons The Evolution of Society (New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1977).
7. See, for example, Louis Althusser, "Ideology and State Apparatuses," Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays
(London: NLB, 1971).
8. See Max Weber, "Religious Rejections of the World and Their Directions," From Max Weber edited by H. Gerth
and C. W. Mills (New York: Oxford University Press, 1958).

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9. See Jeffrey Alexander, Theoretical Logic in Sociology Vol. 1. Positivism, Presuppositions and Current
Controversies (California: University of California Press, 1982), 98-112.
10. Ibid., 76.
11. This is to emphasize an interest in immediate social ends. There was also an interest in economic ends, an
improvement in the standard of living in rural areas through consolidation of farm size that required serf-discipline
and mortification particularly in terms of postponed marriage, permanent celibacy, and emigration, all of which the
Church helped achieve through a strict adherence to its rules and regulations. See Inglis, Moral Monopoly, ch. 7.
12. See Galen Broker, Rural Disorder and Police Reform in Ireland 1812-1836 (London: Routledge and Keegan
Paul, 1970), 231.
13. See, for example, State of Ireland, Report from Select Committee, British House of Commons Papers, vol. 8
(1825), p. 823.
14. For an overall impression of the range and extent of these reports, see Arthur and Jean Maltby, Ireland in the
Nineteenth Century (New York: Pergammon Press, 1979).
15. Maureen Wall, The Penal Laws 1691-1760 (Dundalk: Dundalgen Press, 1976), 58.
16. William Lecky, A History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, vol. 1 (Dublin: Browne and Nolan, 1895), 168.
17. See, for example, J. Colquhon, Ireland: Popery and Priestcraft the Cause of her Misery and Crime (Glasgow,
1836).
18. Wall, Penal Laws, 66.
19. Patrick Corish, The Catholic Community in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Dublin: Helicon, 1979),
42, 49-51, 57, 67.
20. Emet Larkin, "The Devotional Revolution in Irelant 1850-1875," American Historical Review 77 (1972), 630.
21. Norbert Elias, The Civilizing Process, vol. 1 The History of Manners (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1978), xv.
22. Ibid., 101.
23. Quoted in S. J. Connolly, Priests and People in Pre-Famine Ireland 1780-1845 (Dublin: Gill and MacMillan,
1982), 113.

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References
Alexander, Jeffrey. 1982. Theoretical Logic in Sociology Vol. 1. Positivism, Presuppositions and Current
Controversies. California: University of California Press.
Althusser, Louis. 1971. "Ideology and State Apparatuses," In Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays. London:
NLB.
Broker, Galen. 1970. Rural Disorder and Police Reform in Ireland 1812-1836. London: Routledge and Keegan Paul.
Colquhon, J. 1836. Ireland: Popery and Priestcraft the Cause of her Misery and Crime. Glasgow.
Connolly, S. J. 1982. Priests and People in Pre-Famine Ireland 1780-1845. Dublin: Gill and MacMillan.
Constitution of Ireland. 1980. Dublin: Government Publications.
Corish, Patrick. 1979. The Catholic Community in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Dublin: Helicon.
Elias, Norbert. 1978. The Civilizing Process Vol. 1 The History of Manners. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Inglis, Tom. 1985. "The Separation of Church and State in Ireland." Social Studies 9: 37-48.
Inglis, Tom. 1987. Moral Monopoly. Dublin: Gill and MacMillan.
Keogh, Dermot. 1986. The Vatican, the Bishops and Irish Politics 1919-1939. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press.
Larkin, Emet. 1972. "The Devotional Revolution in Ireland 1850-1875." American Historical Review 77.
Lecky, William. 1895. A History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century vol. 1. Dublin: Browne and Nolan.
Maltby, Arthur and Jean. 1979. Ireland in the Ninth Century. New York: Pergammon Press.
Parsons, Talcott. 1977. The Evolution of Society. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Parsons, Talcott. 1963. "Family and Church as Boundary Structures." In Sociology and Religion edited by N.
Birnbaum and G. Lenzer. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
State of Ireland. Report from Select Committee, British House of Commons Papers, vol. 8 (1825).

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Wall, Maureen. The Penal Laws 1691-1760. Dundalk: Dundalgen Press.


Weber, Max. 1958. "Religious Rejections of the World and Their Directions." In Prom Maw Weber edited by H.
Gerth and C. W. Mills. New York: Oxford University Press.
Whyte, John. 1971 (1980). Church and State in Modern Ireland. Dublin: Gill and MacMillan.

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4
Saints, Shrines, and Politics in Contemporary Israel
Alex Weingrod
I
In his recent work depicting the growth of a West Indian carnival in London, Abner Cohen traces an intricate
interplay between politics and culture (1980, 1982). Cohen's main theoretical point is that "politics" (as expressed by
ambitious leaders or in social class conflicts) and "culture" (represented by steel bands and a syncretic religion) are
not properly reducible to one another: each has a different internal dynamic, follow along different tracks, and
consequently they may also merge or affect one another in unpredictable, near mysterious ways. Mart Bax's essay on
religious regimes and state-formation makes a similar point: the eighty apparitions that are recorded as having taken
place "in North Brabant between 1830 and 1950, every one of which became the focus of an important pilgrimage,"
are fascinating in theft own right, and Bax then indicates the complex ways in which they were linked with church
politics and state-formation in rural Holland (1987, 7).
"Saints, Shrines, and Politics in Contemporary Israel" follows some of these same themes. My specific canvas is the
process by which, in Israel, a new Jewish saint, shrine, and pilgrimage have recently emerged. Somewhat more
broadly, I consider this event in the context of a series of cultural and political changes that have swept through
Israeli society during the past two decades or so. Finally, I turn briefly to several more general theoretical issues
regarding culture and pout-

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ics. Beginning with a particular case, I hope to be able to cast some light upon the complicated ways in which the
two interact.
II
Let me then introduce the event, or celebration, that provides the basis for this essay. Each year now, late in the
Spring season, large crowds gather to take part in the pilgrimage to the grave of a new Jewish saint, or zaddik, Rabbi
Chayim Chouri. This pilgrimage, or hillula, takes place in the municipal cemetery of the city of Beersheba, located in
Israel's southern or Negev region. It is, by any reckoning, an extraordinary "multivocal" event. Rabbi Chouri, who
was born in 1885 in the Tunisian island of Jerba, and who was for many years the Chief Rabbi of Gabes, was a
popular figure within the relatively small Tunisian Jewish community. Following Israel's establishment in 1948, and
with the emigration of most of the Tunisian Jewish community to Israel, in 1955 Rabbi Chouri followed the rest of
his family and left for Israel, settling together with his wife and sons in Beersheba. Shortly thereafter, in 1957, he
died at the age of seventy-two. He was buried in a rather simple grave along a corner of the Beersheba cemetery.
As is the custom among Jews, the following year on the anniversary of his death, members of the Chouri family and
a small band of friends gathered at his grave; several spoke briefly recollecting their Rabbi, and the eldest son recited
the memorial kaddish prayer. There was nothing unusual about this family ceremony; a year later it was repeated
with a slightly larger number of participants. However, in the following years this small family gathering has grown
enormously and become transformed into a great pilgrimage, or hillula. By the early 1960s hundreds and then
thousands of persons gathered at the cemetery on the occasion of Rabbi Chouri's memorial celebration, they crowded
around the Rabbi's grave, lit candles, and recited prayers. These pilgrims spread across the cemetery, with its graves
and memorial stones, in order to eat and drink the traditional repast, visit with friends, sing and dance, all in an
outpouring of spontaneous gaiety and thundering power. The saint is Tunisian, but most of the celebrants in this case,
as in many other hilluloth, are Moroccan Jews who have, in effect, "adopted" Rabbi Chouri as their own. This
tradition of a yearly pilgrimage has gained in power over the years, so that in the 1980s between fifteen and twenty
thousand persons gather to celebrate the hillula. Rabbi Chouri has, indeed, become a saint, or zaddik, and many of
the thousands, who crowd around his grave, pray for his

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intercession in matters relating to their health, good fortune, or problems of love or business. Tales are told and retold
that celebrate the Rabbi's miraculous powershow he appeared in dreams and offered direction and guidance to the ill,
or how in time of war and peril he mysteriously presented himself to soldiers and guided them to safety. Thus, to sum
up briefly, in a brief span of twenty or so years Rabbi Chayim Chouri has been transformed from being a relatively
obscure Tunisian Rabbi to becoming the "saint of Beersheba."
This brief depiction hardly does justice to the richness of the celebration. But it suggests some of the context as well
as a background for the analysis. Obviously, there are a host of questions to be asked: How did this happen? What
features of faith, belief, and mystical sensibility are expressed around the new shrine? Who (if anyone) organizes the
pilgrimage, and who attends? Is this a unique event, or have other new zaddikim been "discovered" and comparable
pilgrimages organized? These are all important questions, and, in the course of this essay, I touch briefly on some of
them. I would, however, like to focus attention first upon a problem in comparative "meaning." Let me be more
specific.
Rabbi Chouri, the new zaddik, was a Tunisian Rabbi. Moreover, as was noted, nearly all of the thousands of
participants are Tunisian or Moroccan Jews. Harvey Goldberg has made the point in his article, "The Mellahs of
Southern Morocco: Report of a Survey," that in Morocco the Jewish zaddikim were a close parallel to "the elaborate
culture of maraboutism characterizing Moroccan Islam" (1983). In fact, he writes, saint worship served as a
"conceptual bridge which allowed Jews and Muslims to communicate." Goldberg s point is well-taken: one can see a
kind of semiotic message of commonality in which the saints were markers in a discourse between the Moroccan
Jewish minority and the Moroccan Muslim majority. But here lies the puzzle: if, in Morocco, the tradition of the
zaddik and hillula expressed a sense of common culture, then what message is expressed by new saints and memorial
celebrations in Israel where the majority are Jews, secular, and skeptical if not downright aghast by the sight of
merriment and feasting in a cemetery, or the reputed magical powers of old rabbis and their graves? Why should tens
of thousands of Moroccan and Tunisian Jews now flock to these celebrations?
III
Interpreting and understanding this and similar events requires a

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brief glimpse at Jewish life in North Africa, particularly in Morocco, as well as understanding the experience of these
immigrants in Israel. The sketch that follows is brief and selective, but it outlines some of the salient points.
Communities of Jews were widely distributed throughout North Africa: in Tunisia and Morocco, Jews lived in
separate ghetto-zones (millah) within towns and cities, and, in rural areas; they typically lived separately in small
villages. Politically, Jews were subservient to the dominant Muslim population, and economically they were
concentrated in artisan, trader, and merchant roles within a traditional ethnic division of labor. Living side-by-side
for long periods of time, Arabs and Jews in the Maghreb shared a broad range of common cultural features. They
spoke the same language and dialects, shared common sets of understandings regarding how society was organized,
and, as has already been emphasized, drew upon a common series of beliefs and practices. This is well-represented in
the prevalence and importance of saints. To be sure, the Muslim marabout and the Jewish zaddik differed in
important respects; maraboutic families and lineages were common among Muslims, unusual among Jews, and the
saintly Muslim families were much more involved in daily affairs then were the Jewish zaddikim (Stillman 1982).
Nonetheless, as among the Moroccan Muslims so, too, among Jews the zaddikim and their shrinesthe place of their
real or reputed burialwere an important ritual focus. For example, in his documentation of zaddikim in Morocco, the
Israeli folklorist Ben Ami, reported upon close to six hundred different shrines, each associated with a different saint,
some of which were common to both Muslims and Jews, and which also seem to have been organized into a
hierarchy of local and regional cults (1984). Pilgrimages, or hilluloth, were widely celebrated. On the anniversary of
the zaddik's death, Jews gathered at the grave site to recite prayers, camp out for several days with family and
friends, eat a memorial meal, and celebrate together the saint's powers. In brief, among Moroccan Jews there was not
only a kind of "saint map" in which the many shrines were located spatially, but also a rich calender of celebrations
in which a great many persons seem to have taken part.
While small numbers of North African Jews immigrated to Israel prior to 1948, the establishment of Israel set off
what soon became a virtual transfer of population. The immigration characteristically developed in several waves
and ripplesa great initial movement to Israel in the period between 1948 and 1954, then a pause followed by a
smaller wave in the late 1950s and mid-1960s. In the process, probably as many as 200,000 Jews left from such
antique Jewish communities as Fes and Jerba, as well as from the newer urban population centers

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like Casablanca and Tripoli, and began making a new life in Israel. As numerous studies have shown, their Israeli
experience during the first decade or two was at best "bittersweet," and often plain bitter! In common with other
immigrants then flocking to Israel, the North Africans needed to learn new occupations and skills, a new language
and cultural styles, as well as adopt to what was for many a new centralized Western political-administrative system.
High hopes and optimistic dreams were frequently dashed by the harsh realities of life in their new, relatively
resourceless country. Moreover, unlike some other immigrants, many North African Jews found themselves sent by
government planners to new development towns and agricultural villages then being built in the outlying, peripheral
northern and southern zones of Israel. This is an important point: new towns such as Beth Shean and Kiryat Shmonah
in the north, or Dimona and Kiryat Gat in the south, were mainly composed of new North African, and primarily
Moroccan immigrants. It was a difficult, frustrating experience, and the Moroccans in particular soon acquired a
reputation for being hotheaded and aggressive; they were angered not only by the meagre conditions of dally life, but
also (and perhaps mainly) by the fact that the dominant social roles were monopolized by Ashkenazi Jews, the
European born or bred Israelis, and that they were expected to conform to the cultural norms espoused by this Israeli
elite. This, too, is an important pointthe pressures for cultural assimilation and divesting oneself of previous beliefs
and traditions were extremely powerful. Then, too, the Moroccans sensed that discrimination and prejudice was often
levelled against them, and this, too, was a source of resentment. Not surprisingly, the two major incidents of rioting
among Jews the demonstrations in Wadi Salib in 1958 and the Israel Black Panther protests of the early
1970sprimarily involved Moroccan youngsters, who were protesting violently against the reigning society and
culture.
These were important, formative features in the experience of many North African immigrants. But there are
additional elements that are no less significant. Gradually, many of the immigrants mastered the new skills that had
been thrust upon them; they became more fluent in Hebrew and at home in their new surroundings, and in common
with other Israelis their living standard and consumption levels also climbed steadily. Now entrenched in large
portions of the country, they became the "veterans," instructing newer groups of immigrants into the mysteries of life
in Israel. While memories of prejudice remained close to the surface, the newer generations of Israel born and
socialized youngsters appeared to be more confidently attached to their society. together with other Israelis, they

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fought in several wars, and, among other things, married "out" with members of other Jewish ethnic groups. In
addition, during the 1970s, an ideology of ethnic pluralism began to replace social assimilation as the reigning Israeli
outlook. The most vivid example of this shift was the late-1960s celebration of the mimouna festival, a minor
Moroccan tradition that has suddenly been elevated into a near-national Israeli holiday (Goldberg 1978; Weingrod
1979).
Not surprisingly, ethnic politics have begun to thrive in this new social climate. The recent prominence of North
African (mainly Moroccan) political leaders has been striking: several hold important positions at the cabinet level of
government, and what is more, the "North African caucus" in the Israeli parliament includes more than twenty
members who are themselves divided between the different, competing political parties. In these and other ways
Moroccan and Tunisian Jews have become more integrated within Israeli society; they have, indeed, become a major
force in some of the social and cultural transformations that have been taking place lately.
With this background sketch in mind, we can now turn back to our central problem: How can the recent emergence
of new saints and pilgrimages be explained? How can we account for the phenomenal growth of Rabbi Chouri's
hillula? What "message" is being sent by the thousands who gather yearly to celebrate in the municipal cemetery?
Several previous explanations of the popularity of the hilluloth have been suggested. For example, Ben Ami takes the
view that it was to be expected that Moroccan Jews would adopt or create new saints in Israel: since the zaddikim
were so vital an element in their religious tradition in Morocco, they simply maintained their beliefs in the new,
fertile climate of the Holy Land (1982). Shlomo Deshen has proposed a more complex explanation: viewing these
pilgrimages in the broader religious context of a trend toward secularization, Deshen argues that their popularity
stems from the fact that: "They are especially suited to the needs and problems of persons who have lost a large
measure of their traditional culture and social moorings" (1977; 120). Both explanations have a certain logic and
power. However, I want to propose a different avenue of analysis, one that focuses more squarely upon political and
cultural processes.
The point can be stated as follows: Rabbi Chouri's hillula, and others like it, are, among other things, statements of a
new North Arfican, and especially Moroccan presence in Israel. This is a statement of the legitimacy of cultural
differences: in contrast with the Moroccan context, the message sent by the new saints and their pilgrimages is the
possibility of some level of separate cultural and political organization. The message that emanates from the
municipal

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cemetery in Beersheba is not ''how much we are like other Israelis," but rather "since we are Israelis, we can also
celebrate according to our particular tradition."
What attracts thousands of Moroccan and Tunisian Israelis to this hillula is that it is an occasion for them to
publically celebrate on their own terms: this is "their holiday," commemorating "their Rabbi," and it is performed on
a grand style according to "their own traditions." This is a powerful motivation: it is now legitimate for them, Israelis
all, to assemble and celebrate the anniversary of the death of a Tunisian zaddik. They gather together normally and
proudly with no hint of crisis in their social or cultural identity or belonging. This is a true sea change, although it is
the result of a gradual process. As was emphasized previously, North African Jews have had a series of bittersweet
experiences as immigrants in Israel. Looking back, they can point to those harsh, trying years when they had become
dclass, thrust into outlying places where they were expected to somehow manage; at the same time, however, they
can also proudly claim to have become accustomed and even to have mastered their new Israeli environment, and, at
least for some, to have skipped ahead up the sociopolitical and economic ladder. The movement from a kind of selfhate to a newer "ethnic pride" is an important facet of this process. Indeed, it helps to explain why it is only in recent
years that zaddikim and hilluloth have attracted wider audiences. Ben Ami and others have noted that these festivities
were muted and small-scale during the 1950s and early 1960s: the Israeli emphasis upon "immigrant absorption" and
against separate cultural organization had effectively stigmatized ethnic cultural or political organization. It was only
later, as in the case of Rabbi Chouri, that these celebrations attracted ever-widening audiences. Paradoxically, this is
the "other side" to social mobility and heightened social integration: as these immigrants became more accustomed to
life in Israel and more adept at moving upward in the society, they also gained the confidence and strength enabling
them to organize their own public festivals. This emergence of ethnic celebrations is therefore not a sign of the
failure to assimilate, but quite the reverse: large public events such as Rabbi Chouri's hillula are legitimate since the
participants have become more thoroughly absorbed within their new milieu.
IV
In this final section, I want to turn to some comparative and theoretical topics that were posed or implied by the
previous analysis. Rabbi

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Chayim Chouri, the zaddik of Beersheba, is the proverbial single case: What can be said more broadly about the
process of creating new saints and new celebrations, and how is this connected with cultural and political processes
that may be coursing through the society?
Rabbi Chouri is not, of course, an isolated case: a new "saint map" replete with periodic festivities is rapidly being
designed in Israel. What this means is that, during the past twenty or so years, pilgrimages have been initiated or
greatly enlarged to a series of old and new holy shrines (Ben Ami 1982). These older shrines include the giant
pilgrimage to the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, located near the northern town of Safad, that yearly draws
upward of 150,000 participants; or the hillula of Honi Hameagel, a Talmudic sage, whose grave near the northern
town of Hazor has also become a local pilgrimage site. Two new shrines are especially fascinating. Near the town of
Safad, a Moroccan immigrant has developed a new shrine devoted to the famous Moroccan zaddik, Rabbi David
u'Moshe: in this case, the zaddik is believed to have been mysteriously transported from the Moroccan Atlas to his
new shrine in Northern Israel, where thousands of believers now light candles and pray for the saint's intervention in
matters of health or good fortune (Bilu 1984).
The final case of a new saint is that of Rabbi Israel Abouhatzeira, or as he is popularly known, the Baba Sali In
certain respects, this zaddik is similar to Rabbi Chouri. Like Rabbi Chouri, he, too, was a contemporary rabbi (in this
case Moroccan) who has become a zaddik. Rabbi Abouhatzeira was a member of the most distinguished Moroccan
Jewish rabbinic family; famed for his erudition and healing powers, his home and yeshiva, or religious academy, near
the southern town of Netivoth drew crowds of believers who came to him for his counsel and blessing. Indeed, the
Baba Sali was a saint already during his lifetime, and it was therefore not surprising that following his death (at the
age of ninety-four) his grave immediately became a holy shrine. He is undoubtedly the most famous of the new
zaddikim, and his photograph can now be seen peering out in homes and shops spread throughout Israel.
Needless to say, the sites on this new 'saint map" are primarily frequented by North African Jews: the periodic
hilluloth draw huge crowdsolder and younger Moroccans and Tunisianswho expend considerable time and
substantial resources in taking part in these festive occasions. To be sure, the giant celebration to the grave of Bar
Yochai also includes thousands of Ashkenazic religious zealots, and the Baba Sali also has attracted followers from
within this group. Nonetheless, North African Jews have given the major impetus to this

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saintly revival.
These periodic highly charged activities are connected closely with a series of political processes. These can be seen
within various contexts and at different levels. Beginning with "micro-politics," in several striking instances family
members or close kinsmen of the new zaddikim have plunged actively into politics: Rabbi Chouri's grandson is a
rambunctious member of the Beersheba City Council, and one of the zaddik's sons was a (reluctant) candidate for
election to the Israeli parliament as a member of a new North African religious party (SHAS). Similarly, the Baba
Sali's son and erstwhile "spiritual heir," himself a controversial personality, has also become involved in local and
national Israeli politics, and one of his cousins is an elected member of the Israeli Knesseth, or parliament. In
addition, religious academies named for both Rabbi Chouri and Rabbi Abouhatzeira have been established recently,
and various family members are involved in far-reaching activities and endeavors connected with their zaddik. The
town of Netivotha failure as a development townmay yet prosper as a center for the ever expanding activities being
promoted in the name of the Baba Sali.
Now while these are still in the category of "anecdotal data," they may be pointing to more significant trends. The
saintly mantle is not far removed from political party as well as personal ambition and power.
Moreover, at another level, the political implications of the increased pilgrimage activities is significant. The
hilluloth are events that regularly attract thousands of North African participants. These are ethnic group celebrations
par excellance. Indeed, ethnic group awareness, or North African Jewish solidarity, has had a variety of ramifications
in regard to Israeli politics. The previously reported prominence of Moroccan politicians is undoubtedly connected
with the striking success and growth of the various North African celebrations. Attracting audiences to cultural
settings where ethnic idioms prevail has clear implications for political mobilizationidentifying themselves as
Moroccans and Tunisians undoubtedly produces support for Moroccan and Tunisian political candidates. The reverse
is also likely to be truepolitical mobilization also leads to enhanced group identity, and this in turn brings out larger
crowds of persons, who periodically take part in celebrations such as the hilluloth.
There is still another dimension to these processes. Pilgrimages and zaddikim can also be seen as part of a
largerperhaps deeperpolitical and cultural movement. To be more specific, what Ben Ami calls "saint veneration" is
no doubt related to broader trends in which

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significant sections of Israeli society have become more fundamentalist, particularist, and nationalist (Cohen 1983).
During the past two decades, these trends have become more powerful and pronounced; it is fair to conclude that
within the same or overlapping populations a mystical religious orientation seems to have grown together with, or
close to, what can properly be termed right-wing political nationalism. This is a distinctly frothy, unstable mix, and it
has often led to rapid political and cultural developments. This is not to say that these particular tendencies have
become dominant, or even that they attract a growing number of adherents. The image of saints and holy shrines is
undoubtedly connected with this trend: not just in electioneering, when zaddikim appear on televised programs of
political party propaganda, but also in a certain sensibility that seems to have become more pervasive in recent years.
Finally, while this essay has focused mainly upon particular processes and contexts, it is also useful to briefly point
in some more general, theoretical directions. Two main conclusions are implied by this lengthy depiction of saints,
shrines, and politics. First, as was noted at the outset of this essay, cultural and political processes flow according to
different dynamics, and their intersections are difficult to predict in advance. To take the example just cited: the
spontaneous, rather naive fashion in which a new saint and shrine were uncovered is only subsequently and much
later understood to be linked with radical political ideologies. On the other hand, a second conclusion of this study is
that, when they do intersect, political and cultural currents often build a supportive, interactive setting for one
another. This is, of course, only a variation (if that) on the Max Weber theories concerning the relationships between
politics and religion, or elites and ideologies. The theory continues to afford useful perspectives upon these endlessly
engaging issues.
References
Bax, Mart. 1987. "Religious Regimes and State Formation: Towards a Research Perspective." Anthropological
Quarterly 60 (1): 1-11.
Ben Ami, I. 1982. "Folk Veneration of Saints Among Moroccan Jews." In Studies in Jerusalem and Islam, edited by
S. Molag, I. Ben Ami, and N. Stillman. Jerusalem: The Magnes Press.
Ben Ami, I. 1984. Saint Veneration Among the Jews of Morocco (in Hebrew). Jerusalem: The Magnes Press.

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Bilu, Y. 1984. "Motivation Personelle et Signification Sociale Du Phnomne Rcrudescent de la Vnration Des
Saints Parmi Les Juifs Marocains en Israel" In Juifs Nord Africains D'Aujourdhui, edited by J. C. Lasri, and C.
Rapia. Forthcoming.
Cohen, A. 1980. "Drama and Politics in the Development of a London Carnival." Man 15:66-85.
. 1982. "A Polyethnic London Carnival as a Contested Cultural Performance." Ethnic and Racial Studies 5 (1):23-38.
Cohen, E. 1983. "Ethnicity and Legitimation in Contemporary Israel." Jerusalem Quarterly (24):21-34.
Deshen, S. 1977. "Tunisian Hillulot." In The Generation of Transition (in Hebrew), edited by M. Sholeid and S.
Deshen. Benzvi Institute, Jerusalem.
Goldberg, Harvey. 1978. "The Mimouna and the Minority Status of Moroccan Jews." Ethnology 17:75-85.
. 1983. "The Mellahs of Southern Morocco: Report of a Survey." The Maghreb Review 9:61-69.
Weingrod, Alex. 1979. "Recent Trends in Israeli Ethnicity." Ethnic and Racial Studies 2:55-65.

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5
The Role of Ritual in State-Formation
David L Kertzer
If the power exercised by religious regimes and by secular states is more similar than many scholars have thought, it
is not just because religious regimes in the European past (and in countries such as Iran today) have, like states
everywhere, relied on armies, jails, and the power of force. For if religious regimes have imitated what we now take
to be the prerogatives of the state, it is equally true that states have come to rely on instruments of power more
commonly identified with religious regimes. I look here at one of these weaponsthe use of rites in the struggles of
state-formationconsidering in some detail the case of the battle between the emerging modern Italian state and its
implacable foe, the Roman Catholic church, in the nineteenth century.
Antonio Gramsci (1971,262) defined the state simply as "hegemony protected by the armour of coercion." It is
through their extension of hegemony, according to Gramsci, that states consolidate their power, giving them a
stability that physical force alone could never achieve. Hence, formation of a new state in opposition to preexisting
religious regimes involves a battle over hegemony as much as a battle of armies. Indeed, the loyalty of the soldiers
themselves is in good part the product of the hegemonic process.
Extending hegemony is a symbolic process constrained in part by the distribution of material resources in a society.
It is a process that takes many forms, some of which, such as public schooling, may involve direct ideological
training. There are a variety of reasons,

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however, why ritual serves as a valuable means in this hegemonic struggle, and both religious regimes and emerging
states must make judicious use of rites.
Ritual is commonly identified with religion rather than with the state. In Emile Durkheim's (1915, 41) classic
portrait, religious beliefs divide the world into two classes: the sacred and the profane, and rites are "the rules of
conduct which prescribe how a man should comport himself in the presence of these sacred objects." On the surface,
this appears to support a restrictive view of the role of rites, identifying ritual with religion. Yet, on closer
consideration, we reach a very different conclusion. For Durkheim, worship of a god is the symbolic means by which
people worship their own society, their mutual dependency. Thus, the sacred ultimately refers not to a supernatural
entity, but to people's emotionally charged interdependence, their societal arrangements. What is important about
rituals, then, is not that they deal with supernatural beings, but rather that they provide a valuable way for people to
express their social dependence. Following Durkheim's lead, I define ritual as standardized, repetitive, symbolic
behavior. 1
In the next section, I would like to consider just what properties of ritual make it so valuable in the political struggle
to extend hegemony, both to consolidate rule and to undermine the existing regime. I then turn to the case of the
formation of the Italian state in opposition to the Roman Catholic church to illustrate the role of ritual in the
relationship between religious regimes and state-formation.
The Power of Ritual
Through ritual, beliefs about the universe come to be acquired, reinforced, and eventually changed. As Ernst Cassirer
(1955, 38-39) notes, "nature yields nothing without ceremonies." People constantly face the problem of the
indeterminancy of the world in which they live. They respond by trying to fix a single, known reality so that they can
know what is appropriate behavior, and they can understand their place in the world. The very fixity and timelessness
of ritual are a reassuring part of this attempt to tame time and to define reality.
Recognizing the political importance of ritual means abandoning the image of "political man" as a rational actor who
carefully weighs his or her objective circumstances and decides on a course of political action based on a culture-free
calculation of self-interest. Though we are rooted in the material world and much affected by

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material forces, we perceive and evaluate them through our symbolic apparatus. "Social rituals," writes Mary
Douglas (1966, 62), "create a reality which would be nothing without them." Once constructed, this reality tends to
be conservative; replacing the reality means altering the ritual that goes with it as well.
Ritual serves four important political ends: (1) organizational integration, (2) legitimation, (3) construction of
solidarity, and (4) inculcation of political beliefs. 2 To understand the crucial role played by ritual in state-formation
and in the struggles with religious regimes, each of these should be considered. I here describe them briefly.
No state or institutionalized religious organization could exist without symbolic representation, for they can only be
"seen" through their associated symbolism. Indeed, people tend to think of organizations as physical units, part of the
material world. Ritual provides an important means by which such images are created and through which people are
identified with them. New state-formation involves defining a new reality for the subject populationthe stateand a
new self-conception as citizen.
Since states and institutionalized religions can only be represented symbolically, it follows that a person's allegiance
to state or church can only be expressed through symbolism. I wear certain clothing (whether chador or black shirt), I
sing certain songs (whether Sh'ma Yisrael or the Marseillaise), I address people with certain terms (whether brother
or comrade), I carry aloft a particular icon (whether cross or flag) and by doing so I consider myself and am
considered by others to belong to a particular state or a particular religious organization. Through such rites, the
relationships between individuals and organizations are objectified.
Such symbolic representations consist not only of inanimate objects such as flags, but also of individuals who
symbolize the state or religion. The development of Turkish nationalism, for example, was facilitated by
identification of nationhood with the charismatic figure of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (Frey 1968). Recent attempts to
establish new nations out of former colonial territories often involve just such a creation of heroic political leaders,
their portraits adorning every wall, every coin, and every stamp. Louis XIV's famous (though probably apocryphal)
pronouncement, L'tat, c'est moi!, should be seen in this light. For the French masses, the state was too abstract an
entity to inspire the kind of identification and allegiance sought by the rulers. By personifying France, people could
conceive of a state.3
The need for organizational distinctiveness, setting the new state off from its predecessors and from other states, is
similarly served through symbolism and associated rites. Thus, the founding of the

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modern, independent South African state involved replacing images of British monarchs with local heroes on stamps,
coins, and paper currency. Awards such as the Cape of Good Hope Decoration replaced British honors like the
Victoria Cross, and Settlers' Day, and the Day of the Covenant replaced Empire Day and the Queen's birthday. A
new national flag and a new national anthem gave rise to further ritual change (Thompson 1985). A new political
entity without new rites and symbols is inconceivable.
Another problem that large-scale organizations, whether church or state, face is integrating local activity into the
higher organizational level. This, too, can only take place through symbolism and accompanying rites. With the
spread of the Roman Empire, for example, new problems of political integration arose. What was it that made a town
in Asia Minor part of the empire rather than an autonomous political unit? How were people made to think of
themselves as part of such a nebulous and distant concept as the Roman Empire, when all they actually saw were
occasional soldiers and tax collectors? Part of the solution was a series of rites designed to make just this connection:
monuments were constructed and popular participation in imperial rites became a regular feature of community life.
4
Rulers often journeyed out to the periphery to reinforce these rites of popular allegiance to the regime. The classic
form of such ritual, the rites of royal entry, have been enacted in countless times and places throughout Europe and,
in similar forms, wherever states have arisen.
In the new states today, a variety of local rites are regularly enacted to link the far-flung population to the centers of
power. Typical is the situation of Tanzania, like so many of these new states, the product of a colonial amalgamation
of different peoples with no common cultural identity. State agents established local party sections throughout the
new country, each sponsoring regular displays of state and party symbolism, so that the villagers, in Sally F. Moore's
(1977, 154) words, could be put "in touch with that unseen and un-seeable entity, the state."
In discussions of the role of ritual in politics, anthropologists have generally focused on the use of ritual to help
legitimate the status quo and, with it, the authority of the rulers. This process has been portrayed as universal,
whether given a sociological explanation, as by Emile Durkheim, or a psychological explanation, as in Bruno Bettelheim's (1960, 86) claim that people have an innate need to believe in the goodness of their leaders and their
political system.
Ritual is a potent means of legitimation because it offers a way to unite a particular image of the universe with a
strong emotional

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attachment to that image. Rituals are built out of symbols that embody certain views of how the world is constructed.
At the same time, by engaging people in standardized, often emotionally charged social action, rituals make these
symbols salient and promote attachment to them.
Although this view of ritual as legitimating regimes and rulers seems to link political ritual with the political status
quo, in fact the conservative nature of ritual often gives it special power in legitimating changed political
arrangements. New political systemsincluding new statesborrow legitimacy from old regimes by nurturing the old
ritual forms, redirected to new purposes.
Every culture has its own store of powerful symbols, and it is generally in the interest of the new political forces to
claim those symbols as their own. Ritual provides one important mechanism for just such symbolic expropriation. In
the ancient Kandyan state in what is now Sri Lanka, for example, a diffuse system of symbols linked the rulers to
supernatural forces. The most powerful symbol was the Sacred Tooth Relic, housed in a special mountain temple.
This icon legitimated the authority of the rulers of the ancient state. In modern Sri Lanka, though the political system
is entirely different, the same rituals of legitimation are still used. When a new government is sworn in, the leaders
first move is to proceed to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, their pilgrimage broadcast by the mass media to the
population (Seneviratne 1978).
Closely related to the creation of legitimacy is the need of the state or religious regime to foster popular solidarity.
This, too, derives from Durkheim's views, for Durkheim emphasized the key role played by ritual in producing and
maintaining solidarity. Helpless if left alone, people need to comfort themselves by continually reaffirming the
strength and goodness of the society in which they live. This need for social communion can only be met through
some common symbolic action. As he wrote: "It is by uttering the same cry, pronouncing the same word, or
performing the same gesture in regard to some object that they become and feel themselves to be in unison"
(Durkheim 1915, 230).
Such rites not only express people's social dependence but also help define the boundaries of the most important
social groups, the group of people to whom the individual gives allegiance. The task of the emerging state battling
against an established religious regime is to replace the rites of the church with the rites of the state as the basis for
people's social allegiance.
This ritual creation of solidarity should not be equated with the construction of unanimity of belief. Indeed, what
makes ritual such a

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powerful weapon in building solidarity is that it does not depend on such cognitive sharing. Edmund Leach's view to
the contrary notwithstanding, rites are not simply stylized statements of belief. 5 As Ernst Cassirer (1946, 24) put it,
rather too harshly, the person participating in ritual ''lives a life of emotion, not of thoughts." Beliefs may change, but
rites have a way of continuing despite the fact that the rationalizations on which they were originally based may
change dramatically.
What does all this mean for state-formation and religious regimes? The key here is that people's allegianceswhether
to church or stateare often rooted in theft social identification with a group rather than with their sharing of beliefs
with other members.6 People's beliefs are neither consistent nor are they all equally developed or strongly held.
Consistency comes through common action, not only because the different participants have different beliefs, but
also because each of the participants has a formless morass of conflicting beliefs. Ritual provides one important
means for just this common symbolic action. The German who failed to give the Nazi salute at the proper public
occasion became a social leper; regular reenactment of the rite strengthened people's attachment to the regime
regardless of theft private beliefs. Similarly, at the massive rites of the French Revolution, the thousands who swore
allegiance to the new regime doubtless had a wide variety of understandings of what it was all about, but the
common participation in the rite produced a strong sense of solidarity around the revolutionary regime.7
In arguing that ritual plays an important role in bringing about solidarity in the absence of consensus, I do not want to
ignore the fact that rites have an important impact on people's political perceptions. Through ritual, people develop
theft ideas about what the appropriate bodies of authority arewhether state or churchand how to interpret political
events and political leaders. Political understandings, in short, are mediated through symbols, and ritual, as a potent
form of symbolic representation, is a valuable tool in the construction of political reality.
Take the unusual case of the successful struggle of a nascent religious regime against an existing state, the case of the
recent Iranian revolution. When, amidst the revolutionary chaos, the United States embassy in Tehran was assaulted
and its American personnel held by force, there began a fierce symbolic struggle to define just what was happening.
Without such a process, neither Iranians nor Americans could arrive at an understanding of the events. The captors
and theft allies whipped up popular support for theft actions in Iran by a series of rites, including parading powerful
religious and anti-American symbols in front of the embassy. Meanwhile, back in the

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United States, another ritual complex arose, spreading from the White Housewhere Christmas tree lights were
dimmedto Knights of Columbus posts and town halls in countless communities, where flags remained at haft staff.
The United States itself, through this symbolic transformation, was being held hostage.
When a new state is being founded, rites can play an important role in defining the nature of the new political entity
for the population. The very emotional involvement of the population that rites afford makes ritual an unusually
potent tool for mass political socialization. An instructive recent example is provided by the establishment of an
independent Swaziland in 1968 after may years of British colonial rule.
The ceremonies to usher in the new state took on tremendous importance to the Swaziland elite, for through the rites
the new political status quo would be promulgated. One of the most important elements involved continuing relations
with Britain, and hence required the presence of a suitable British representative at the ceremonies. Thus, it was with
considerable satisfaction that King Sobhuza II and his aides learned that the Duke of Kent, cousin of Queen
Elizabeth, would represent Britain. A photo of the duke was prominently displayed in all the official programs for the
ceremonies. Unfortunately, however, shortly before the ceremonies the duke's mother died and he had to bow out.
When the Swazi leaders learned of this, and of the low-level nature of the last-minute British replacement, they were
sorely disappointed. The ritual message they hoped to sendthe importance Britain attributed to its relations with the
newly independent statewas undermined.
Despite the rebuff, the ceremonies went on as planned, held in a large open stadium, so that thousands of Swazi
could attend. Sobhuza, the King of Swaziland, entered the stadium in a huge new black Cadillac limousine, wearing
full traditional regal garb, replete with high-plumed headgear. After circling the stadium, and as the band played the
new national anthem, he mounted the dais. Upon the subsequent arrival of Sir Francis Lloyd, the British emissary,
the band struck up "God Save the Queen." Swaziland was no longer to be a British colony, but the importance of the
country's continuing ties with Britain was ritually heralded.
The ceremonies followed European example until, beneath the seated diplomatic dignitaries, the voices of thousands
of Swazi warriors began to rise with the rhythmic warrior song of old. King Sobhuza II and the prime minister,
Prince Makhosini, left their seats, joining the swaying regiments below as the ceremonial dancing began. The crowd
let loose with piercing whistles of approval, as the two

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leaders danced along. The dance moved to its crescendo when the warriorsthe king in the middlecrouched beneath
their shields and then, in unison, jumped forward, raising their shields high over their heads. It was a moving
moment. The king and prime minister returned to their seats, leaving soon thereafter in their stretch Cadillacs to
attend the diplomatic reception (Kuper 1978, 301-304).
There are many ways the king could have communicated to his people what the nature of the new state would be, and
the nature of his role as king in such a state. He could have issued proclamations, or made sure that instruction on the
new system be provided at schools and at political meetings. But it is unlikely that any of these could compare with
the rituals at Independence Day for getting his message across. The emotions generated at the ceremonies, together
with the mix of symbolism portraying the new blend of European and traditional principles of rule, packed a
powerful cognitive punch.
The Establishment of the Modern Italian State
Creation of the modern Italian state involved overcoming both the continuing temporal power of the Roman Catholic
church and struggling against the strong influence the Church exerted on the population outside the papal states.
Indeed, the Roman Catholic church proved to be the most abiding obstacle to the formation of modern Italy. The
efforts of the Vatican to retain temporal power and to undermine the new state, as well as the struggles of the leaders
of the Risorgimento and the new government to deal with church opposition, have been the subject of countless
historical studies. Here I do not intend to examine this battle in all its aspects, but simply to review some of the ritual
forms that it took, and to use the Italian ease to reflect on the importance of ritual to the struggle between a newly
emerging state and a religious regime.
Since the fall of the Roman Empire, Italy had been divided into a kaleidoscopic variety of political entities, often at
war with one another, with portions passing from one outside power (such as France, Spain, and Austria) to another.
Those who dreamed of creating a united, independent state had not only to confront the problem of overcoming the
resistance of the local and foreign rulers of each of these polities, but also the lack of any popular conception of an
Italian unity. Creating a strong, united state would mean creating a new basis of political allegiance and social
identification among people who identified not as Italians, but as Neapolitans, Sicilians, Bolognesi, and

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so forth. Indeed, the one identification and the single institutional loyalty that bound together most of the peninsula's
population was the Roman Catholic church, with its capillary organization tying the smallest communities into the
Church's organization. The rites that bound people to a larger social group, a unit beyond the kin group, were the
rites of the Catholic church, rites that defined the community (like the festival of the patron saint) and allegiance to
the religious regime itself (as through regular mass and a host of other rites).
The role of ritual and the weakness of alternative attempts to define an Italian identity are evident in the most
important predecessor of the Risorgimento, Napoleon's establishment of a Kingdom of Italy at the beginning of the
nineteenth century. Although Napoleon stripped temporal power away from the Roman Catholic church and
expropriated much church property, he came to rely on the rites of the Church to try to build popular support for the
new Italian kingdom. Lacking any indigenous infrastructure, Napoleonic rule would remain a tenuous military
imposition, with scarce presence in rural areas especially, unless some way of building popular allegiance could be
found.
Support for the Napoleonic kingdom of Italy could not be based on myths and rites of Italian nationalism, for French
imperialism could hardly find sustenance from such symbolism. The rites would have to be based on allegiance to
Napoleon himself. Napoleon extracted a Concordat out of the Vatican in 1804, with the Italian Republic and Pope
Plus VII the contracting parties. In exchange for recognizing Roman Catholicism as the religion of the Italian
Republic, and various other provisions, the president of the new Italian state was given the authority to nominate all
bishops in Italy; all bishops and other clergymen were forced to enact a rite of political allegiance of their own,
swearing allegiance to the government of the Italian Republic. 8
Over the next few years, Napoleon's minister for religious affairs kept busy sending instructions to the archbishops
and bishops of Italy ordering them to supervise the enactment of various rites of popular obeisance to Napoleon in all
parishes of the peninsula. Typical was the memo sent on 3 August 1807, fixing Napoleon's name day as an
obligatory occasion for public festivity.
"Nothing is more fitting to the recollectioin of a Name so GREAT, and to the recent marvels performed by
the powerful arm of the HERO of Victory and Peace, as the giving of thanks to the ALMIGHTY for the
extraordinary favor, with which it pleased Him to bestow on him in so many dangerous and bold enter-

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prises, crowned, through the Supreme Providence, with such a prosperous and glorious outcome.
It will thus be with an outpouring of the heart that the priests of the Kingdom will carry out the wishes of
S.A.I., ordering that the 16th day of this month a solemn Te Deum is sung in all the Cathedrals and parish
churches, in which his Excellency the Minister of internal affairs announces the participation of the civil
Authorities" (Ministero pel Culto del Regno d'Italia 1808, 163).
Not only were similar instructions forthcoming for a large number of other regular ritual celebrations in honor of
Napoleon, but specific orders were also given for the enactment of rites of obeisance on those occasions when
Napoleon visited Italian communities. On the Emperor's entrance into each town, even where he was just passing
through, the priests were ordered to ring the church bells, and they were required to stand, garbed in white robes, in
front of the local church to render homage to Napoleon as he rode by (ibid., 182). 9
In short, attempts to shore up the new Italian kingdom involved the expropriation of ritual forms from the Roman
Catholic church. The object was both to tame the power of the Church and to create a new set of allegiances among
the population. For a variety of reasons too numerous to pursue here, Napoleon's efforts were not successful on either
count, and the fledgling Italian state was soon overthrown and with it both the new ritual forms and the political unity
of the peninsula.
Much has been written about the lack of mass participation in the Italian Unification movement, which culminated in
the proclamation of the new Italian state in 1861. What propelled the formation of the state was not any outpouring
of nationalism among the masses, but rather the efforts of a variety of elite groups: from progressive landowners and
noblemen through emerging industrial and commercial entrepreneurs and a variety of intellectuals, not to mention
the political elite of Piedmont, which stood to extend its control through Unification. For a haft century following the
demise of the Napoleonic regime, the peninsula had returned to its former political fragmentation, divided into
duchies ruled by local dukes, client states controlled by foreign elites and, of course, the substantial territories of the
papal states, controlled by the Vatican.
With Unification, in 1861, only Veneto (controlled by Austria, to be incorporated into Italy in 1866) and Rome (still
controlled by the pope) remained outside the new state. Yet, in Marquis Massimo Taparelli d'Azeglio's celebrated
phrase, having made Italy, it was now

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necessary to make Italians. The twenty-two million people of the new state had little in common, and felt no common
identity. They spoke different languages (Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour himself spoke French rather than Italian),
they had different ideas of proper social relations, different values, different historical experiences, and different
economic situations. For the Sicilians, for example, to be ruled by a Piedmontese king was little different than being
ruled by the French or the Spanish.
For the consolidation of the new state, then, a massive effort was needed to create a sense of national identity on the
part of the citizenry. Ways must be found to reach the entire population and provide them with a conception of the
state and some basis for loyalty to it. Since the population was overwhelmingly illiterate, this could not take place
through pamphlets or newspapers. It had to take other symbolic forms, the creation of new myths and new rituals.
In many ways, the situation confronted by the new state was the same that Napoleon had found: the only institution
that united most of the people on the peninsula was the Roman Catholic church. Napoleon had sought to make the
best of this by trying to enlist the support of church rites to build popular allegiance to the new regime. Although
some of the more conservative leaders of the new Italian nation would have liked to follow this course, making a
mutually satisfactory deal with the Vatican, their hopes were soon dashed. The Vatican reacted to the Risorgimento
with unbridled hostility and, in the initial period of unification, did all it could to undermine the new state.
Indeed, the Italian Risorgimento promoted a spate of church pronouncements asserting the inviolability of the
temporal power of the pope, and the dependence of the spiritual mission of the Catholic church on its continued
temporal power in Italy. The pope, said the allocution of 1862, Maxima quidem laetitia, could not be free without
temporal power. A papal encyclical two years later condemned all aspects of liberalism, including the ideas that there
should be public schools under state control and that there should be freedom of religion. Vatican intransigence
culminated in 1869-70 in Vatican I that, in a desperate attempt to stem the secular tide, introduced the doctrine of
papal infallibility.
Throughout the 1860s, with the aid of France, the Roman Catholic church was able to hold onto Rome, an important
symbol of the Church's continuing control over the peninsula. Equally cognizant of Rome's symbolic importance, the
leaders of the new state refused to establish a permanent capital until Rome could be annexed. When political events
in France made further French opposition to Italian

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annexation of Rome impossible, Italian troops marched into the city, on 20 September 1870, following a brief battle
with the token resistance put up by the papal troops of Pope Plus IX. Indeed, the pope had given instructions that his
troops put up sufficient resistance to make clear the Church was not acceding to the occupation. In making this
symbolic declaration, several dozen people died (Jemolo 1963, 29-32).
The result of continuing church opposition to the Italian state was that rather than providing the symbolic, ritual, and
social framework for building a new national identity, the Church acted as a barrier to national solidarity and state
allegiance. Through the rest of the nineteenth century, the Vatican refused to recognize the existence of the Italian
state. Catholics were forbidden from voting in state elections or running for national office (the famous non expedit).
Priests could not participate in any state celebrations; the rites of the new state were bereft of the potent symbolism
monopolized by the Church.
While their efforts seem puny in comparison to the vast ritual apparatus constructed by the state during the French
Revolution, the leaders of the nascent Italian state did employ ritual to establish a symbolic identity for the state and
bind the people to it. Some of these attempts, like those of the French Revolution, were quite direct. In 1865, for
example, the government ordered all university professors to swear loyalty to the new regime. When thirty-five
professors at the University of Bologna refused to sign, they were immediately stripped of their positions (Spadolini
1966, 24).
Meanwhile, the Church itself sought new symbolic expression for its delegitimation of the state. Near the spot in
Rome where troops loyal to the pope had beaten Giuseppe Garibaldi's army in his abortive attempt to annex Rome in
1867, Pope Pius IX erected a monument in honor of the fallen papal troops. When, a few years later, Rome fell, the
city added an epigram to the monument, rather altering the symbolic message: "This monument, that the theocratic
government erected in memory of foreign mercenaries, leaves to posterity perennial testimony of calamitous times.
S.P.Q.R. XXV October MDCCCLXXI" (Davoli 1971,185n).
Battle with the Church in symbolic and ritual contexts sometimes took less literary forms. When Pope Pius IX, archopponent of the Italian state, died in 1881, his body was taken in procession from the Vatican Basilica to a Roman
church, following the pope's wishes. Fearing the reaction of the more radical partisans of the new state, the funeral
cortege was held late at night. This was especially important because the Vatican refused to allow Italian police to
accompany the procession, for this would give the state a symbolic role in the

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proceedings. The body of the pope was carried on a horse drawn carriage, followed by just four other carriages
carrying three cardinals and other church notables.
Although thousands of the church faithful were gathered in St. Peter's Square to pay tribute to the pope, once the
cortege left the Vatican and entered Rome the environment changed. At Sant'Angelo's bridge, they were met by a
violent anticlerical crowd that threatened to push the carriage through the bridge's railing, shouting "Into the river
with the papal pig! Viva Italy!Viva Garibaldi!Death to the priests!" The chants of the papal psalm-singers were
drowned out by patriotic songs, while the rowdier protesters threw rocks at the carriages carrying the cardinals and
tore the torches out of the psalm-singers' hands. Only the arrival en masse of the carabinieri rescued the papal
procession (Spadolini 1973,324-327).
The ritual battles between church and state raged on through the following decade, with each trying to undermine the
influence of the other and to build popular support. As both Pope Pius IX, principal symbol of Roman Catholic
church resistance to the Italian state, and King Victor Emanuel II, a principal symbol of unified Italy, died within a
month of each other in 1878, it is not surprising that competing shrines were quickly erected to serve as sacred sites
for ritual display of popular allegiance. The tomb of Victor Emanuel II erected at the Pantheon became the symbolic
counterpart of the tomb of Pope Pius IX at San Lorenzo. When, in September of 1882, thousands of priests from
throughout Italy gathered in Rome to glorify the memory of their pope, who had symbolized church resistance to the
usurper (that is, the king), a national gathering of liberals was hastily organized to pay tribute at the tomb of Victor
Emanuel II. Church leaders were vociferous in trying to undermine the symbolic potency of the counter-rites, calling
the festival for the king a "triumph of paganism," and noting that the temple at which the kings tomb stood had been
stripped of all Christian symbols (Spadolini 1966,211-212).
Just as the Church took all possible symbolic action to undermine the state, many state leaders were careful to avoid
any symbolic statement of deference to the Vatican. A "free church in a free state," the liberal credo of the
Risorgimento, meant for many liberal leaders the agnosticism of state. The strength of these sentiments is illustrated
by events surrounding Pope Leon XIII's jubilee. The Vatican prepared massive celebrations throughout Italy for 1
January 1888, to mark this occasion and to provide a ritual context for expressing the solidarity of the church faithful
with the embattled Vatican. When the mayor of Rome, Duke Leopoldo Torlonia, visited the cardinal vicar to offer
the good wishes of the citizens of Rome to the pope on his

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jubilee, the reaction of an irate Prime Minister Francesco Crispi was swift: Torlonia was stripped of his office
through a hastily arranged government decree signed by the king (Caracciolo 1956,193-194).
The value of symbols to the partisans of a secular state is perhaps most dramatically illustrated by another battle that
was raging in Rome at the same time. A committee of radicals, masons, and Garibaldians was formed to organize the
construction and dedication of a monument to the patron saint of the anti-church movement, Giordano Bruno. Bruno
was a sixteenth-century philosopher and poet, originally a Dominican priest, who championed the ultimate authority
of reason. A victim of the Inquisition, refusing to retract his teachings, he was burned at the stake in Rome in 1600.
The effort, designed as a weapon to discredit the Roman Catholic church, it was immediately condemned by the
Vatican and became a battle of national importance.
In 1888, the organizing committee requested permission from Rome's city council to place the monument on the spot
where Bruno had been burned alive by church authorities. With tumultuous demonstrations between the Brunians
and anti-Brunians taking place in the streets, the conservative city council voted against the request. This in turn led
to an uproar that resulted later that year in the electoral defeat of city councillors who had voted "no." This
undermined the clerical-conservative majority that had ruled Rome. The new city council reversed the earlier
decision, providing a symbolically potent site for the monument.
With the inauguration ceremonies of the Bruno monument fast approaching, the Catholic church mobilized its forces
throughout the country in ritual combat. Protest meetings were called and the pope entered the fray directly in his
address of 27 May 1889, referring to the monument as a "notorious and perennial insult" to the religion of Jesus
Christ. When the monument was finally inaugurated, church organizations throughout the peninsula called Catholics
to gather for meetings of atonement for the terrible blasphemy being perpetrated. The largest of these was held in
Rome itself (Spadolini 1966,232-234).
The inauguration of the monument, on 9 June 1889, was presided over by the mayor of Rome and attended by wellknown political and intellectual figures from throughout Italy. The ceremonies began with a procession of thousands
of participants: over a thousand masonic banners fluttered in the breeze; all the universities of Italy sent
representatives; the standards of the various workers' societies and the coats-of-arms of the major cities of the nation
marched along. According to one contemporary account, the pope spent the day in his chapel, "as if the masses might
invade the Vatican at any moment to

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assassinate him." He was accompanied in his vigil by members of the diplomatic corps, including the French
ambassador (Spadolini 1973, 335-336; Caracciolo 1956,194-196.).
The ritual battles between church and state continued through the last decade of the nineteenth century, though with a
noticeable mitigating trend. The parliament, against church opposition, promulgated 20 September, the anniversary
of the taking of Rome from the Vatican, as a national holiday in 1895, and part of the festivities involved dedication
of a monument to Garibaldi in Rome. The Vatican issued a statement forbidding Catholics from participating in any
public festivities associated with the event. Later, anticlerical feelings heated up due to the Church's public stand
against Alfred Dreyfus. Cases of priests who refused to permit the Italian flag to enter their churches inflamed
patriotic antichurch sentiments, and renewed demonstrations in front of the Bruno monument incensed the church
faithful (Mazzonis 1986; Caracciolo 1956,270-272; Spadolini 1966, 457-459, 1973,340-341).
However, the liberal national elite increasingly saw not the Roman Catholic church, but the Socialist movement, as
their most dangerous enemy. The efforts of the Vatican to overthrow the Italian state had clearly failed, but the
efforts of the Socialists to transform the Italian state were growing each day. In the anti-Socialist struggle, the very
fact that the state was so little rooted in the allegiances of the mass of citizens made the Catholic church, with its
capillary organization and its hold on much of the populace, an indispensable ally. At the same time, Vatican leaders
came to realize the futility of their continued nonrecognition of the Italian state and they, too, began to recognize the
Socialists as representing a more serious threat to their influence. Church-State relations thus entered a new phase,
culminating in 1929 in the signing of the Concordat between Benito Mussolini and the Vatican.
Conclusions
In the wake of its low of control over the means of physical coercion in Italy, the Roman Catholic church struggled
against the state for the allegiance of the masses through other means. Mart Bax's (1987,8) European-wide
description of this process as the "struggle for hegemony over the means of orientation" is certainly apt here. The
Catholic church was very much involved in a struggle for power against the state, a struggle fought in part through
the kinds of symbolic weapons

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discussed above, but also waged through the dispensing of more material benefits. Priests not only offered ritual
rewards, but also often access to better jobs and housing. The material basis of church power was not simply the
armies and police of the papal states, but the network of influence the Catholic church had established over material
resources.
In the aftermath of Italian unification, the state faced a severe challenge in forging a national identity and inspiring
popular allegiance to the new regime. Part of the process involved demonstrating to the population that the state
could provide them with material advantages, and in a number of important respects the state failed to convince the
population that such material benefits were forthcoming. 10 But the symbolic struggle was also crucial. The new
state had to displace other allegiances, especially those to more local units and to the Church; this symbolic struggle
waged in part through ritual.
The state was not especially successful in this process. A sense of popular identification with the state was slow to
develop, not least because of the role played by the Church in the first four decades folowing state-formation. State
rites were undermined by church opposition, while the continued hold of church ritesSunday mass, baptism,
marriage, funerals, and various special celebrationsprovided an alternative basis for social identification and social
solidarity.
When the Socialist movement began to spread through the countryside of northern Italy in the latter part of the
nineteenth century, much of the peasantry and proletarian population felt little stake in the state. It was easier for
them to identify with a peasant league and its associated symbolism than it was for them to identify with the state.
The great momentum of the Socialist movement, the later success of the Fascist violence, and Mussolini's rise to
power in 1922 were all symptomatic of this abiding weakness of the Italian state. Indeed, it was only with Fascism
that the Italian state would develop a fullblown ritual system, one capable of binding the masses to the regime. In
this, the collaboration of the Catholic church, after decades of struggle to undermine the rites and symbols of the
state, was of no small value.
Notes
I would like to thank the Guggenheim Foundation, whose fellowship in 1986-87 supported the writing of this paper.
1. There is a large anthropological literature on the problem of defining

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ritual, and on the extension of ritual to nonreligious contexts. For further bibliography and discussion, see
chapter one of David I. Kertzer (1988).
2. In David I. Kertzer (1988), I devote a chapter to each of these four processes; the work should be consulted for a
fuller explication of them.
3. On this point, see Maurice Agulhon (1979,30-31).
4. On the imperial rites in the provinces of the Roman Empire, see Duncan Fishwick (1978), S. R. F. Price (1984),
and Lily R. Taylor (1931).
5. Edmund Leach (1954,13-14) claimed that ''myth regarded as a statement in words 'says' the same thing as ritual
regarded as a statement in action."
6. James W. Fernandez's (1965,923) distinction between social consensus and cultural consensus is apt here. In
studying the Bwiti cult in West Africa, he argues that what holds people together is social consensus rather than
cultural consensus. He concludes that "the gut-feeling or moral community created by coordinated interaction such as
ritual may be actually threatened by an attempt to achieve moral community on the culturallevel. . . ."
7. On the political significance of the Nazi salute, see Bruno Bettelheim (1960, 290-292). On the French
revolutionary rites of allegiance, see Mona Ozouf (1975,383).
8. The text of the Concordat of 1804 and its accompanying Regulation are found in the collected documents of the
Ministero pel Culto del Regno d'Italia (1808,76-89).
9. For other examples of these ritual instructions, see Ministero pel Culto del Regno d'Italia (1813).
10. Symptomatic was the imposition of the Grist Tax in 1869, a tax that papal authorities had previously abandoned
because it generated too much hostility among the peasantry. Reestablishing the tax to raise money to pay off the
huge national debt caused by unification, the state spawned violent protests among the rural population throughout
the peninsula (Zangheri 1977; Romanelli 1979,155-156).
References
Agulhon, Maurice. 1979. Marianne au Combat: Imagrie et Symbolique Rpublicaine en France de 1789 1880.
Paris: Flammarion.
Bax, Mart. 1987. "Religious Regimes and State Formation: Towards a Research Perspective. "Anthropological
Quarterly. 60 (1):1-11.
Bettelheim, Bruno. 1960. The Informed Heart. Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press.

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Caracciolo, Alberto. 1956. Roma Capitale. Dal Risorgimento Alla Crisi Dello Stato Liberale. Roma: Edizioni
Rinascita.
Cassirer, Ernst. 1946. The Myth of the State. New Haven: Yale University Press.
. 1955. The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, vol. 2, Mythical Thought. Translated by Ralph Manheim. New Haven:
Yale University Press.
Davoli, Vittorio. 1971. "Il comune di Roma e la vita religiosa di Roma dalla breccia di Porta Pia al 1880." In La Vita
Religiosa a Roma Intorno a1 1870, edited by P. Droulers, G. Martina, and P. Tufari. Roma: Universit Gregoriana
Editrice.
d'Azeglio, Massimo. 1866. I mieri ricordi, vol. 1. Rome.
Douglas, Mary. 1966. Purity and Danger. New York: Praeger.
Durkheim, Emile. 1915. The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. 1974. Reprint. Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press.
Fernandez, James W. 1965. "Symbolic Consensus in a Fang Reformative Cult." American Anthropologist 67:902929.
Fishwick, Duncan. 1978. "The Development of Provincial Ruler Worship in the Western Roman Empire." Aufstieg
und Niedergang der romischen Welt 16:1202-1253.
Frey, Frederick W. 1968. "Socialization to National Identification Among Turkish Peasants." Journal of Politics
30:934-965.
Gramsci, Antonio. 1971. Selections from the Prison Notebooks. Translated by Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Smith.
London: Lawrence and Wishart.
Jemolo, Arturo Carlo. 1963. Chiesa e Stato in Italia Negli Ultimi Cento Anni. Torino: Einaudi.
Kertzer, David I. 1988. Ritual, Politics, and Power. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Kuper, Hilda. 1978. Sobhuza II: Ngwenyama and King of Swaziland. New York: Africana.
Leach, Edmund. 1954. Political Systems of Highland Burma. Boston: Beacon Press.
Mazzonis, Filippo. 1986. "Crispi e I Cattolici." Rassegna Storica del Risorgimento 73:12-42.
Ministero pel Culto del Regno d'Italia. 1808. Decreti, Regolamenti, Istruzioni Generali Sopra gli Oggetti Appartenti
alle Attribuzioni del Ministero pel Culto del Regno d'Italia. Vol. 1. Milano: Stamperia Reale.

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. 1813. Decreti, Regolamenti, Istruzioni Generali Sopra gli Oggetti Appartenti alle Attribuzioni del Ministero pel
Culto del Regno d'Italia. Vol. 2. Milano: Stamperia Reale.
Moore, Sally F. 1977. "Political Meetings and the Simulation of Unanimity: Kilimanjaro 1973." In Secular Ritual,
edited by Sally F. Moore and Barbara G. Myerhoff. Assert: Van Gorcum.
Ozouf, Mona. 1976. La Fte Rvolutionaire, 1789-1799. Paris: Gallimard.
Price, S. R. F. 1984. Rituals and Power: The Roman Imperial Cult in Asia Minor. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press.
Romanelli, Raffaele. 1979. L'Italia Liberate (1861-1900). Bologna: Il Mulino.
Seneviratne, H. L. 1978. Rituals of the Kandyan State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Spadolini, Giovanni. 1966. L'opposizione Cattolica. Firenze: Vallecchi.
. 1973. Le due Rome: Chiesa e Stato Fra '800 e '900. Firenze: Felice le Monnier.
Taylor, Lily R. 1931. The Divinity of the Roman Emperor. Middletown, Conn.: American Philological Association.
Thompson, Leonard M. 1985. The Political Mythology of Apartheid. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Zangheri, Renato. 1957. "I moti del macinato nel belogmese." In Le Campagne Emiliane Nell'epoca Moderna, edited
by Renato Zangheri. Milan: Peltrinelli.

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6
Clericals Versus Socialists: Toward the 1984 Malta School War
Adrianus Koster
Outline
In the course of 1984, a fierce battle erupted in Malta between the Socialist government and the Roman Catholic
hierarchy. At stake was the control of private education, which until then had remained almost completely in the
hands of Catholic religious orders. Emotions ran high and at some time serious civil unrest was highly probable. The
events were covered by newspapers and television stations in many countries; even the European Parliament became
involved. The conflict should be seen as a logical step in a lengthy and structured struggle for power within the
figuration shaped by church and state in Malta. This paper will not focus on the School War itself, but rather explain
why the Catholic schools became an issue at precisely that moment, and it will briefly discuss the forces that
determined the course of the conflict. Hence, after a short historical introduction, I shall dwell at length on the
changing power-balances between church and state since Malta became an independent state in 1964.
Church and State in Malta
Malta 1 is a sovereign island Republic in the center of the Mediterranean. On account of its unique strategic position,
Malta's fate until

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recently was for it to be ruled by a succession of foreign overlords. The last colonial rulers, the British, arrived in
1800 and remained until 1964, when Independence was granted. Among the Maltese there are few who have not
been baptized in the Roman Catholic church. The Catholic religion was enhanced and consolidated during the reign
of the Sovereign Military Order of St. John of Jerusalem (The "Knights of Malta"), which lasted from 1530 to 1798.
During British rule the Catholic church provided the local population with a sense of national identity. However, the
Maltese clergy never posed a serious threat to the colonial government, probably because the latter carefully
protected the privileges of the Church, the hierarchy, and the priests.
During the twentieth century "Church" and "State" in Malta have clashed several times. 2 In principle these clashes
were not with British overlords but with native politicians, who had obtained limited responsibilities under a
dyarchical system (1921-1933 and 1947-1959).
Mart Bax3 has given us an adequate explanation of why "Church" and "State"4 are each other's rivals. The religious
regime and the secular regime are much alike and often have the same aims. They are both power-constellations and
political constellations. Both have problems of internal cohesion. Both strive to exert their influence over other
sectors of society. Thus, church and state form a figuration in which they are antagonistically interdependent.
Education as an important means of orientation is and has been a major issue in clashes between church and state, as
both see it as a useful way of indoctrination or, to put it in their own terms, "community building" or "nationbuilding." The importance of school education, which is ever becoming more institutionalized and formalized, is
increasing and therefore both parties try to monopolize it as much as possible; they also tend to interfere in that part
of the educational system that is controlled by the other side.
The Colonial Era
The position of the Catholic church in Malta was much stronger before Independence than after. Elsewhere I have
described and analyzed Church-State relations in British Malta in detail.5 Here a summary will do.
The Protestant British authorities, mainly concerned with the strategic importance of this fortress island, respected
the position of the local Catholic hierarchy and clergy. Their general policy was not to interfere in religious matters,
as the Catholic church might turn into a

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powerful opponent and even clamor for British withdrawal. 6 Only a few adjustments were required of the Church in
order to guarantee smooth administration of the colony. On the other hand, concessions to the Catholic hierarchy
persuaded it to adopt a benevolent attitude toward the colonial overlords and sufficed to make them a powerful ally
in maintaining the status quo. Thus, the British kept the so-called Privilegium fori, which meant that bishops could
not be taken to a government court. The bishops were exempt from taxes of any kind as well. In all state schools,
religious instruction was given according to Catholic principles. Canon Law was indiscriminately applied to all
Maltese with respect to marriage. Consequently, civil marriage and legal divorce did not exist. Hospitals and
charitable institutions were almost completely dominated by various religious orders.
With a few exceptions, British policy proved effective throughout the colonial period. While the Catholic church
gave to Malta its own identity, the local bishops and clergy never challenged the British colonial authority, and on
the whole they were quite satisfied with their privileged position. This does not mean, however, that the dominant
position of the Church and its hierarchy remained entirely undisputed by local authorities and politicians. Lord
Strickland, a devout Catholic himself and prime minister under a dyarchical system, became embroiled in a fierce
struggle with almost the entire clergy when he sought to curtail its influence in secular matters. Finally, he had to
give in, as the effectiveness of ecclesiastical weapons threatened to ruin his political career.7 Many years later, when
Malta Labour leader Dom Mintoff was prime minister under an adapted system of dyarchy, relations between the
Catholic church and the Maltese government were hostile again; the bishops were obstructing Mintoff's plans for the
Integration of Malta with the United Kingdom because the Catholic church authorities were not given the required
assurances that their position would remain unchanged after the implementation of the plans. When in 1958, Mintoff
dropped his project of Integration and proposed Independence instead, Archbishop Gonzi's condemnation of the
violent behavior of Mintoff's supporters triggered off a bitter quarrel that was not yet settled when Malta became
independent under Mintoff's archenemies, the pro-clerical Nationalist Party. During this dispute the faithful
considered it a mortal sin to vote for the Labour Party.
Malta's Independence Constitution legalized, in spite of Labour's protest, the dominant position of a triumphant,
wealthy, almost medieval church. And yet, was this position really as strong as it seemed? Therefore we have to
watch thoroughly the three parties that shaped the figuration at the time of Independence (1964), that is,

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the Catholic church, Malta Labour Party (MLP) and the Nationalist Party (PN). 8
Tableau De La Troupe 1964
During the time of Independence, the Roman Catholic church and its archbishop, Monsignor Sir Michael Gonzi,
were engaged in the above-mentioned quarrel with the MLP. Because of this conflict the Church threw herself into
the arms of the PN, that was all out for independence. The hierarchy was not in favor of independence, but it was not
opportune to proclaim this point of view. The Catholic church could not permit itself to be accused of an unpatriotic
attitude, furthermore this would alienate her from her political ally, the PN. Therefore the archbishop tried to obtain a
constitution in which the Church's position had been safeguarded. The Nationalists were prepared to go along, for the
PN, to a large extent, owed its power to its pro-clerical attitude and the ecclesiastical interference with the 1962
general elections. However, unexpectedly the Holy See forced the Maltese Episcopate to be more compliant. The
position of the Church would be above Human Rights in the draft constitution and that was unacceptable to the
Vatican, just at the time of Vatican II (1962-1965). The Church still had a splendid position in the Independence
Constitution but this position could, and eventually would be, changed with ease. Furthermore the Church had lost its
greatest protector, the colonial administration. The faithful, who could easily be mobilized for mass meetings in
recent years, showed a certain fatigue and self-sufficiency now that "Independence had been gained."
In the meantime, quite a few regular and secular priests felt worried because of the ruthless attitude of the aged
episcopate toward the MLP, for they were afraid that this might in the long-term estrange more and more people
from the Catholic church. This view was shared by the Vatican, which prudently insisted on a conciliatory course.
The parish priests were still highly influential in their parishes, among other things because of the absence of local
government at that level. This was implicitly recognized by the government in the traditional Candlemas ceremony in
which the governor as chief of state each year explained government policy to them. The parish priests regularly
continued to visit government schools, hear confessions, and say Mass there.
Private schools were still completely controlled by the numerous

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male and female religious orders, as were private hospitals and clinics. Charity, too, was almost completely left to the
Church, which wielded great influence on the population because it was tied to it in many ways.
The PN owed its governmental power to a great extent to the exclusion by the clergy of the MLP. Independence was
obtained by astutely responding to the decreasing importance of Malta for the United Kingdom's defense. Thus, a
certain amount of prestige had been obtained by the PN, be it that the MLP kept hammering, not completely unjustly,
that Malta still had many neocolonial ties with the previous metropolitan power.
Having lost the 1962 elections, the MLP was hardly able to exert much influence at the time of Independence. Still,
34 percent of the electorate had voted for the party though this was a "mortal sin." The MLP now proclaimed itself a
martyr of the Interdict and pursued a policy aimed at convincing the Church (especially the Vatican) that the Interdict
should be abolished. The MLP had no hope of taking over until the ban was lifted.
The Malta Labour Party's Road to Power
The MLP kept insisting that the Interdict did not accord with the spirit of Vatican II. Rome, too, must have started to
think along these lines, for the Holy See's representative at the Independence ceremonies was ordered to organize
secret negotiations between party leader Mintoff and Archbishop Gonzi. Although these negotiations were conducted
in a cordial atmosphere, the archbishop was apparently not prepared to grant any concession. 9 The Nationalists had
nothing to gain from a successful expiration of the negotiations and insisted that the Vatican replace its mediator (the
apostolic delegate to Great Britain) by an apostolic nuncio, who was said to be more in keeping with the country's
newly gained independent status. This move produced considerable delay, so that the general election of 1966 was
held once more under the Interdict, which meant that the PN was again returned to the government without problem.
During the electoral campaign, it was painfully made clear, however, that the elerical camp was less united than
before. A few prominent clergymen openly fought the Interdict, while many priests found the situation untenable
from a pastoral point of view. In the meantime quite a few priests were dissatisfied with the laissez-faire policy of the
Nationalist government.

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The Vatican was now under pressure not only by the MLP but also from the British episcopate and many prominent
Maltese clergymen and members of the laity. Gradually the Holy See changed its mind about the use of the Interdict,
since it ran counter to the spirit of Vatican II. It was decided to intervene and two auxiliary bishops were dispatched
to the Maltese ecclesiastical province. One of the new appointees, an experienced Vatican diplomat, soon started
negotiations with Dom Mintoff and as a result in 1969 a "peace-treaty" was signed between the episcopate and the
leaders of the MLP, which stated: "The very nature of the Church demands she does not interfere in politics." 10 The
Catholic church also made the concession of dropping the reference to "mortal sin" with respect to political actions.
This agreement paved the way for the Socialists to assume power in 1971, though the Malta Labour Party played safe
in its electoral manifesto by not making references to the Church. Keeping its part of the bargain, the Church did not
put anything in the way of the MLP during the 1971 election. The PN for its part was suffering from accusations of
corruption and gave the impression of being tired after two terms of office. The result, then, was a narrow victory for
the MLP, which managed to take over the government.
The Socialist Policy
When we analyze Socialist policy in retrospect, the following goals stand out:
A severing of neocolonial ties with the former metropolitan country.
The conducting of a boisterous neutralistic foreign policy with special attention for the Mediterranean region.
Although Malta is often considered to be just a ministate, the Maltese government does its utmost to "put it on map."
Not even the super powers are allowed to push Malta.
The progressive demolition of the Maltese establishment, including the Roman Catholic hierarchy, the parish priests,
and the religious orders. It should be noted that the government has special attention for the financial aspect of the
power of the establishment.
Tying to itself with ever larger sections of the population, for

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instance by expanding social security and by strategically allocating houses, jobs, and permits. 11
This policy could only be implemented in phases, while also the daily course of things and unexpected problems
asked for the attention of the government. Besides, with respect to the five year terms of office, the administration
had to govern in such a way that the electorate would not take away its power and transfer it to the Nationalist
opposition. Against this background one should analyze the measures that affected the Catholic church since the
MLP took power in 1971.
New Brooms . . .
Immediately after the Socialists took office, the British governor general Sir Maurice Dorman was asked to resign,
and the Italian NATO commander Admiral Birindelli was declared persona non grata in Malta. The association with
NATO was done away with unilaterally and the American Sixth Fleet was no longer welcome in the Grand Harbour.
Negotiations were started with Britain about the renewal of the defense treaty, which was to expire in 1974. The
"nationalization" of the teachers' training, which until then had been shaped completely along British lines and run by
a male and a female religious order, fitted the policy of severing neocolonial ties with the former colonial overlords.
A few British brothers and nuns left the Islands. English was gradually replaced with Maltese as the language of
instruction in state schools.
The proclamation of the Republic in 1974 was the next logical step. A majority of the Nationalistic opposition joined
the government in voting for a revision of the Constitution, in which en passant, the privileged position of the
Church was finally abolished and a "Corrupt Practices Act' was introduced with respect to elections. According to its
definition, "any temporal or spiritual injury" constitutes a corrupt practice. This means that an election result can be
annulled, for example, if priests have refused absolution to the voters of a particular party. Henceforth, interference
with elections from the pulpit or from the confessional would be illegal.
The Vatican had been consulted before, but it had not expressed an opinion. The local episcopate also refrained from
comment. Its attitude was in no way surprising on account of a serious rift between Archbishop Gonzi and his
coadjutor Monsignor Emanuel Gerada about the administration of the diocese. Most members of the clergy took
sides in this conflict, which did not end until the coadjutor was

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transferred from Malta after having been accused of careless handling and squandering of church funds. Only a few
years earlier, the archbishop himself had entrusted a substantial amount to a Canadian businessman, who proved to
be a swindler. These affairs not only severely harmed the financial position of the Catholic church, but they had also
divided the priests and negatively affected the image of the hierarchy and clergy. 12 Now the eighty-eight-year-old
prelate was once more fully in charge of the Maltese ecclesiastical province. He was the same person who had
promised a few years ago, albeit reluctantly, not to interfere with politics and now he had become cautious.
Monsignor Gonzi's only wish seemed to be to stay in office as long as possible and therefore he omitted everything
that might cause the government to insist on his replacement.
The PN silently blamed the hierarchy for the 1969 agreement with the MLP, which had relegated the Nationalists to
the opposition benches. Thus, it felt no particular need to defend the position of the Catholic church at this juncture.
During the negotiations about the Constitution with the MLP, the PN tried to keep the amount of amendments as
limited as possible. The party's primary strategy was to play down the Republic as little more than a logical
consequence of national independence, which had been won by the PN. The Nationalists could hardly pride
themselves on their cooperation to the achievement of the Republic, as a substantial part of the parliamentary group
had voted against it. The MLP astutely exploited this dissent in the PN and successfully claimed full credit for the
achievement of the Republic.
The proclamation of the Republic was not only a milestone in the history of the MLP, but it was also a starting point
to realize its other cherished goals. New measures, such as the nationalization of broadcasting, telecommunications,
and banking (which were still in British hands), were justified with the argument that the existing situation did not fit
the new Republic.
Toward Different Relationships
Now there was no help for the Catholic church. The Candlemas ceremony had been abolished ''as its original goal
had ceased to apply." By doing so the government clearly indicated that it no longer recognized the parish priests as
the representatives of the local communities. The amended Constitution paved the way for the implementation of
Min-tows "old" proposals for Church-State relations in Malta. Now it was only a matter of months before the Labour
government enacted legis-

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lation affecting the Church. First, the Privilegium fori was abolished, so that bishops could be taken to court, which
until then had been impossible. Next the Burials Ordinance was amended so that every Maltese citizen became
entitled to burial in the state-owned Addolorata cemetery (the main cemetery in Malta) and interment there could no
longer be denied to persons who, according to Canon Law, had placed themselves outside the pale of the Catholic
church. This amendment was clearly designed to undo the power of the parish priests in this respect. 13 A Marriage
Bill was passed that provided for the introduction of civil marriage. From now on ecclesiastical marriages would be
valid only if all provisions of the Marriage Act were observed; this means that Canon Law ceased to have effect as
part of Maltese marriage law. Finally, the exemption of bishops, religious orders, parishes and any other kind of
religious association from income tax was abolished.
As far as the Catholic church was concerned, only the introduction of the Marriage Bill caused a stir, but in the end
the new law prevailed.14 The episcopate, weakened as it was, could hardly oppose the other measures. In the new
Republic, Privilegium fori was not even granted to the president, so it would not be prudent to claim it for the
bishops. Neither would it be wise to insist on continued tax exemption. Finally, the fact that, formerly, refusal of
burial at the Addolorata cemetery had been used as a weapon against the supporters of the anticlerical politicians,
made the subject a touchy issue that had better not be raised.
Only in the case of marriage could the Church protest out of concern for the faithful. The episcopate declared to
recognize ecclesiastical marriages only, and various Catholic organizations protested. Priests fulminated against the
new law in their sermons and, in a secret report, it was recommended that the public registrars should be debarred
from nuptial Mass and kept out of the sacristy afterward. However, the report transpired before it could be
implemented and the government issued an ultimatum to the effect that the recommendation must be withdrawn
immediately. If not, the Marriage Bill would be tightened further and all priests, monks, and nuns in government
service would be sacked. Complaining bitterly, Archbishop Gonzi and the college of parish priests gave in grumbling
and the law was implemented without further commotion.
The fact that the clerical authorities reacted against the introduction of civil marriage only and withdrew immediately
after the government issued its ultimatum indicates clearly how rapidly power-balances had shifted. Hierarchy and
clergy were the obvious losers.
The Holy See, however, did not react. This was perfectly in line

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with the policy of Monsignor Agostino Casaroli under Pope Paul VI at the Vatican secretariat of state. He advocated
a more modest role of the Church and after all, Mintoff's reforms, though revolutionary for Catholic Malta, were not
spectacular from a more worldwide point of view. As a token of appreciation Monsignor Casaroli was among the
first to be awarded the Gieh ir-Repubblika, a new decoration introduced by the Socialist government in 1975. 15
In Parliament the Nationalist opposition voted against the new marriage regulations and the abolition of the tax
exemption for clerical persons and institutions. That meant that they accepted all other changes, however reluctantly.
The Nationalist Party, which had become a full member of the European movement of Christian Democrats,
proclaimed its intention to reverse this legislation when in power again, but this did not materialize in its election
manifesto.16 The position of the Church was hardly an issue in the election campaign. 17 In view of the policy of the
Socialist government the Nationalist Party could count on the (secret) support of the majority of the clergy and the
nuns anyway. Only a minority of the regular clergy was more sympathetic to the government.
Toward Complete Independence and Neutrality
The episeopate was very careful to avoid "corrupt practices" and consequently have an eventual Nationalist victory
annulled. So much so that, in its campaign, the government could even use the "good relations" between Church and
State and between the Maltese government and the pope.
Foreign policy, neutral or pro-Western, and the termination of the British defense bases were two main issues of
controversy between government and opposition. Education hardly played a role.
The MLP gained a somewhat bigger victory than it had in 1971 and used the election result to legitimize continuation
of its policy. Malta should be all out to be economically independent in 1979, when the British troops would leave
permanently. Therefore productivity should increase and should no longer suffer, for instance, from the nuisance of
so many Catholic holidays. In 1977, the government announced that the Vatican had cancelled most religious feast
days as days of obligation. "In order to increase national productivity" the government abolished these days as public
holidays. Many people, the clergy included, grumbled, but the government by its move at the Vatican had outwitted
the hierarchy. The feasts were transferred to the

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nearest Sundays, though the faithful were advised by the episcopate to hear Mass on the traditional days of
obligation. However, church-going on these days soon became no longer as frequent as the clergy would have
wanted it to be. Because of the transfer of these feasts to Sundays, eight Sundays could no longer be used for the
celebration of the festas of the parish saints, which meant a restriction of these popular religious occasions. 18 This
was an accidental advantage for the government, for these festas were an important competitor of the MLP in tying
the loyalty of the masses. The position of the parish priests, who derive much prestige from these feasts, was
affected.
Anti-Establishment
The anti-establishment policy led to a "reform" of the venerable University of Malta. In 1978, this institution was
stripped of three faculties: arts, theology, and medicine. Most of the clerical professors and staff members were
forced to leave the university and as a result many effective networks, in which the clergy took part, disintegrated.
The Catholic church, with the approval of the Holy See, then founded its own faculty of theology at the seminary.
From now on the intensive contact between future diocesan priests and other students, which had shaped the close
ties between the secular clergy and the other members of the Maltese elite for more than a century, was terminated.
The same policy led to a conflict with the medical practitioners and specialists and finally to the nationalization of
the health service. As a consequence, all private hospitals and clinics, run by (partly British) female religious orders
were forced to close.19
The hierarchy issued no comments, to the displeasure of an increasing number of vociferous faithful. When in 1980
after the forced close down of her hospital, a British religious nurse was expelled from Malta, all the archbishop did
was to see her off at the airport.20
The Vatican, under Pope Paul VI, never openly showed irritation.2`1 This fitted in with the attitude of the Holy See
toward state intervention in Catholic countries.
In Parliament the Nationalist opposition in vain tried to fight these measures. The university and the Catholic
hospitals definitely constituted issues in the 1981 election, which gave the Nationalists an opportunity to act as
unsolicited champions of the Church. The last British troops had left Malta in 1979. The issue of the presence or
absence of the previous overlords, a former bone of contention

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between government and opposition, was resolved and the decolonization process considered completed.
It is now time to consider the positions of the Catholic church and both political parties before the 1981 elections.
Tableau De La Troupe 1981
The hierarchy had surrendered a great deal of power. The prestige of the new archbishop Monsignor Giuseppe
Mercieca, who "silently swallowed everything," was low with the clergy as well as with the laypeople. Many were
speaking with increasing nostalgia about the 1960s, when mass meetings were organized against the MLP and it
could only be kept out of the government by the use of "mortal sin."
Church organized charity had become less important because of the increase of social security, hence a great number
of persons lost ties with the clergy. The female religious orders in charge of private hospitals and clinics had received
a considerable blow. On the local level the position of the parish priests had been affected as well. However, because
of the absence of local government, they still could yield considerable influence.
On the other hand, male and female religious orders in charge of private schools were enjoying an ever-increasing
popularity because theft education was considered superior to that provided in state-run schools. Besides, the
overwhelming majority of the population still consisted of practicing Catholics and the participation in processions,
festas, and devotions continued to grow. There were indications also that the Vatican under Pope John Paul II would
no longer tolerate further anticlerical measures in Malta.
The MLP had changed Malta over a period of ten years from a pro-Western dominion, protected by British troops,
into a neutral, serf-assertive Republic, which undoubtedly raised its national and international prestige. The party's
anti-establishment policy had accomplished a great deal and many privileges had been taken away from the
episcopate and clergy. However, the Church could still yield influence through the parish and the church schools. It
had been affected only marginally by the abolition of its tax exemption. Since 1978 parish priests were no longer
allowed to say Mass or hear confessions during school hours in government schools, but their influence could only
further be reduced by (the very expensive) way of setting up an alternative form of local government. It was evident
therefore that the logical next step would be to abolish church educa-

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tion altogether or at least keep it under the strictest possible control. Until then only a few restrictions had affected
the private schools (such as the freezing of school fees and the reduction of the Capitation Grant). As a matter of fact,
the church schools cost the government less than the state schools. In addition to this, a few male religious took a
rather benevolent attitude toward the government. This had prevented interference for the time being. On the other
hand not all male religious favored the MLP. Of the teaching nuns, it can only be said that they were more or less
unanimous in their dislike of the party. Hence the increasing popularity of the church schools could very well
become a threat to the party. Therefore the MLP started insisting that Catholic church school education should also
be free. The Church's argument, that it did not have the financial means to allow this, played into the party's hands as
it was keen to have more insight into the wealth of the Church. But it would be prudent first to tackle the "obstacle"
of the 1981 elections.
The PN has used its two terms in the opposition benches to reform the party, which in the meantime had associated
itself with the European Federation of Christian Democrats. Much attention had been paid to the extension of its
populistic element under its new leader (since 1977) Dr. Eddie Fenech Adami, who became Prime Minister Mintoffs
rival as a popular orator. The crowds at PN mass meetings grew larger and larger, and many people, who used to
attend the mass rallies of the Church in the 1960s, now frequented PN-organized mass meetings.
In its day-to-day politics, the PN had to resign itself to the fact that it was the MLP, which, to a large extent, laid
down the rules of the game and always took the initiative. The PN often had to restrict itself to reacting. As far as the
Church was concerned there was a certain amount of irritation about the bishops' docile acceptance of the demands
of the Socialists. There was no understanding at all that the Church hierarchy had no other option. Thus, the PN made
itself the defender of the interests of the Church, a position that was secretly applauded by many clerics and lay
Catholics, and which at times must have been rather embarrassing to the hierarchy.
Prologue
From the time the MLP had been returned to power, the popularity of private education in Malta had increased. 22 In
the early 1970s, the government had begun experimenting with educational matters in

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the public schools. This included among other things the abolition of examinations and of English as the language of
instruction. The Catholic church schools, for their part, refused to introduce these incisive changes. As a result, their
popularity increased with those parents who were concerned about the educational standards. 23 In consequence,
many of them opted for the church-controlled private schools,a choice probably reinforced by political motivations,
since they were staunch supporters of the oppositional Nationalist Party and vociferous opponents of the Socialist
government and its anticlerical, laicist policy. Now that teachers in state schools were no longer trained by the two
religious orders, these parents feared a progressive laicization of government schools,24 while in fact they demanded
a "Catholic education" for their children. Catholic education was one of the few means by which the Church could
counteract its rapidly weakening grip on social life in Malta. Besides, the church schools had always been excellent
means to foster vocations for the religious orders and recruit new members.25
In 1980, the government demanded that private education should be free. In principle this had been agreed upon
during a meeting with representatives of the religious orders. Archbishop Mercieca, however, refused to recognize
the agreement, and he received backing in this matter on the part of the Vatican. Now the religious, who attended the
meeting, were forced to deny that an agreement had actually been reached26 and government propaganda loudly
proclaimed the "double-dealing" of the Church.
It is not yet clear why the archbishop discarded the agreement between the religious and the government.27 It is
evident that this could never have happened without support from the Holy See, which under Pope John Paul II had
considerably changed its attitude toward Church-State relations in Malta.28 Even so, there were indications also that
a few "doves" within the Vatican insisted on mediation, but this faction soon lost influence.29
Mintoff's visit to Pope John Paul II, meant to be the opening of the 1981 electoral campaign, overshot the mark when
the Holy Father explicitly expressed his support for the Maltese episcopate.30
Private schools were an important issue in the election campaign. The MLP demanded them to become free and
admit everyone. The PN wanted to keep them autonomous and put them on a par with state schools.
The hectic electoral campaign produced a peculiar result. The MLP was returned to the government with a three-seat
majority in Parliamentin spite of loud, continuous protests from the Nationalists, who had in fact obtained the
majority of votes. The PN accused

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the MLP of gerrymandering and, while it refused to accept defeat, a political crisis began, which lasted more than a
year. During this crisis, Archbishop Mercieca was proclaimed persona non grata by the prime minister for allegedly
supporting the PN. In the spring of 1983, the Nationalists finally returned to the opposition benches in Parliament. 31
The School War
The Socialists could now use some success; they decided to tackle the church schools. At first the government tried
to deal directly with the Vatican, but the latter referred the matter to the Maltese episcopate.
The issue was considered to be extremely important to the MLP as the deputy leader of the party, Dr. Karmenu
Mifsud Bonnici, was purposely appointed minister of education and now directly responsible for its outcome.32 It
was going to be his supreme test before succeeding Dom Mintoff as premier and party leader. A license system was
passed through Parliament, and subsequently eight Catholic church secondary schools, which did not meet the
requirements (free education and no restrictions to admission), were not given licenses for the scholastic year. The
government tried to apply the principle of divide et impera by granting licenses to eleven secondary and all primary
schools controlled by the Church. A wave of protests was heard and mass meetings were organized against the
government, not by the clerical authorities, but by their ally, the Federation of Parent Teacher Associations (FPTA),
supported in many ways by the PN.33 A very militant role was played by the Association of Private School Students
(ASSP), which was frowned upon by the more moderate elements on the clerical side.34
The archbishop, who had assumed personal responsibility for the running of church schools,35 was conspicuously
absent at these meetings.36 He repeatedly stated that it was his intention to open all church schools, licensed or not.
However, he had to change that decision after the ransacking of his curia by furious drydock workers, who were
staunch government supporters. The same evening the archbishop was told by Prime Minister Mintoff and Minister
of Education Dr. Mifsud that the law should be obeyed and that bloodshed might not be evaded if the eight schools
were opened, bloodshed for which he would be held personally responsible. Now all church schools remained closed,
including those that had been granted a license, as "all are one."37

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Many saw this move as a loss of face for the archbishop and the ecclesiastical authorities, who were forced to
swallow their own words. Others appreciated it as a brave, consequent and wise decision. In retrospect it seems that
Archbishop Mercieca hardly had any choice. What could he do? He could certainly not control his own militant
supporters, for the government was prepared to enforce the law at all costs. Many did not understand or appreciate
the closing down of all schools rather than just the unlicensed ones. 38 At any rate, the move took the government by
surprise. It was explained to me as a way to maintain solidarity between the schools and the parents. On the whole it
seems to have worked.
The atmosphere tensed. Most state schools remained closed as well, since many teachers were on strike. This strike
was interpreted by the government as a sign of support for the Church on the part of the teacher's union, the MUT.
Although this has been officially denied, the MUT's strike was certainly convenient for the Church.
Meanwhile, education went "underground" and teachers volunteered to give classes in private homes; consequently
children attended many more "birthday parties" then usual.39 Demonstrations and counter-demonstrations by
government supporters followed one after another.
Once agreement had been reached between the government and the MUT, the position of the Church received a fresh
blow as state schools now became an alternative for those parents disenchanted with the situation.40
However, secret negotiations had started between the government and the Church hierarchy.41 In November 1984,
the archbishop decided to suspend all fees for church schools (both primary and secondary) for the scholastic year
1984-85 at the same time declaring that he was prepared to continue negotiations. Subsequently the government
issued the necessary licenses to all seventy-four church schools.42
When on 19 November 1984, all church schools operated again, there was an atmosphere of genuine relief all over
the Islands.
The Aftermath
The Maltese government insisted that further negotiations be held with the Vatican. The Holy See added the Maltese
episcopate to its own delegation. In April 1985, agreement was reached on "the gradual introduction of free
education in church schools in Malta." A mixed

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commission by the Vatican and the Maltese government was instructed to study the financial resources of the Church
in Malta and admission to secondary schools. The government was prepared to assist the church schools financially
if the commission's report indicated that the financial situation of the Church required such action. 43
I tend to agree with the government side that they were the winners in the dispute. Secondary church schools would
become free and it would have considerable influence on the admission of pupils. Besides, the government now had
a splendid opportunity to get more insight into and probably also more control over the rather complicated finances
of the Catholic church. Although the clerical top did everything to cover up its loss by "selling" it as a victory,
criticism from within the circles of the FPTA sustained the government view.44
The fact that the MLP has recently been relegated to the opposition benches after the general elections of May 1987
does not ipso facto contradict this view.45
Conclusion
As soon as the private school issue was settled, Malta prepared itself for another hectic and turbulent electoral
campaign, which ended in a Nationalist victory and their return to government. The campaign, in which the role of
education was rather marginal, falls beyond the scope of this article. It will be interesting, however, to see which
"reforms" of the previous government will be annulled and which ones will be lasting.
In retrospect, the success of the Socialist government's policy in curtailing the power and influence of the Catholic
church, depended to a great extent on its choosing the right time for each move. Its success is also better understood,
once it is realized that the Church is not a monolith, but a figuration comprising various groups and persons with
different, sometimes antagonistic interests.
Since the MLP could not implement all elements of its policy at the same time it had to set priorities. As far as
education was concerned, it was cheaper originally not to touch the church schools. At a later stage it became more
important for the MLP to have a finger in the pie of private education. It was in the party's interest to take care that
the future cadre of the country would be tied to the state more than to the Church, so that the Church would
eventually become marginalized.
The initial measures against public schools did not hurt the secu-

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lar clergy. The ''nationalization" of the teachers' training affected no more than one male and one female religious
order, while these orders were not even genuine Maltese as they had English members in key functions. The 1974
Constitution and the laws passed in consequence of it mainly hurt a confused episcopate. The religious orders were
hardly affected by them, or by the abolishment of the faculty of theology at the university, for they had their own
training for the priesthood. In a way they might even have agreed as the secular clergy often claimed their own
academic training to be superior. Similarly, the nationalization of the Catholic church hospitals harmed the position
of only a few (haft English, half Maltese) female religious orders. In all these cases the Vatican under Pope Paul VI
kept silent and this was used by the government as a legitimization of its "salami tactics" each time another slice of
the "clerical pie" was cut.
The first reforms concerning the Church by the government were relatively minor compared to later measures and
hardly played a role in the 1976 electoral campaign.
The way in which the second Mintoff administration (1976-1981) treated the Church met with far greater resistance
from broad sectors of the population, and the church schools became a major issue in the 1981 electoral campaign.
The fact that the Labour government had been returned to power legitimized its efforts to make the church schools
free of charge. Conversely, the fact that the majority of the population had voted in favor of the Nationalist
opposition legitimized the resistance of all who rallied around the PN.
"Cutting the Church down to size" fits into the non-alignment foreign policy of the Socialist government. Most nonaligned countries are non-Christian countries. The "natural" allies of the Church and the Nationalists are the Italian
and German Christian Democrats. As a consequence the government proclaimed a "Foreign Interference Act,"
mostly directed against these Christian Democrats. The fact that English is still the language of instruction in church
schools must also run counter to the Socialist government ideas of nation-building. These schools were autonomous
in this respect, but they have lost that autonomy since the agreement.
This paper has explained why the school war was fought precisely in 1984. In addition to its main goal, I shall
provide a modest first attempt to explain why the Catholic church just could not win the private schools issue. I think
the ecclesiastical authorities in Malta and Rome themselves realized the issue was lost when the use of violence
could no longer be controlled. 46
Mart Bax has indicated that once the Catholic church lost access to the means of physical violence, it sanctified itself
and became a

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moral community in which physical violence was condemned and moral persuasion strongly propagated. 47
The church leaders simply could not afford to be made responsible for either theft own militant supporters48 or for
violence used by the police or armed forces against the less militant ones. Therefore they did not open those schools
without a license and from that moment on started secret negotiations for a solution of the conflict. They could not
give in at once, but Finally did so six weeks later when the atmosphere was really burning and could hardly any
longer be controlled after six weeks of "underground education." This coincided with the termination of the strike of
their allies, the MUT.
It could be expected that the Maltese Socialist government was going to interfere with the church schools49 and on
the surface it seemed that the Catholic church had two options: accept or resist. However, during the course of the
school war it was soon made clear that the Church actually only had one option: to give in. This only option was the
logical consequence of the power-balances between church and state in Malta.50
Notes
The present paper is a partial report of my research into the religious and political regimes in Malta, carried out since
1973 with support from the Netherlands organization for the advancement of pure research (Z.W.O.) and the Free
University of Amsterdam. Research was based on field work and written sources. I am grateful to Mario Buhagiar
for his help, and to Mario once more, Mart Bax, Charles Gullick, Johan Kraay, Daniel Meijers, Michael Mallia,
Philip Quarles van Ufford, Monsignor Carmel Sant, Matthew Schoffeleers, and Estellie Smith, for their constructive
comments. In a controversial issue such as this, it is highly understandable that local commentators bring into their
comments in their personal experience. Monsignor Professor Carmel Sant, a Biblical scholar and a member of the
Cathedral Chapter with an independent mind, was not personally involved. Mario Buhagiar, a teacher in a state
school and the father of a church school pupil was more involved, while Michael Mallia, secretary of the Federation
of Parent Teachers Association was perhaps the most involved person in Malta on the "Church side," though
definitely not a Curia man. They all tend to consider my description and analysis "clever, but too clinical and
detached." In order to be fair to them and to my readers I have presented their additional or sometimes dissenting
views from mine in (sometimes rather lengthy) notes. Extensive use, often without reference, has been made of
Adrianus Koster 1984ab and 1988. A substantial part of the description has been used in various conference papers
(Koster 1985 and 1986).

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1. The Maltese archipelago is made up of some six islands, three of which are inhabited. These are Malta, Gozo, and
Comino. The name Malta denotes both the largest island and the Maltese Islands. In 1986 the Maltese population
was estimated at 343,000.
2. Cf. Koster 1984ab.
3. Bax 1987, 2.
4. "Church" and "State" are just used as shorthand terms.
5. Koster 1984b, 229-234.
6. The American historian Harrison Smith (1953 Vol. I, 73) adequately describes the situation in these terms:
"The antiquity of the faith of the Maltese, the close proximity of the Papal Court at the Vatican City,
and the position of the state-religion of the Crown in England all combined to make the English
possession of Malta a unique experience in colonial development. Other than remote Quebec, the
British had notperhaps never wouldencounter a church medieval, a church militant, and a church that
had lived under a theocracy long after the era of the national state had modified the feudalism of
Europe."
7. For details, see Harrison Smith and Adrianus Koster 1986, Vol. II.
8. Ever since 1966, Malta virtually has had a two-party system. Since 1971, the margin of electoral support between
the ruling Malta Labour Party (MLP) and the Maltese Christian-Democrats, the Nationalist Party (PN), has been
extremely small. In fact the greatest difference was 3 percent (51, 5 percent MLP, 48, 5 percent PN) in 1976. The
MLP is rather anticlerical, the PN is not.
9. Cf. Koster 1984b, 201-206.
10. Malta News, 7 April 1969.
11. Cf. Boissevain 1979, 162-163 and Boswell 1980, 34, 36-37.
12. For details, cf. Koster 1984b, 223-229.
13. The refusal of a proper Catholic burial and the interment of the body in non-consecrated ground outside the walls
of the cemetery had been a powerful weapon in the hands of the Catholic church during the "politico-religious
conflict" of the 1960s. Cf. Koster 1984b, 174 and Borg 1984.
14. Cf. Koster 1984b, 232-233.
15. Monsignor (now Cardinal) Casaroli, however, did not come to Malta to accept his decoration.

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16. Nationalist Party 1976.


17. Koster 1984b, 235-238.
18. Cf. Koster 1983b.
19. Malta has been without private clinics ever since.
20. Carmel Sant reacted to this paragraph in a personal communication (19 August 1988):
"The question of the expulsion of the Blue Sisters was not simply the expulsion of a British religious
nurse but of a whole congregation which had been serving in Malta since 1912. It was the most
shameful treatment shown to any foreignerfor us Catholics in Malta other Catholics from other
countries are not foreigners at allin Malta since the days of St. Paul. Also this was an integral part of
the general plan to eliminate the Church from Malta."
21. There was in fact one cautious attempt by the secretariat of state to sort out the question of the Catholic hospitals,
but it failed.
22. Carmel Sant even goes back to the first Mintoff administration in colonial times (personal communication 19
August 1988):
"There are various reasons why the Church Private schools became popular, but to my mind the rootcause was the break down of discipline which in the middle fifties the Socialist Minister of Education
set herself in confrontation (instead of cooperation) with the teachers. Hence the school became a
battle ground and remained so until last year."
23. Many Maltese parents prefer English as the language of instruction, most of them because they are genuinely
concerned that it will be always an advantage to know English; the motives of a few are more snobbish.
24. It should be made clear that the laicization did not really materialize during the first term of office of the Socialist
government. Most of the state school teachers were still trained with the religious orders, while their main union, the
MUT, was opposing the government in many issues. Until 1978, the parish priests often visited the schools, heard
confessions, and said Mass there, especially on First Fridays; cf. Koster 1984a, 189.
25. See for instance The Chronicler 1958-1960.
26. According to Michael Mallia (comments on a previous draft November 1987): "They went, however, to Rome,
and loudly protested their 'innocence.'"
27. Whatever may be the truth about the meeting and its minutes, the government had easily scored a point against
the Catholic church, which gave

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the impression of being utterly divided and confused. I would not be surprised if latent tensions between the
regular and secular clergy, as brought to our attention by Mart Bax (1983, 1987) in the Netherlands, played
some role here, but Michael Mallia (comments on a previous draft November 1987) disagrees with me:
"There were no secular/regular clergy tensions. The four persons who met Mr. Mintoff were in fact
the Church school heads, who ran the Private Schools Association (PSA) and went to the meeting in
that capacity. They were inexperienced in manoeuvering in such a wolves' den as they walked into on
that day. They were badgered, bullied and pushed (and tricked!) into a situation they were ill-equipped
to deal with. Mr. Mintoff cleverly put before them the spectre of a total Church-State rupture if they
did not accept his ideas. The PSA representatives were greatly worried at the prospect of being
blamed for a general State-Church flare-up one year before elections, and hence were pushed into a
state of being more malleable than normal. It is also true that the heading to the document labelled
"agreement", which the PSA insist were no more than minutes (they still claim there was no
agreement but merely points agreed on for further, later discussion), was added afterwards by the
government side. This document created grave alarm in the local church and at the Vatican. That is
why it was rejected then."
28. Michael Mallia, reacting to this paragraph (comments on a previous draft November 1987):
"In fact the agreement was repudiated under direct Vatican orders. One should keep in view the fact
that the PSA representatives did not attend the 1980 Castille meeting without clearance from the Curia
and had a form of loose authorization to proceed with the discussion with Mr. Mintoff."
29. Cf. Koster 1984b, 251-252.
30. Allied Newspapers 1981.
31. From that moment on a hectic time started in which both parties tried to strengthen their positions. The
government proclaimed a "Devolution of certain Church Property" Act, which was challenged before the
Constitutional Court by the archbishop.
32. Dr. Mifsud Bonnici started a weekly series of highly inflammatory talks in various towns and villages,nicknamed
by his opponents "the Sunday sermons," but cheered by his supportersfrequently attacking the Church and its leaders.
Gradually, a propaganda war had started, which can be easily measured by the amount of books and pamphlets
dealing with the subject; cf. Department of Information 1983, 1984; Klabb qari nisrani 1983; Archbishop's Curia
1984ab; Malta Labour Party 1984.

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33. Michael Mallia does not completely agree with me (comments on a previous draft November 1987):
"The FPTA campaigns were always run on a totally independent course and in fact I always received
terrific encouragement from parents who were MLP supporters. I would dispute this claim of PN
support. In fact I feel that the FPTA served as a great boost to the PN position and some PN elements
started to feel overshadowed by the massive popular ground-swell generated by a non-political group
of persons. Some 100,000 persons marched at Hamrun on 19/9/84, the largest ever public gathering."
34. The ASSP was accustomed to stir as much commotion as necessary, but later dropped at one by the clerical side
when negotiations became necessary; cf. Cutajar et. al. 1988.
35. In the same month that the archbishop had assumed responsibility for the running of church schools, a curious
incident showed that the Catholic church was really preparing itself for an encounter. For some time, pressure had
been used to persuade the editorial board of Pastor, the "independent" journal of the clergy (mainly diocesan) to
write an editorial on the church schools issue. The editorial board, undoubtedly more progressive than most of its
readers, finally gave in. Two members of the board prepared an editorial note and finally it was agreed to publish one
of these notes. It was called "Without Prejudice" and it could be interpreted as an attempt to bridge the differences
between Church and government. However, the atmosphere within the Church was not one of reconciliation and the
editorial board was harshly criticized from many quarters. Michael Mallia was one of the critics (comments on a
previous draft November 1987):
". . . I was one person who was in severe disagreement with the editorial note in question and wrote in
strong terms to the editorial board. I felt it was not an objective article but a knife in the back at a time
when even a degree of objectivity (given the vicious attack by Government on the schools) was out of
place. Possibly I also protested verbally wherever I could about the editorial."
As a result of this criticism the religious members of the editorial board resigned and their secular colleagues
reluctantly followed; cf. Pastor February, 1984 and Il-Qawmien Sept. 1984. Under a new board Pastor has been
toeing the line ever since. Obviously this was not the time to be objective. This comment is considered by many
unfair to the Church as is indicated by Mario Buhagiar's reaction (comments on a previous draft Spring 1986):
"I who lived through the hectic days can guarantee that the Government did not want a compromise
solution, it just wanted to stifle the private schools. For me the issue was above all a human rights
case: the right of parents to decide on their children's education."
36. Many missed the archbishop's presence, but not Michael Mallia (comments on a previous draft November 1987):

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"There was a specific agreementFPTA/Churchthat the parents would run the campaign. This was
insisted on from the very start by the FPTA, both with the local Church and the Vatican in Rome."
37. Michael Mallia, gave his account of what happened (comments on a previous draft November 1987):
"This event, on 28/9/84 (a Friday), was not spontaneous, nor were the workers furious. A number of
hand-picked thugs working at the dry-docks were used to deliver a physical warning. In the same
week Dr. K. M. B. had declared that he could not trust the police and soldiers and each minister would
therefore lead his own group of men to stop Church schools from "breaking the law" (i.e. opening the
following Monday). The Curia attack on Friday morning enabled the Government to have an excuse
to put in its police at the major secondary schools (unlicensed) ostensibly to "protect" the schools but
in fact enforce their closure. The police moved in on Friday evening 28/9/84, probably because
Government had realized that the FPTA was going to open the schools on Saturday 29/9/84 and not
the scheduled October 1st, a Monday. The decision by the Archbishop not to open on 1st October was
taken on Friday 28th afternoon, but it was not really agreed to by the FPTA, who felt that at least
parents should be given specific directives and not just hear a Curia announcement of non-opening."
Carmel Sant, reacted to this paragraph as well (personal commication 19 August 1988):
"I think the use of physical violence and the besieging of the schools by the police should be
emphasized. Thus e.g. no one could approach or enter St. Aloysius College, although it is the house of
a Community!"
38. According to Michael Mallia (comments on a previous draft November 1987) this had been planned from the
start by the FPTA.
39. Michael Mallia reacted to this paragraph (comments on a previous draft November 1987):
"Education-at-home had been planned by the FPTA as early as July 1984. The Curia tried to stall it at
first as it was afraid that the photos in the MLP press of houses where classes were being held (not
exceeding the number of nine pupils required by law for private lessons) would lead to violence
against persons and property. This initial stalling produced widespread parental reaction and the Curia
was literally made to allow the scheme to proceed."
40. Michael Mallia does not agree with me (comments on a previous draft November 1987):
"This is very disputable as only a small handful of parents moved children to state schools despite
threats to jobs, transfers, etc."

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41. According to Michael Mallia (comments on a previous draft November 1987) it was Mr. Mintoff who indirectly
pushed for talks to take place. Meanwhile the FPTA had taken the matter to the European Parliament in Strasbourg,
where in October 1984 a resolution was passed which condemned the attitude of the Maltese Government.
42. Michael Mallia comments (comments on a previous draft November 1987):
"The state of high tension pushed the Government into a temporary deal as it saw that the FPTA
campaign had produced a situation where from the first time alarge segment of the population, PN
apart, meant to resist its policies. This was a historical moment when Government, for the first time,
had to change course and did so practically unconditionally. This was a very clever move by Mr.
Mintoff as he effectively defused the tension and was able afterwards to restart talks and finally have
his way."
43. The FPTA, was according to Michael Mallia (comments on a previous draft November 1987), deliberately left
out of the Rome talks, which he calls "a betrayal and failure of leadership." He continues:
"The official agreement has worse elements in it than the infamous 1980 Castille document which had
been repudiated by Vatican and local Church. What in effect happened was that the Vatican had once
more interfered to the detriment of the future of education (and of the parents) in Malta."
44. For example, although it was not mentioned in the agreement, it seemed impossible to open a secondary church
school for girls in Gozo. Michael Mallia entirely agrees (comments on a previous draft November 1987):
"that Mr. Mintoff turned certain defeat into victory, through Vatican Connivance. The reopening of
19/11/84 was a Church school / FPTA victory, but the FPTA were barred from pushing their case
through and hence Mr. Mintoff turned defeat into victory. In fact FPTA was told not to even hint at
the word victory on reopening day ceremonies where, more than the genuine relief you refer to, there
was terrific enthusiasm and support for the case. To note also that the FPTA has been debarred from
participation in any of the committees and mixed commissions set up under the agreement. The idea
of "having been used" as a parent and as a lay member will live with me always in any future dealings
I have with the Curia!"
The leaders of the ASSP, which was only taken as a serious ally by Mr. Mallia, must have had even stronger
feelings about the church leadership; cf. Cutajar et. al. 1988.

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45. There is hardly any difference in the percentage of votes obtained by both parties compared to 1981. However, a
recent change in the Constitution now paved the way toward the government for the party with the majority of votes,
the PN. Although the PN in its electoral manifesto promised to remove discriminatory measures against the Church,
including legislation relating to church schools and church property and to repeal the law that empowers the
government to close down private schools (The Times 9 April 1987), the private schools issue and the position of the
Catholic church did not play a major role in the electoral campaign. The main issues were the style of leadership,
corruption, violence, and foreign policy. The impact of the campaign and its result on my analysis of the school war
is yet to be assessed.
46. Michael Mallia completely disagrees with me (comments on a previous draft November 1987):
"I would claim that the issue could be won, by the citizens and not by the Church. Violence scared the
ecclesiastical authorities, but since violence was turned on and off by the MLP in Government as
necessary, its use against parents and children on a massive scale would have destabilised the country
in such a way that Mr. Mintoff could neither afford, nor wanted to have on his hands. This is why he
temporarily gave in, in 19/11/84. He defused the threat created by the FPTA which had become a
genuine popular movement (there was clear dissent in official MLP ranks in the cabinet over the
issue) and made sure that afterwards, by vividly presenting the "violence" spectre, he dealt only with
the Church hierarchy who could not, for all sorts of reasons, become leaders of popular movements."
47. Bax 1987, 4.
48. According to Michael Mallia (comments on a previous draft November 1987) militant supporters did not really
"belong" to the Church:
"The parents were an independent parallel force who were militant primarily to protect their
offspring's education and only very secondarily to defend the Church interest."
49. The school war had already been prophesied by the present author in 1981; cf. Koster 1984b, 247.
50. While church and state in Malta fought about the monopoly of private schools, similar conflicts were fought in
two other Mediterranean countries: Spain and France. It would be interesting to compare the various conditions in
state-formation with respect to these conflicts.

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References
Allied Newspapers. 1981. Pope John Paul and Malta. Special Supplement.
Archbishop's Curia 1984a. Church Schools in Malta. Mimeo.
. 1984b. The Church in Malta and Church-State Issues. Mimeo.
Bax, Mart. 1983. "Religious Leadership and Social-Cultural Change in Southern Dutch Society. The Dialects of a
Politico-Religious Process." Paper presented at the XIth International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological
Sciences, Vancouver, August.
. 1987. "Religious Regimes and State Formation: Towards a Research Perspective." Anthropological Quarterly 60
(1):1-11.
Boissevain, Jeremy. 1979. "Mintoff en Malta, een heerser met haast." In Symposion I:162-163.
Borg, Joe. 1984. Imkasbrin fil-Mizbla. Malta: Labour Party.
Boswell, D. M. 1980. "Patron-Client Relations in the Mediterranean with Special Reference to the Changing Political
Situation in Malta." In Mediterranean Studies 2.
The Chronicler. 1958/60. "From the Class to the Cloister." In The Polymath, St. Albert's College Magazine 10:88-89.
Cutajar, Patricia, Sandro Spiteri, and Theresa Tortell. 1988. Aspects of the Church Schools Issue: The Role of the
ASSP and the FPTA. Mimeo.
Department of Information. 1983. Dokumenti dwar problemi u tilwim bejn Knisja-Stat f'Malta. Malta: Government
Printing Press.
. 1984. Dokumenti dwar il-kwistjoni ta' l-iskejjel tal-knisja bejn il-Gvern Malti u l-Vatikan. Malta: Government
Printing Press.
Harrison Smith. 1953. Britain in Malta. 2 Vols. Malta: Progress Press.
Harrison Smith and Adrianus Koster. 1984/86. Lord StricklandServant of the Crown. 2 Vols. Malta: Progress Press.
Klabb qari nisrani. 1983. L-Iskola Kattolika f'Pajizna. Malta: Media Centre.
Koster, Adrianus. 1983. "Ingrijpen door kerk en staat in feesten en rituelen op onafhankelijk Malta." In Feest en
ritueel in Europa, Antropologische essays, edited by Adrianus Koster, Yme Kuiper and Jojada Verrips.
Anthropological Studies Free University 3. Amsterdam: Free University Press.
. 1984a. "The Kappillani: The Changing Position of the Parish Priest in Malta." In Religion, Power and Protest in
Local Communities: The Northern Shore of the Mediterranean, edited by Eric R. Wolf, 185-211. Berlin: Mouton.

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. 1984b. Prelates and Politicians in Malta: Changing Power-balances between Church and State in a Mediterranean
Island Fortress (1800-1976). Studies of Developing Countries (29) Assen: Van Gorcum.
. 1985. ''Private Schools and the Continuing Story of Church vs. State in Malta: The Inevitable Fate of a Religious
Regime on the Wane." Paper presented for a session on "Irish Ethnography and Comparative European
Development" at the 84th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Washington D.C.,
December.
. 1986. "Bound To Clash: The Road to the 1984 Malta School War." Paper presented at a Session on "Religion and
Power" for the Research Committee Sociology of Religion during the XIth World Congress of Sociology, New
Delhi, August.
. 1988. "Religion, Education and Development in Colonial and Postcolonial Malta." In Religion and
DevelopmentTowards an integrated approach, edited by Philip Quarles van Ufford and Matthew Schoffeleers,
Amsterdam: Free University Press.
Malta Labour Party. 1984. Mass Demonstration il-gimgha, 26 ta'ottubzu, 1984. Malta: Union Press.
Nationalist Party Malta 1976. Let's Build AnewElection Manifesto.

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7
The Sociogenesis of the Hasidic Movement: An Orthodox-Jewish Regime and State-Formation in EighteenthCentury Poland
Daniel Meijers
Introduction
It is hardly an original comment, but that does not make it any the less true: the history of communal living displays
many characteristics of a game. The different players must look after their own interests continually, or they must
strengthen themselves by forming coalitions to defend their common interests. Players cannot escape this fate. The
game forces them to take steps which they would not have perhaps taken of their own accord, but which they are
forced to take by the developments during the game.
Anthropologists are not unaware of this process, which is characteristic of every social development. They are,
however, perhaps less aware that this process is not restricted to the political facets of society, but is characteristic of
all spheres of life, and thus also holds for the rise of religious movements. An insight of this kind can clarify our
view of how such movements come into being and how they develop. They are no longer solely seen as the result of
the ideological zeal of a charismatic personality, as an answer to the problems of the meaning of the time, or as a
consequence of a social-economic conflict of interestsexplanations that will in general not be wrong, but that will
nevertheless leave many questions unanswered.
It has, however, always been problematic to develop a concep-

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tual framework that is suitable for a fitting combination of infrastructure- and superstructure-factors without
attributing primacy to either. As a result, religious anthropologists can roughly be divided into those who primarily
restrict their explanations to aspects of the superstructure, and those who try to understand the development of a
religious movement through departing from the infrastructure. Both approaches have necessarily led to reductionism,
whereby either one or the other aspect of social reality has been neglected.
In my opinion, Mart Bax has made some progress in dealing with this problem. He has brought about a marriage
between political and religious anthropology, whereby the equal rights given to both disciplines has led to a new
approach. This new approach has its own theoretical concepts, which have been developed by Mart Bax (see his
article Religious Regimes and State-Formation), in which he further develops the theories of Norbert Elias, who has
shown how the individual and society have changed due to the influence of the European state-formation process. In
contrast to Elias, who treated religion and its followers in a stepmotherly fashion, central to Bax's view is the notion
that Elias's insights are equally applicable both to the rise of religious formations and to the changes that have taken
place in them in the course of history. Here, too, it appears that processes of state-formation and of religionization, as
well as other developments of religious importance, did not take place independently of each other. Bax's key
concept is the "religious regime," " . . .a strongly or less strongly formalized institutionalized constellation of human
interdependencies, which is legitimized by religious ideas, propagated by religious specialists" (Bax 1987, 2). This is
a dynamic concept, which derives its dynamic quality from different "factors," such as the relationship between the
religious and the worldly regimes, and the relationship with other religious regimes. Furthermore, a role is played by
internal tensions, which arise between the established or dominant regime and the subordinate regimes, which belong
to the same religious constellation but are competing with the dominant regime (ibid., 3). In Roman Catholicism this
could be, for example, the result of the field of tension between the diocesan and the monastic clergy. In other
religions, there are other regimes, which through the ages, have competed in this way, and which often still do so.
In this paper, we will concentrate on Hasidism, a specific case from eighteenth-century Eastern Europe. We are
dealing here with the sociogenesis of a "subordinate" orthodox-Jewish regime that grew into a mass devotional
movement among East European Jews. This new regime was inspired by a mystical doctrine and seemed to have
come into existence fairly "suddenly" a century after a period of

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disastrous persecution during which a large portion of the Jewish population in Poland had been massacred by
rebellious Cossacks. These Cossack rebellions were the result of the lack of balance of power in the Polish state,
where the nobility and the clergy were each trying, in their own way, to consolidate their position. The survivors of
these pogroms were reduced to extreme poverty, and as a result were unable to maintain their religious schools. As a
result, one of the primary religious ideals, namely, the acquisition of Talmudic knowledge, could no longer be
realized on a large scale. In the course of time, two different status groups came into being, the learned elite and the
uneducated masses. It was particularly among the latter that Hasidism spread.
We will examine how this subordinate regime came into being, expanded, and finally consolidated its position. Here,
too, we will see that, in keeping with Bax's findings, we are dealing with a field of tension between an established
regime and a subordinate regime, between what one could perhaps call rationalists and mystics. 1 Various questions
will have to be asked, such as: Why did the subordinate regime win ground so quickly precisely at that particular
time and not earlier? What were the social conditions underlying its rise? And why did the established Jewish regime
finally lose its dominance? It is perhaps not possible to provide an equally satisfactory answer to all of these
questions. This would not only be a difficult undertaking within the limited space of this paper, but a more significant
problem is that there are still many gaps in our scientific knowledge of Hasidism, which require more research than
we have been able to undertake so far.
The Polish Jews and the State
The Establishment of an Orthodox-Jewish Regime in a Weak State
Polish Jewry has undergone different developments from the time of its entry into the kingdom of Poland. The early
period, up to around the fifteenth century, was one of relative calm. During the Crusades Jewish emigrants flowed
from Germany to Poland. In the German countries, the Sews were being persecuted by the Roman Catholic church
and the state. The Gatholic church supported the interests of the urban burghers, whose members tried to increasingly
restrict the professions open to the Jews, who had to earn their living mainly as traders.2 The burghers feared their
competition, which probably con-

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stituted a serious threat to them for two different reasons. The Jewish community was spread out over the whole of
Europe all the way to the Mediterranean, which allowed for better trade connections than the non-Jews were able to
establish. Moreover, every time further professional restrictions were introduced, more people turned to the
professions that were still open to them, which possibly resulted in even more fierce competition in those
professions. However, the reaction to both of these factors was to limit increasingly the number of professions
accessible to Jews.
During the Crusades, economic competition led to physical persecution and the Jews were forced to leave the
German countries. Assimilation was not available as an alternative. 3 The only realistic road to freedom led
eastward, where the Jews were welcome. At the time, Poland lacked a prosperous middle class of merchants and
artisans, which the Jews were preeminently to provide (cf. Abramsky, Jachimczyk, and Polonsky 1986,4).
The new immigrants received special rights. Polish Jewrythen the largest in Europebuilt up an almost autonomous
organization. It formed "a state within a state." Each community was governed by a kahal, an administrative
apparatus consisting of elected members, which every two years sent a representative to the va'ad, a national body.
Each kahal appointed rabbinical judges, whose task it was to settle conflicts and to sit in judgment when an offense
was committed. Furthermore, it was the task of the kahal to mediate between the government and the Jewish
community (Dubnow 1927, 6:345 if.). The state maintained this structure by giving its powerful support to the
sanctions of the rabbinical courts and to the practical application of the administrative decisions, if necessary (ibid.,
344). On the other hand, the va'ad had to collect annually a fixed sum of money for the state treasury.
Lithuania had a similar structure. The monopoly of violence remained in both countries in the hands of the state.
There are local cases known where people formed their own militias, but these were always temporary and
exclusively a means of defense against a hostile group of burghers, and no more. In both countries, the Jewish
inhabitants established Talmudic academies, which not only trained future religious functionaries but also many
students who would later go into profane professions. Thus, shape was given to one of the most central orthodox
ideals: the continual acquisition of religious knowledge as a means in its own right to perfection. In addition to this,
one had to adhere to the many precepts, such as the food and marriage laws, and so forth. In the course of time,
however, the same developments as in Germany took place in these regions. As a result, the same

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situation that had arisen earlier in Germany now arose in Poland and Lithuania.
Thus, the tide had turned in Poland. The relative calm was over. The unrest in this period was even to develop into
catastrophic persecutions in the first half of the seventeenth century. In the beginning, the king of Poland had
received the German Jews with open arms, because they had meant a stronger economic middle class and revenue for
the treasury. The latter was badly needed to finance the miliary expenditure of a country that formed a buffer
between the Roman Catholic states in Western Europe and the Greek Catholic Muscovites in the East, and the
Islamic Turks and the Tartars in the south and the southeast, all of whom were trying to expand their power within
the framework of the European state-formation process. The history of Poland is indeed the history of the hostilities
between a number of monarchs across and within the borders of the country. The maintenance of a mercenary army
constituted the largest expense of the Polish monarch, who, as the principal Polish noble lordbut also not much more
than thathad to be on the outlook continually for rivals. The Polish nobility never formed a unified bloc faithful to the
monarchy. Rather, they felt it was in their interest to contain the royal expansionist urge in order to protect their own
rights. In practice this meant that the nobility became unfaithful to its monarch the moment he strengthened his
position by defeating an invader. As a result, Polish society differed considerably from Western European societies
of the time, where the large dynasties had already consolidated their position far more by controlling almost fully
both money and violence, where the struggle for power had in general terms been decided, and where the dynastic
states could begin to flourish. There, an urban bourgeoisie, which rendered feudal government redundant and
unfeasable, developed much earlier (cf. Elias 1983, 1:58). This phase was to last a few centuries longer in Poland,
where independent monarchs each tried to win the undecided power struggle. 4 True, an urban bourgeoisie would
rise gradually there, but it would have much less power than was the case in Western Europe.
The German Jews were a welcome prey in this noble tournament. Poland was sparsely populated and poor. It
completely lacked merchants and international connections, which could have been a result of the unstable political
climate. The lack of national law and the division of the country into many principalities hardly advanced trade on a
large scale. The Jewish community, however, constituted precisely such an international commercial class, which,
through all sorts of taxes, could provide the ever-destitute treasury with much-coveted lucre. Furthermore, thanks to
religious values, to which edu-

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cation was central, they had enjoyed incomparably more education than their non-Jewish countrymen. This did not
escape the attention of the Polish nobility. Many feudal lords owned estates in outlying areas. They lived too far from
their property to be able to manage it themselves. What could be more logical than to appoint these foreigners as
managers and stewards of theft estates? Many Jews were, after all, looking for a new refuge because of restrictions
imposed upon them in the cities by the Catholic church and the urban citizens.
Thus, we find in Poland, on the one hand, a Catholic religious regime that formed a coalition with the burghers, and,
on the other hand, a noble leisure class of large landowners, who could use the Jews to look after their interests
(Dubnow 1928, 7:128-129). The outcome of this was that many Jews were employed on the large estates in the south
and the east of the country as tax collectors for Polish Panowie (noble lords), or as lessees of some of the many
monopolies controlled by the Panowie, such as the grinding of corn, the use of fishing waters, the production and
sale of brandy, and so forth (ibid., 18). Another possible motive for employing Jews could have been that the
Panowie did not trust theft serfs. Not only were their material interests opposed to those of theft masters, but they
also had a different ideological orientation. In contrast with their masters, the peasants in the eastern provinces were
for the most part members of the Orthodox church. They would sooner take the side of the Muscovite invaders, who
belonged to the same church, than defend the interests of theft Polish masters. This was not to be expected from the
Jews, for they were completely dependent upon the Polish lords; the rural population treated them with hostility.
Moreover, they were hated by the Muscovites, who did not even allow them into their country. The Poles could
clearly be certain of their loyalty. As a result, however, the poor rural population, who hated the Polish lords from the
bottom of their hearts, developed the same hatred toward theft representatives, the Jews. Needless to say, these
negative feelings toward the Jews were used and encouraged by the local Roman Catholic priests (cf. Dubnow 1928,
7:17-20).
Increasing Struggle in the Polish State and Loss of Power of the Dominant Jewish Regime
Thus, many Jews settled in the Polish countryside in the course of the sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth
century. Others moved to the principality of Lithuania, where there was less anti-Semitism than in Poland. This was
perhaps partly a result of the heterogeneity

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of the population, which, in contrast to that of Poland, was made up of various religious and ethnic variants. The
Roman Catholic church was also less dominant there. New immigrants were welcome as a means of strengthening
the cities, for Lithuania was situated, even more than Poland, at the center of the expansionist struggle between the
various states. As a result, the Jews enjoyed more freedom in Lithuania than in Poland.
In the Ukraine, however, the Jews were hated even more than in other parts of Poland. In this region, the peasants
identified them more than anywhere else with the Polish oppressor, and were just waiting for the opportunity to turn
upon the Panowie and their Jewish representatives. The opportunity arose when the Cossack hetman Bogdan
Chmielnicki rebelled against the Polish king. Chmielnicki's Cossacks were runaway serfs who had been living
independently in the eastern regions. The Polish state tolerated their presence in return for military services along the
border, where the Crimean Tartar Khans invaded regularly. In one of the many wars, Chmielnicki established his
fame as a military leader, and could no longer be ignored by the Poles. When he saw that his claims for services
rendered were not satisfiedthe Polish lords were afraid of his increasing powerhe marched westward with his army
against the king (see Nisbet Bain 1908, 213 ff.). The peasants received him as their liberator from Polish domination.
The Cossacks gained further support from the population by destroying castles owned by the Polish lords and by
slaughtering Jewish stewards and lessees everywhere in the most horrible manner. The Polish clergy, the symbol of
the Polish yoke, and the instrument for spreading the orientation of the tyrant, were persecuted in a no less brutal
manner (Nisbet Bain 1908, 211). Between 1648 and 1658, the Jews, who had been forced into the ambivalent
position of having to collect fixed amounts of money for the Polish lords from the rural population, were decimated
in some regions, and in others, such as the Ukraine, were totally annihilated. Estimations regarding the number of
victims vary, but in any event several hundred thousand Jews lost their lives (Dubnow 1928, 7:40). Approximately
700 Jewish communities were destroyed, of which 300 were razed to the ground (Bosk 1974, 134; Dubnow 1931,
1:46; Schochet 1961, 31-33). Chmielnicki was eventually stopped, however, not before he had switched loyalties a
number of times. In his battle for hegemony, he formed alliances with the Polish king, the Muscovite ruler, the
Crimean Khan, and the Turkish Sultan (Nisbet Bain 1908, 220). These alliances, all of which were of short duration,
point to the different interests involved. Each of these monarchs was out to keep or to conquer Polish territory. The
power of the kahal and the va'ad,

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and the autonomous organizations of the Jewish community was reduced by the Chmielnicki pogroms. Many
communities had been destroyed. The inhabitants had fled in all directions to save their lives. Members of families
were dispersed over different regions. The already totally chaotic situation was aggravated by a messianic movement
from Turkey, which managed to win the support of a large part of the Jewish population.
This movement, which at the time was known throughout the Jewish world, had, according to the famous scholar
Gershom Scholem, grown out of the widespread Cabalistic world of thought (Scholem 1973, 8,27). Without denying
that at the time the influence of the Cabala (Jewish mysticism) was of great significance to the spiritual life of the
Jewish community, there still remains the question as to whether this explains why this movement should have
become such an overwhelming success precisely in Poland and at precisely that time. Also another explanation that
is often given, namely, that the Chmielnicki pogroms were the cause of the rise of this movement, leaves many
questions unanswered (see Scholem 1973, 1; and Rubin 1964, 139). Why should this movement have come into
being in Turkey, where the Jewish population was treated relatively well? And why should it have had so many
followers, not only in Poland, but also in Amsterdam and Hamburg, where the prosperous Spanish exiles, who had
escaped the Inquisition, lived?
This is not the place to answer these and other questions in detail. What does appear to be the case, however, is that
mystical thoughts appealed to the majority of the population, and not merely because they were more or less "by
chance" current at the time. Rather, they were current at the time because, within the orthodoxy, there was a mystical
undercurrent with numerous representatives, who apparently, under the present social conditions, could exercise
more influence than they had been able to in the past. 5
It appears that the Jewish community did not only consist of a dominant regime, with the kahal and va'ad as its
parliament and cabinet. At the same time there was a subordinate regime of mystics. The religious goals of this
regime were roughly the same as those of the dominant regime, but the two were nevertheless continually competing
with each other.6 This is supported by an early Hasidic tradition that tells about the establishment of a society of
mystics in the seventeenth century (see for example Schneersohn 1960, 22). According to this tradition, this society,
which aimed at spreading the doctrines of the Cabala, was established around 1620 in Worms by a certain Rabbi
Eliah Ba'al Shem. Rabbi Eliah was succeeded by other mystics, of whom the founder of the Hasidic movement,
Rabbi Israel Ba'al Shem

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Tov (1698-1760)that is, "the Master of the Good Name," namely, the Divine Nameis supposed to be the fourth.
These mystics are supposed to have carried out their mission in secret, among other things to avoid resistance from
the dominant regime. Non-Jewish society did not draw this distinction between the more rationalistic dominant
regime and the more mystical subordinate regime, because it had far more dealings with the former than with the
latter. As a result, it was perhaps easier for the subordinate regime to expand underground, even though it remained
subordinate. The dominant regime maintained its position, because it had an administrative apparatus that was
supported by the state.
This, however, changed. During the Chmielnicki period, the dominant regime lost its control over the Jewish
community, as a result of which the undercurrents could rise to the surface. The ability of the dominant regime to
restore its power partially also had to do with the persecutions. The importance of a central administrative apparatus
that could negotiate with the government was greater than ever. The Tartars, who had fought on Chmielnicki's side,
had sold many Jews as slaves to the Turks. The kahal was the most suitable organization to enter into negotiations
with the Turkish Sultan (Dubnow 1928, 7:104-105). The same held for the relations with the Polish government and
with the Catholic church. The latter increasingly accused Jews of the ritual murder of Christians (cf. Dubnow 1931,
1:37). It saw its chance to subdue the weakened Jewish community once and for all, perhaps partly in order to put an
end to Jewish competition in this unstable country for good. Here, too, the Jews needed a recognized administrative
apparatus to step into the breach. Although the kahal had been weakened by the persecutions, this new task at the
same time presented it with the opportunity to strengthen its position. Consequently, it was able to excommunicate
the followers of the Turkish pseudo-Messiah, which caused the majority of his Polish disciples to leave him
(Dubnow 1928, 7:96, 193). A century later, at the time of the rise of the Hasidic movement, its power had, however,
diminished markedly. The subordinate regime could then develop freely, although this was by no means without
conflicts.
Consolidation of the Subordinate Regime, Further Loss of Power by the Dominant Regime, and the End of the Polish
State
The next phase in the history of Polish Jewry coincides with the successive wars in the country and the different
territorial partitions resulting from these wars. From 1700 the country was almost contin-

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ually at war. As a result of the internal struggle for power, the king began to lose power over the country, and the
balance of power changed increasingly to his disadvantage. Finally, a civil war broke out, which the western states,
such as France, Austria, Prussia, and Sweden, tried to use in order to expand their sphere of influence. At the same
time, both the Tsar and the Sultan were looking to expand their territories in the direction of Poland. The final result
was the increasing division of Poland until there was no autonomous state of Poland left (Nisbet Bain 1908, 380). As
a result of these divisions, Jewish communities, depending on their location, came under either Austrian or Russian
rule. The unrest in the country led to an increase in pogroms and to new trade restrictions in various cities. The
Catholic church also gladly made its contribution in the form of a series of accusations of ritual murder aimed at
individuals or at whole Jewish communities, which caused the Jews to fear even more for their lives and property.
In general, all these territorial changes did not have a positive effect on the administrative structure of the Jewish
community. The va'ad and the kahal had already lost a great deal of their power earlier. The death blow was
delivered in 1662 when, in the hope of increasing its revenue, the Polish government decided to tax the Jews per
capita. The kahal and va'ad thus lost an important part of their specific task. Now that this mechanism of control was
in its own hands, the state no longer saw any advantage in supporting the kahal as a semi-government organization
(Bosk 1974, 135). With this, the kahalat least as far as the government was concernedhad lost its main reason for
existence. Perhaps an important consideration in the government's decision was that this would prevent the
communal functionaries from being able to embezzle money. In any event, it seems plausible that this restriction of
the power of the kahal was welcomed by many individual Jews, because the administrative oligarchy was often
regarded with envy, which in some cases even led to complaints to the government about abuse of power (cf.
Dubnow 1931, 1:47).
The results of this measure were not the same everywhere. In Poland, it meant the end of the kahal. This was not the
case in Lithuania. The Jewish community was more urbanized there than in Poland, where the Jews had settled
mainly in villages in the countryside. For this reason, the kahal could exercise more effective control in Lithuania
than it could in Poland (Rabinovich 1950, 125). In Lithuania, the Jews had suffered less from the Chmielnicki
pogroms, as a result of which the kahal was able to consolidate its position without hindrance. The dominant regime
there had managed to establish

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regional administrative bodies that were able to continue to function even after the new tax measures had been
introduced (Wilensky 1975, 109). Thanks to their having established these alternative administrative bodies, the
established regime was able to retain its dominant position much longer than had been the case earlier in Poland.
Consequently, Hasidism met with much more resistance in Lithuania than it did in Poland. Lithuania remained a
bulwark of rationalistic Judaism, of the dominant regime, right into the twentieth century. It never became a Terra
Hasidiana (Wilensky 1975, 109), and it is significant that the term Litvak (Lithuanian) is used to this day to refer to
someone who opposes Hasidism. There is, therefore, every reason not to view the development of Hasidism
independently of the processes of state-formation in Eastern Europe. This holds not only for the explanation of the
rise of this subordinate regime and the consolidation of its position in Poland, and for the resistance it met with in
Lithuania, but also for the doctrine of the Hasidic movement as the ideology of a subordinate regime.
Traditionally, the Jewish community attached great importance to the acquisition of knowledge. The study of the
Torah in the widest sense was the principal religious ideal. 7 It was generally the custom that a little boy received
religious schooling from the age of three, and, depending on his achievements, continued studying until after he was
married. This did not imply that he would go on to hold a religious office. Many became traders or artisans after
having finished their studies. A minority continued to study, and tried to earn a living as professional scholars, a
position for which the community provided funds. However, those who went into a profane profession devoted their
free time to studying further, so that Jewish society lacked a stratification of uneducated laymen, on the one hand,
and scholars, on the other (Abrahams 1973, 357).
This, however, changed after the Chmielnicki pogroms. Especially in the regions where the pogroms had been worst,
such as in the Ukraineand much less in Lithuania and White Russia, where the Jews had suffered less from the
Cossacksthe Jewish community could no longer afford this education for everyone (Dubnow 1931, 1:48). Both the
community as such and private individuals lacked the necessary funds. Consequently, in the course of time the
number of uneducated people increased enormously, so that a division now indeed came into being between a
scholarly elite and the uneducated masses (Bosk 1974, 141). At the same time, the status criteria changed. This was
partly because of increasing pressure caused by higher taxes, which resulted in an increase in the importance of
money. Toward the end of the seventeenth century a new aristocracy came into being that

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was no longer based exclusively upon knowledge, but also upon wealth (Abrahams 1973, 43). The members of the
new elite were at least either learned or rich, whereas the masses were neither. Thus, social and religious
differentiation went hand in hand. The new administrators were nouveaux riches; they did not always hesitate to use
their new positions to their own advantage. It is probably because of this that the power of the subordinate regime
increased and its recruiting area grew larger. The established regime became increasingly a religion of the learned
minority and of a small number of wealthy administrators who held the most important positions. The ordinary man
had to seek his salvation elsewhere. In any event, this could explain why, according to Hasidic tradition, the mystics
paid so much attention to the simple man, and why the Ba'al Shem Tov developed a new ideology in which the
unlettered played a central role. A shift took place in the pattern of values: knowledge became, in general, less
important than piety (Lamm 1970, 37). Knowledge was no longer viewed as the only road to personal perfection.
The uneducated could now also achieve their personal perfection by leading a pious life. Piety thus received a new
meaning; it became independent of intellectual abilities and it became typified by emotional zeal and a moderate
ascetic attitude toward daily life, for example, as practiced during meals. More extreme asceticism, such as the
introduction of new fast days, on which people abstained totally from food and drink, was discouraged. Emphasis
was continually placed upon the importance of a joyful heart, of meditation in prayer, and of brotherly love. Prior to
Hasidism, asceticism was practiced by individual scholars, who fasted from Sabbath to Sabbath, or tried to atone for
their sins by rolling in the snow. Joy was regarded as ill fitting sinful man. Hasidic asceticism made less stringent
demands, and was consequently more suitable for the ordinary, working man. It better suited the segments of the
population from which the subordinate regime recruited its followers.
Thus, the subordinate regime gradually grew into a mass movement. At the time of the death of the Ba'al Shem Tov
in 1760, there were an estimated 10,000 folowers, spread out over Volhynia, Podolia, and Galicia (Rabinovich 1950,
127). 8 In the course of time, the various Hasidic Rebbes consolidated their position by securing an important means
of power.9 They established their own schools everywhere. The Eastern European Jews could choose between these
Hadorim, organized along traditional lines, and the state schools, which were established around 1840 with the help
of Jewish supporters during the Age of Enlightenment, and which aimed at providing a secular education. Very few
people opted for the latter. However, as a result of the establishment of the less orthodox state schools, a traditional
school edu-

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cation became a sine qua non for belonging to a Hasidic community. 10 In this way, emphasis was increasingly laid
upon formal education.
The established regime reacted in the same way. There, too, the emphasis on education increased after the Hasidic
movement had established itself within Jewish society. The result, in any event, was that both groups began to stress
religious education more than had been the case in earlier periods. This ultimately led to every Hasidic group of any
size having its own institutes where its own functionaries were trained. In this way, they became less dependent on
the services of the dominant regime. This emphasis, indeed insistence, upon religious schooling significantly
changed the face of orthodox Judaism. The number of Hasidic scholars increased enormously. At the moment even
the non-Hasidic Talmudical academies have become dependent on the inflow of Hasidic students. There are, in any
event, hardly any institutes in which a significant number of the students do not come from Hasidic milieus. Only the
teachers still belong to the opponents of Hasidism.
There are other teachings that were emphasized by the subordinate regime and which were particularly suited to the
social-economic conditions under which eighteenth-century Jewry lived. One example is the doctrine of the Divine
sparks. These sparks are said to have left their place during the process of creation and to have landed in the earthly
world. By conducting oneself ''piously" in the material world, one can cause the sparks to be lifted up once again
(Mindel 1974, 67; Scholem 1961, 311). The essence of this doctrine is that the sparks need not necessarily be lifted
up by means of studying, but rather by means of ascetic conduct in one's daily and profane life. For Hasidim this also
meant that one's daily, profane workone's conduct in the material worldhad a value of its own (see Meijers 1986).
Prestige was no longer exclusively linked to knowledge. Trade and artisanship were also regarded as being of value,
which perhaps further legitimized the possession of money as a status criterion.11
A well-known Hasidic tale tells how a student of the Ba'al Shem Toy was given an assignment by the latter to go to a
certain place and to take a cup with him. On the way, he had to find shelter for his horse and cart because a storm had
suddenly broken. After a while he became thirsty and began to look for water. He found a spring from which he
could take water with the help of his cup. He uttered the prescribed blessing and quenched his thirst. After some time
he could continue on his way;, when he arrived at his destination, however, he could not carry out his assignment.
Upon his return he gave an account of his experiences to the Ba'al Shem; the student told Ba'al Shem that he had not
been able to perform his task. The Ba'al Shem Toy answered

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that the spring from which he had drunk had been waiting since creation for someone to say a blessing for its water.
In this way, meaning was attributed to seemingly meaningless acts.
Conclusion
The developments within the Eastern European Jewish community form an interesting parallel with those within the
Roman Catholic church. In the latter, state developments and the relation between diocesan and monastic clergy
appear, as Mart Bax has shown in a number of cases, to be related to each other in a complicated way. In the former,
a comparable relationship is to be found between state-formation, the mystics acting in secret, and the established
orthodoxy. It could be a question of general importance whether with his complementary competition between
diocesan and monastic priests Bax has not discovered a sociological law that applies to every large religion. In the
Roman Catholic church it takes the form of monks and diocesan priests, in Judaism of mystics and rationalists.
Undoubtedly, parallels are to be found in other religions.
For the rest, that we are dealing here with a struggle for power between mystics and rationalists is in itself not a new
idea. Almost every person who has studied Hasidism has come to the conclusion that the rise of the Hasidic
movement cannot be seen independently of the social interests of, and the ideological conflicts between, certain
groups of scholars (cf. Dubnow 1931, 2; 133-134; Raphael 1976, 50; Schochet 1961, 98; Wilensky 1975, 105 ff.).
However, that we are dealing here with a structural characteristic of Judaism, whereby two religious regimeseach of
which alternately holds a dominant positionare engaged continually in a complementary competition is an entirely
new and remarkable insight. This process can only be fully understood by relating it to the developments in church
and state (cf. for present-day Israel: Meijers 1984). This insight undoubtedly opens up new perspectives for the socialscientific investigation of Judaism in general and of Hasidism in particular. Perhaps the comparison with
developments in other religious regimes, also in Western Europe, will lead to a better appreciation of the importance
of this competition between dominant and subordinate regimes, and of the influences of church and state as principal
political forces.

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Notes
I am very grateful to Professor Mart Bax for his many valuable suggestions, to Dr. Martin van den Heuvel for his
comments on my interpretation of Eastern European history and to Drs. Derek Rubin for the way in which he
translated this article into English. An earlier, Dutch version of this paper was published in Sociologisch Tijdschrift
12 (4):618-640, 1986.
1. I speak of mystics and rationalists in order to indicate certain modalities in orthodox Judaism. It is, however, not
easy to distinguish between the two, because neither the representatives of formal mysticism, the Cabalists, nor those
of rational, legal thought, the Halakhists, have dealt exclusively with the one side of Jewish thought and not with the
other. I would prefer to give another meaning to these terms: I would like to use the term "mystics" to denote those
who have always viewed emotional commitment and devout-nessthe "service of the heart"as being of primary
importance for achieving religious salvation, and the term ''rationalists" to denote those who view intellectual
speculation and the acquisition of religious knowledgethe "mind"as the principal road to salvation (cf. Mindel 1969,
15, for "heart" and "mind").
2. It is striking that also in feudal times the Roman Catholic church as a rule supported the interests of the burghers.
There were perhaps two reasons for this. On the one hand, the burghers constituted its numerical and financial
foundation. On the other hand, the interests of the Church were often incompatible with those of the nobility, which
constituted a separate regime with its own large landownership. Furthermore, a significant part of the clergy was of
urban origin. Especially in feudal times, social mobility was possible for the commoners mainly via the Church. The
titles of the nobility were hereditary, as was their property. During his lifetime, a clergyman of common origin could
have property and status without the Church having to fear that it would lose them to his descendants. Thus, in
comparison with the nobility, the interests of the burghers were less incompatible with those of the clergy.
Whether or not the west and south European state-formation process was also characterized by a continual
coalition between the Catholic church and the urban burghers over against the nobility seems to me to be an
important point of discussion. It is perhaps also important to determine to what extent positions of power were
accessible to the commoners. Could they reach such positions only via ecclesiastical office or did the nobility
offer them other means?
3. Through the ages there have always been individuals who tried by means of christianization to share in the rights
afforded to members of Christian society. In general, however, the social antagonism between Jews and non-Jews
made it hardly attractive to take such a step. The Roman Catholic church did everything in its power to maintain the
position of Jews as outsiders by introducing the ghetto and other measures. As a result, until

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recent times, even if one wanted to, it was almost impossible to assimilate (see also Beauvois 1986, 90, for
Poland in the nineteenth century). However, there always were exceptions (cf. Ciechanowiecki 1986, 64-69).
4. "In effect, Poland was a confederation of about fifty small noble republics" (Blum 1978, 28) led by the most
prominent noble families, which were the most important rulers. Poland became one of the principal grain suppliers
for Western Europe. By keeping the monopoly of the grain trade, the upper nobility hindered the establishment of a
strong bourgeoisie (Toilet 1986, 22).
5. There are a number of other questions that should be answered, but which cannot be gone into much further here.
For example, why is it that orthodox Judaism should always have been characterized by competition between mystics
and rationalists? The observation that both elementsmysticism and rationalismplay an important role in rabbinical
literature does not clarify much. Another question is, why is it so difficult to place clearly such mystical
undercurrents? This seems to be precisely their strength. Because they are not rigidly organized, an established
regime cannot get a grip on them, and they seem to hardly lead a demonstrable existence. Only when the external
conditions permit it, for example as a result of changes at state level, can they expand to such an extent that they
appear to "suddenly" come into being. Here, too, a comparison with what is known about other religious formations
in Europe is desirable.
6. The messianic movement already mentioned did have other goals, namely, a Judaism cast in a messianic mould.
The movement was consequently banned by the va'ad, and its members were excommunicated. The judgment must
have been generally acceptedalso by the mysticsfor in contrast to the Hasidic movement, this messianic movement
could not in any way hold its own within the Jewish orthodoxy.
It is nevertheless not surprising that the Hasidic movement was later accused by its opponents of having
messianic sympathies. It, however, differed in important ways from messianism: there are no indications that it
claimed to have come up with a Messiah, or that it introduced changes, such as the abolition of the days of
mourning for the destruction of the Templethe outstanding characteristic of a messianic movement.
7. It is important for the outsider to know that the study of the Torah involves not only studying the Pentateuch and
the Old Testament, but also many other texts, such as the Talmud and all of the philosophical, ethical, and mystical
literature.
8. This number was to increase enormously. Dubnow notes that, in the nineteenth century, Eastern Europe consisted
for the most part of Hasidim (Dubnow 1931, 1:22). See also Weinryb 1982, 262.
9. See Koster 1985, for a comparable event on Roman Catholic Malta.

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10. After Napoleon there were Jews who began to strive for equal rights. According to the supporters of the Haskala,
the Jewish equivalent of the Age of Enlightenment, this could be realized only if the Jews acquired more secular
knowledge. Then the social distance between Jew and non-Jew would decrease and non-Jewish society would come
to better appreciate its Jewish countrymen (Meisl 1919, 37). Therefore they tried to introduce a new educational
system, which did not provide only religious instruction, as was the case at the traditional schools, but which placed
the emphasis on secular subjects. These schools were supported by the state in the hope that, through the new
educational system, it would be able to exercise more influence over the Jewish population. Particularly missionary
considerations played a role here. However, for a long time there was little interest in these schools (Meisl 1919, 82,
105).
11. Because of the nature of the topic it is impossible within the short space of this article to discuss the Hasidic
world of thought in detail. The ideas about matter were ascetic, certainly not materialistic, as might seem to be the
case. Nevertheless, since Max Weber's thesis about the Protestant ethic it is well known that this kind of "innerworldly asceticism" promotes wealth rather than opposes it. It is therefore not unlikely that Hasidic thought
contributed to a further legitimization of money as a status criterion.
References
Abrahams, Israel. 1973. Jewish life in the Middle Ages. New York: Atheneum.
Abramsky, Chimen, Maciej Jachimczyk, and Antony Polonsky, eds. 1986. "Introduction." In The Jews in Poland, 114. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Bax, Mart. 1987. "Religious Regimes and State Formation: Towards a Research Perspective." Antrhopological
Quarterly. 60 (1):1-11.
Beauvois, Daniel. 1986. "Polish-Jewish Relations in the Territories Annexed by the Russian Empire in the First Haft
of the Nineteenth Century, edited by Chimen Abramsky, Maciej Jachimczyk, and Antony Polonsky. In The Jews in
Poland, 78-91. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Blum, Jerome. 1978. The End of the Old Order in Rural Europe. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Bosk, Charles. 1974. "Cybernetic Hasidism: An Essay on Social and Religious Change. Sociological Inquiry 44
(2):131-144.
Ciechanowiecki, Andrzej. 1986. "A Footnote to the History of the Integration of Converts into the Ranks of the
Szlachta in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth," edited by Chimen Abramsky, Maciej Jachimczyk, and Antony
Polonsky. In The Jews in Poland, 64-70. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

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Dubnow, Simon. 1927. Weltgeschichte des Jdischen Volkes. Band VI. Berlin: Jdischer Verlag.
. 1928. Weltgeschichte des Jdischen Volkes. Band VII. Berlin: Jdischer Verlag.
. 1931. Geschichte des Chassidismus. Band I and II. Berlin: Jdischer Verlag.
Elias, Norbert. 1983. Het civilisatieproces. Sociogenetische en psychogenetische onderzoekingen, Vol. 1 and 2.
Utrecht, Antwerpen: Het Spectrum.
Koster, A. 1985. "Private Schools and the Continuing Story of Church vs. State in Malta: The Inevitable Fate of a
Religious Regime on the Wane." Paper prepared for a session on Irish Ethnography and Comparative European
Development of the 84th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. Washington D.C., 5-8
December 1985.
Lamm, N. 1970. "Study and Prayer; Their Relative Value in Hasidism and Mithnagdism." In Samuel K. Mirsky
Memorial Volume, 37-52.
Meijers, Daniel. 1984. "'Civil religion' or 'civil war'?Religion in Israel." In Religion, Power and Protest in Local
Communities. The Northern Shore of the Mediterranean, edited by Eric R. Wolf, 137-161. Berlin: Mouton
Publishers.
. 1986. Hasidic Groups and Other Religious Collectivities in Orthodox Judaism. Anthropological Papers Free
University Amsterdam 4. Amsterdam: Free University Press.
Meisl, Josef. 1919. Haskalah. Geschichte der Aufklrungsbewegung unter den Juden in Russland. Berlin: C. A.
Schwetschke and Sohn.
Mindel, Nissan. 1969. Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi. Biography. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Kehot Publication Society.
. 1974. Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi. Philosophy of Chabad. New York: Kehot Publication Society.
Nisbet Bain, R. 1908. Slavonic Europe. A Political History of Poland and Russia from 1447 to 1796. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Rabinovich, W. 1950. "Karlin Hasidism." Yivo Annual of Jewish Social Science 5:123-151.
Raphael, C. 1976. "The Litvak Connection and Hasidic Chic." Commentary 61 (5):48-53.
Rubin, Israel. 1964. "Chassidic Community Behavior." Anthropological Quarterly 37:138-149.

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Schneersohn, Rabbi Joseph I. 1960. Lubavitcher Rabbi's Memoirs. Vol. 2. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Kehot Publication
Society.
Schochet, J. I. 1961. Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov. Toronto: Lieberman's Publishing House.
Scholem, G. 1961. "Martin Buber's Hasidism." Commentary 32 (4):305-316.
. 1973. Sabbatai Sevi. The Mystical Messiah 1626-1676. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Toilet, Daniel. 1986. "Merchants and Businessmen in Poznan and Cracow, 1588-1668," edited by Chimen
Abramsky, Maciej Jachimczyk, and Antony Polonsky. In The Jews in Poland, 22-31. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Weinryb, Bernard D. 1982. The Jews of Poland. A Social and Economic History of the Jewish Community in Poland
from 1100-1800. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America.
Wilensky, M. L. 1975. "The Hostile Phase." East European Monographs 13:89-113.

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8
Cultural Change and Religious Belief: The Armenians of Cyprus
Susan P. Pattie
By A.D. 314, King Tiridates of Armenia had been converted by Saint Gregory the Illuminator and made Christianity
the state religion. Thus, Armenians became the first Christian nation, a source of great pride today. Since then the
Armenian Apostolic church is seen as having preserved not only the faith but also the language, history, and culture
of the Armenian people as a "nation" even throughout centuries of subjugation to other powers. It has also served as
its communities' strongest social organization. But the way in which its members regard it today is changing as is its
place in the constellation of important features of culture mentioned by Armenians. Language and history for some,
and political activism for others are consciously put forward as successors to the Church in the position of most equal
among equals. This paper looks at the dual rolesspiritual and functionalof a national church and the nature of faith in
both these aspects. The interplay of cultural change and religious belief is explored in the diaspora Church's role in
"stateless nation-building." The information here has been gathered over three years of ethnographic fieldwork with
Armenians in Cyprus and in London, where many Armenian Cypriots have emigrated.
The Armenian Apostolic church became separate from its early sister churches in A.D. 451 when it rejected the
decision of the Council of Chalcedon concerning the dual nature of the body of Christ. The Armenian position
became known as monophysite to the outside

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world. Membership is by birth and christening so that the vast majority of Armenians in the diaspora as well as in
Soviet Armenia are considered members, however active they may be. Agnostics, atheists, and anticlericals also take
part in the Church's celebration of major life cycle events including baptism, marriage, and funerals. The liturgy is
sung in classical Armenian (Grabar) and today the sermons and scripture are often in vernacular Armenian. Though
there is neither an Armenian Protestant church nor an Armenian Catholic church in either Cyprus or London at
present, the influence of the Protestants is especially noticeable in the communities. This is primarily due to the
American Academies of Larnaca and Nicosia, begun by missionaries, where many Armenians have studied and
taught.
In the past, as well as today, the Armenian Apostolic church has actively promoted language use and knowledge of
history through its role in education, sermons, literature, and music. It also provides a setting for the most sensual
means of instilling an awe of the past. Peering through the thin but potent haze of incense at the glittering altar
display and colorful vestments of the priests, surrounded by the continuous chants and hymns, one can be transported
onto a timeless level, where contemporary distractions seem especially out of place, where one feels something
altogether extraordinary, in touch with a reality both inside and beyond oneself. For some this is God. For most this
is a link between present and past generations of Armenians.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a series of massacres and deportations uprooted Armenians from
theft homelands in eastern Anatolia and Cilicia. The Ottoman Empire was crumbling and Armenians were caught in
the crossfire between various Turkish groups, Kurds, foreign powers, and their own political alliances. Those who
survived were dispersed and spread over the world. In many or most countries, they joined small communities of
Armenians who had emigrated much earlier. One of these was that of Cyprus, then under British rule, where an
Armenian presence is recorded from the seventh century A.D. By 1922, some 5,000 refugees had joined the
approximately 500 deghatsi (native) and earlier refugee Armenians.
A number of adjustments were necessary, including a mutual coming-to-terms with the well-established and
generally prosperous deghatsi. Very few of the refugees spoke any Greek; many settled in the Turkish quarter where
housing was affordable, the language understood, and the customs and habits of the neighbors familiar. Of at least
equal importance, the Armenian church in Nicosia was already in that neighborhood. This arrangement proved a
comfortable and prosperous one for many years. When agitation for independence of Cyprus

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began in earnest in the 1950s, many tried to stay apart from the struggle, fearful of being caught in the middle. At
independence, under the new constitution, the community elected to have their nonvoting representative seated in the
Greek communal chambers. But most continued to live and conduct their businesses within the Turkish
neighborhood. At this time, many Cypriots emigrated to the United Kingdom, Greeks and Turks, as well as
Armenians. These were motivated by the hope of greater economic opportunities, the knowledge that British
immigration law was about to change, and, for the Armenians, worry that the peace they had enjoyed the last forty
years was about to be disrupted somehow. Another large number emigrated to Soviet Armenia in 1962.
By 1963, communal troubles erupted into violence and Nicosia was divided by the Green Line. Armenians found
themselves on the wrong side of the division and lost not only enormous resources and properties, including the
church, school and club, but also a way of life. In 1974, with the Turkish invasion (or Peace Keeping Operation), the
old monastery and church properties, as well as homes and businesses in Kyrenia and Famagusta, were also lost.
Through emigration, due to these calamities or in anticipation of them, the most important resource of any
community, people, was lost. The present population of Armenians in Nicosia, Larnaca, and Limassol totals around
2,000. In spite of this, those communities have rebuilt and appear thriving. With the help of the Greek Cypriots and
other groups from abroad, a new church and elementary school have been built in Nicosia. Here also clubs have
relocated and families are buying new homes as they are able. But both the architecture and the street plans of the
new area are vastly different from before, encouraging much more privacy and far less dailyvisibility of neighbors,
teachers, priests. Meanwhile other troubles and upheaval in the Near East have a disheartening effect as they watch
Armenian families leaving the old centers. And, though conflict in Cyprus is limited to the negotiation table and
newspapers, the new transients serve as reminders of their own feelings of insecurity.
Through these years of disruption and emigration, there has been considerable continuity but also a constant
reworking and rearranging of the major cultural symbols alongside adjustments in everyday life. Language, history,
and Church themselves are symbols, their prominence presented as an unalterable fact, currently in danger of being
lost to the next or at least future generations. Language is of special concern in the diaspora. Poetry, such as that of
Sylva Gaboudikian, exhorts the Armenian to never forget their mother tongue (though you may forget your mother . .
.). In fact many of the refugees

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arriving in Cyprus in the 1920s did not speak Armenian and learned it from their children, who learned it at school. A
majority of deghatsi Armenians also spoke Turkish as their first language. Since that time, Armenian has become the
real as well as the metaphorical mother tongue, used at home, school (elementary), church, clubs; this is a source of
pride among Cypriots.
In London, however, it becomes a struggle to maintain multilingual abilities and still harder to produce new ones.
There is no Armenian day school in London though currently there are three centers that offer language instruction
on the weekends. Two are held on Sunday morning. It was explained that Armenians cannot learn about their church
in English, so they must first learn the Armenian language and then receive their religious instruction in Armenian.
Few children are seen at the two London churches, but I have heard few people mention this: language loss,
however, is a constant topic of conversation.
The Armenian church is not thought to be in such immediate danger as the language but, as attendance dwindles,
there is concern here also. Even so, the concern expressed is usually not for the lack of religious feeling or belief but
for nonsupport of the Church and participation in its activities. Older people speak of the Church as having been a
"natural" part of their daily lives and describe greater attention as well to special events such as fasting, feasting,
observance of saint days, and other sacred commemorations.
The difference is not put down to a question of belief or non-belief but rather the place of religion and its relative
importance. There is a spectrum of opinion on this with mutations crossing age, gender, and professional lines. Some
priests are heard urging their flocks to be "soldiers" (generally meant metaphorically) for the nation and giving
lectures and sermons on Armenian historical heroes. Others deplore the decline of spirituality and understanding of
Christian doctrine. Some young people have mentioned that they are put off by the emphasis on nationalism. Others
see this as the Church's saving grace. Some older people are disappointed if there is no sermon, while others claim
this is by far the most dispensable part of the service (and wish it were).
Views of the Church and attitudes toward religion are further colored by those of the host and neighboring cultures,
secular education, and by the various media. Interviews with older Armenian Cypriots show that their educational
experience ranged from a few years of Armenian school to university degrees; French Catholic, American Protestant,
and British schools were attended with the result that students emerged with quite different outlooks, affinities, and
fluency

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in foreign languages. Their attitudes toward religion were also varied and reflected the concerns of their schooling.
This is still true today. While the Armenian schools, especially earlier, stress Apostolic church history, those
educated outside Armenian schools are especially aware of the ideal of the Universalist stance of Christianity
generally and for some the injection of nationalism into sermons and religious classes is confusing and disturbing.
(Though Protestantism is often seen as ethnically American in much the same way.) Others find it simply a specific
way to approach a general truth. Most importantly though, the level of education within and about the Armenian
Apostolic church and religion has not at all kept pace with the raised standard of education of each new generation.
This last has been partially by design until very recently. Religious faith has been kept separate from extensive
religious knowledgethe domain of the clergy.
Meanwhile, as Armenians observe the struggle of other small nations, they find encouragement in the proliferation of
nation states and inspiration in other minority groups' efforts to receive recognition. Beginning with the unfulfilled
promises of the western powers during and after World War I, Armenians in the Near East generally have felt a
growing cynicism toward reliance on the protection of other nations. Today the comfort and relative security
achieved in Cyprus is rapidly disappearing as internal and especially external politics create a general turmoil. This
only lends strength to the notion that a state of one's own is the only place where one can feel safe and, to a degree,
control one's destiny. At the same time, where there is no physical conflict and few real barriers, such as religion, to
acculturation, there is a parallel fear that a more insidious cultural death is taking placeJermag Chart (white
massacre). The conclusion drawn is the same. A land of one's own would prevent such a disaster (and this is the
virtue of Soviet Armenia for many, if not most).
Were it not for one other important factor, the desires above might be restricted to (a) more limited group(s) of
idealists, poets, and others deemed admirable but less than practical by their compatriots. The efforts of the Turkish
government to "educate" the West on the Armenian Question, funding both enormous public relations operations and
academic publishing, has only fueled that idealism and aroused the attention, anger, and support of the many others
who would otherwise not have been interested. The denial by Turkey of Ottoman culpability in the deaths of so many
Armenians has helped turn sorrow into righteous indignation and the search for a response to such claims. The
emotional impact of the Turkish factor invigorates an otherwise fading concern and gives definition to it.
With this last factor as a catalyst in recent years, the pursuit and

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definition of ''historical truth" and related political activism has become an overriding concern in Armenian
communities everywhere, including Cyprus and London. At least two powerful symbols of Christianity have
acquired usage beyond the church doorsthat of the martyr and of the resurrection. In recent years especially, those
who died during the deportations have become modern saints, martyred for their ethnicity and, coincidentally, for
their religious belief. These martyrs are commemorated every April 24 in ceremonies that now eclipse the traditional
religious martyr's day, Vartanants. Significantly, for the Church, it is very possible to commemorate these latter-day
martyrs in a secular way, though every church does have a service.
The rebuilding of the Armenian diaspora and of Soviet Armenia is seen as the resurrection of the people; numerous
sermons are preached on this theme. In turn these concepts have been adopted wholesale by Armenian nationalists,
with powerful results. The shameful interruption of the massacres is turned into a source of pride, physical defeat
into moral victory. Most importantly, there is a "cause" to preach about, believe in, work for. History being more
than just a story requires active participation, the knowledge and dissemination of it, value attached to and pride in its
being a long one, the desire to have a continued one. And thus it encompasses such factors as language, Church,
family, all of which become components of the historical picture. Merit or worth is obtained through long association
with the Armenian people throughout their history. Legitimacy of presentday belief and activity is attributed to the
past. History, as presented, becomes a raison d'tre, a mythical charter for the nation and what is selected as proper
history in turn reflects the concern of the present.
Benedict Anderson in Imagined Communities sees this aspect of nationalism as having developed from the "religious
imaginings" of the past. "This century of the Enlightenment, of rationalist secularism, brought with it its own modern
darkness. With the ebbing of religious belief, the suffering which belief in part composed did not disappear. . . . What
then was required was a secular transformation of fatality into continuity, contingency into meaning" (1983, 19). He
suggests that the potency of nationalism should not be understood in terms of political ideologies but in its affinity
with the psychological needs that religion had previously fulfilled.
In Radical Monotheism and Western Culture H. Richard Niebuhr comes to a similar conclusion but is concerned
more with the exploration of these needs. Where Anderson leaves religion as an "imaginative response" to suffering
and desire for a sense of continuity, Niebuhr gives his attention to the problem of faith as expressed in religion and

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in nationalism. He sees radical monotheism, faith in God or the One beyond all the many, as being in constant
conflict with polytheism and henotheism (in their "modern, nonmythical guises"). The latter is seen as the chief rival,
being "that social faith which makes a finite society, whether cultural or religious, the object of trust as well as of
loyalty and which tends to subvert even officially monotheistic institutions, such as churches" (1943, 11). The
question for Niebuhr is where does one derive one's sense of value or proof of worth? What is the object of one's
faith? He states that: "Nationalism shows its character as a faith wherever national welfare or survival is regarded as
the supreme end of life, whenever right and wrong are made dependent on the sovereign will of the nation, however
detemined, whenever religion and science, education and art are valued by the measure of their contribution to
national existence" (1943, 27).
For many Armenians in Cyprus and in London, faith in nationalism, in being Armenian, has upstaged religious
belief. Indeed for many it is not an issue at all. Moral fulfillment is found in working for Hal Tad (The Armenian
cause) and in other community services. For them and others the Armenian Apostolic church remains important as a
refuge against change and assimilation. Viguen Guroian, an Armenian theologian, describing another part of the
diaspora in The Americanization of Orthodoxy objects to the construction of "an ersatz religiosity which amounted to
a fantastic and futile endeavor to sacramentalize extreme ethnocentrism and secular nationalism" (258). Referring to
the massacres seventy years ago and to the fear of assimilation today, Guroian criticizes the Church's evolution into a
community of survivors "whose primary responsibility is to themselves as a group dedicated to the preservation of its
ethnic identity" (ibid., 262). Guroian interprets this inwardness, or concern with self, as part of a constellation of
secular American values, incompatible with real Orthodoxy.
But this tendency is hardly limited to Armenians, Americans, or even national churches. Paul Tillich has accused
religion generally as often being "simply the appeal to divine sanctions for one or another form of cultural arrogance"
(1969, 12). And, of course, anthropologists and sociologists from Emile Durkheim onward have treated religion
and/or divinity as only society transfigured and symbolically expressed. But Ernest Gellner, writing in Nations and
Nationalism, suggests that at the end of the twentieth century the vehicle of religion is no longer needed to carry on
the ritual confirmation of society. Rather, ". . . a modern, streamlined, on-wheels high culture celebrates itself in song
and dance, which it borrows (stylizing it in the process) from a folk culture which it fondly believes itself to be
perpetuating,

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defending and reaffirming" (1983, 58). This, and the shared high culture itself (that is education/literacy/conscious
knowledge of history and language) is an outgrowth of the industrial world. Where once the folk cultures were taken
for granted, they have begun to fade (or have disappeared) in the face of ever-increasing homogeneity within each
state (whether this is achieved by force or drift/assimilation).
Where does this leave religion and/or a national church? Does the confluence of generalized secular education and
faith in nation point to an inevitable break between Church and nation and beyond, to a church of empty ritual as the
secular worship of society replaces its function? Clifford Geertz suggests that in considering religion one should
separate out its various aspects in order to understand it better. He mentions the social and the functional, two sides
of the same coin. In addition to this there must be the spiritual aspect, which surely is what distinguishes religion
from other cultural phenomena And what is distinctly spiritual is the relationship between humans and the Being we
in the West call "God." This leads directly to the questions of belief in the existence of such a God and to faith,
which as Niebuhr puts it "is reliance on the source of all being for the significance of the self and all that exists"
(1943, 32).
If raw faith is a given in human nature, as Niebuhr and others suggest, its nature, direction and/or manipulation is an
important aspect of any study of religion. Susan Harding, writing about fundamental Baptists in the United States,
suggests that one must ask: "How does the supernatural order become real, known, experienced, absolutely
irrefutable, in order to understand belief in God" (1987, 167). For Armenians in earlier times, the reality of the
supernatural order was not so much learned as imbibed or experienced in the heavily sensuous atmosphere of the
churches and encouraged by the interlocking network of home, community, and Church. Today, though this is still
considered the most appropriate means for Armenians to approach God, many claim it is not working for them. First,
the different, more dispersed neighborhoods in London and even Cyprus prevent the constant contact and
connections between everyday life and religious belief, previously mediated by the Church. Second, secular
education and the experience of living in the late twentieth century have changed the ways of thinking of later
generations of Armenians. Today the Church's portrayal of aboriginal meaning and mystery still speaks to the minds
as well as the hearts of some. But the majority are in a position of "schizophrenia and insincerity," as Rudolf
Bultmann describes the problem of modern believers, where what they are given to believe in their faith and religion
is denied in their daily life.

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Gellner states that: ". . . an industrial high culture is no longer linkedwhatever its historyto a faith and a church. Its
maintenance seems to require the resources of a state coextensive with society, rather than merely those of a church
super-imposed on it. A growth-based economy dependent on cognitive innovation cannot seriously link its cultural
machinery (which it needs unconditionally) to some doctrinal faith which rapidly becomes obsolete, and often
ridiculous" (1983, 141-142). This is, however, only partially true for a stateless nation (speaking here of the
Armenian diaspora) and thus the Armenian Apostolic church finds itself in a double bind. On the one hand its role as
a national institution, imbued with visual, linguistic, and musical traditions, forges deep psychological links with the
past. Looking at their diaspora situation, Armenians in Cyprus and London place great value on the Church in this
continuing, seemingly unchanging aspect. And yet, at the same time the old presentation is not understood and
worse, not even experienced as attendance and participation dwindle with each new generation. Has the doctrinal
faith then become obsolete or even ridiculous because it is not known, is not experienced as an entrance to a spiritual
relationship with God and with the world?
The problem is much more acute in London as language skills and familiarity with the ritual and hymns diminish.
Even so, some still envisage the Armenian Apostolic church as the vehicle for saving the nation, by continuing the
need for learning Armenian (in order to understand the service) and thus preserving the language (nation). Given the
present trend, this could also encourage more Armenians to look at their church as primarily a historical and political
symbol, meanwhile finding other means of knowing the spiritual order. For those who continue to be not only moved
but persuaded by the experience of the Church though, they say with Hans-Georg Gadamer that it is the past that
allows them to understand.
References
Anderson, Benedict. 1983. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Norfolk:
Thetford Press.
Bartsch, Hans Werner. 1953. Kerygma and Myth: A Theological Debate. London: Society for Promoting Christian
Knowledge.
Bultmann, Rudolf. 1953. "New Testament and Mythology: A Theological Debate." In Kerygma and Myth: A
Theological Debate. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

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Gadamer, Hans-Georg. 1976. Philosophical Hermeneutics. Berkeley: University of California Press.


Geertz, Clifford. 1973. The Interpretation of Cultures. New York Basic Books, Inc.
Gellner, Ernest. 1983. Nations and Nationalism. Oxford: Basil Blackwell Ltd.
Guroian, Viguen. s. a. "The Americanization of Orthodoxy: Crisis and Challenge." Greek Theological Review 29 (3).
Harding, Susan. 1987. "Convicted by the Holy Spirit: The Rhetoric of Fundamental Baptist Conversion." American
Ethnologist 14 (1).
Loizos, Peter. 1974. "The Progress of Greek Nationalism in Cyprus." In Choice and Change, edited by J. Davis.
London: Atheone Press.
Murphy, Robert. 1971. The Dialectics of Social Life: Alarms and Excursions in Anthropological Theory. New York:
Columbia University Press.
Niebuhr, H. Richard. 1943. Radical Monotheism and Western Culture. London: Faber and Faber.
O'Grady, Ingrid. 1980. "Etchmiadzin, Ararat, and Haig." Ph.D. diss., Catholic University Washington, D.C.
Sarkissian, K. V. 1969. "The Armenian Church." In Religion in the Middle East: Three Religions in Concord and
Conflict, edited by A. J. Arberry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Suny, Ronald G. 1983. Armenia in the Twentieth Century. Chico, Calif.: Scholars Press.
.1985. "Some Notes on the National Character, Religion, and Way of Life of the Armenians." Paper read at the
conference "The Armenians: The Face of a People," Venice October 18-20, 1985.
Tillich, Paul. 1969. What is Religion? New York: Harper and Row.
Walker, Christopher J. 1980. Armenia: The Survival of a Nation. London: Croom Helm.

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9
Secular and Religious Responses to a Child's Potentially Fatal Illness
William A. Christian Jr.
In the summer of 1985, the eyes of two-year-old Lucia crossed. She was the only child of my neighbors Lourdes and
Eligio, who lived on the island of Tenerife.* After she was given corrective glasses and an operation, she began to
have dizzy spells; she was unsteady on her feet. Finally in February 1986, after a bad fall and vomiting, she was
taken to a hospital; a large tumor was discovered in her brain. She was immediately operated on, and a valve was
installed to relieve the pressure on her brain, pending the more complex removal of the tumor. The doctors were
pessimistic. They told Lucia's family that the chances were 95 percent that the tumor was malignant; that Lucia
might not survive its removal; and that, if she did, her life would probably be short and unpleasant.
Her parents had to decide where the operation should be conducted, and who should be the surgeon. In this crisis,
this already close family became fully mobilized; they acted with great effectiveness. Minor disputes were forgotten,
and one major dispute, in which a pair of in-laws had been out of touch for years, was resolved. All friends and
relatives with access to medical knowledge (and there were many, for this was a middle-class couple) pitched in, and
within
* I have changed names and other nonessential details of this episode to protect the privacy of the persons
involved.

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two days Lourdes and Eligio had information and evaluations of surgeons in their city: Barcelona, Pamplona,
Madrid, Sweden, Canada, and Boston. The couple weighed the factors of cost (foreign operations and private
hospitals would sharply increase expenses as they would not be covered by Social Security), the reputations of
surgeons, and the availability of family help. A hospital and a surgeon in Barcelona, Spain were chosen in part
because Lourdes's sister, a doctor, lived there. For the entire family, who were close to Lucia and her parents, this
was a time of deep despair. Lourdes and Eligio tried to behave, when they were in Lucia's company, as if there were
nothing wrong, even though the child was groggy, and sported a large bandage around her head. One of Lourdes's
sisters set up a bank account for Lucia's expenses; many relatives contributed. And all available siblings, close
friends, and work associates gathered daily at the island hospital while Lucia was there. As if they were at a wake,
they talked about not only completely irrelevant subjects, but also about the diagnoses and the symptoms. They made
the unspeakable not only speakable but also manageable.
The parents and child flew to Barcelona. For ten days Lucia was given preoperative scans and tests. When it came
time for the major operation, one of Lourdes's sisters and one of Eligio's brothers flew in from the Canary Islands.
Finally, three weeks after the tumor had been found, it was removedit was the size of an eggand it was found to be
benign. Lucia recovered and returned to the Canary Islands, where gradually she regained her equilibrium. At the
time of this writing, she is well.
Some of the interventions on Lucia's behalf were not only to provide the parents with information but also to gain
careful treatment for Lucia from doctors and hospitals. 1 Through intermediaries, the head of the local health system,
the head of a local hospital, and the most expert pediatric surgeon were alerted. Once the Barcelona hospital was
chosen, special means were found to contact the head of the hospital, the vice-head of the hospital, the head of
surgery, the head of oncology, the most expert pediatric surgeon, and one other doctor on the staff. (The routes to
these contacts are reflected in figure 1.) All of this kind of intervention was by its very nature known, at the time, to
the inner circle of friends and relatives.
But as Lucia's recovery progressed, news of another kind of intervention began to reach the couple; the news spread
to family, friends, and neighborspeople had tried to influence the outcome of the operation and the illness by
supernatural means. It was only after I heard of some of these petitions that I began systematically to ask all persons
in contact with Lourdes and Eligio whether they had prayed

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Aside from Lourdes' and Eligio's siblings, aunts, and uncles, (which are not
shown in birth order), only persons who intervened in Lucia's case are shown.
Figure 9-1
Lucia's heavenly and human medical helpers and how they
were reached in February 1986 from the Canary Islands.

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for Lucia, and if so, to whom and with what conditions. While I have talked to all of the principal acquaintances and
relatives of the couple, finding about fifty persons who intervened in some way, there are probably other more
peripheral kith and kin who also intervened, especially with prayers, and whose interventions are not reflected in this
essay.
The religious help offered Lucia took many forms. A few interventions were by means of the institutional church.
Lourdes and Eligio, who were not churchgoers, had Lucia baptized quietly in their home before taking her to
Barcelona. A friend of Lourdes's sister ordered a petitionary mass for Lucia in her parish church, and another friend
of the same sister got her cousin, a bishop on vacation, to say a special mass for Lucia.
But otherwise the prayers were private, made directly between people and the divine, without clerical participation.
In the families of the maternal grandparents and one of Lourdes's sisters, and in a household of maternal great-aunts
and great-uncles, in all of which the rosary is recited nightly, Lucia was remembered in the regular prayers.
Similarly, two of Lucia's cousins in a church school prayed for her in the regular time for prayer petitions "to God."
The kind of transaction that most surprised me was the "sacrifrice": a self-deprivation like that suggested by the
Roman Catholic church during Lent. In this case, it seems to be a technique used in Lourdes's family. In order to help
Lucia, persons sacrificed temporarily or permanently pleasures as various as eating bread, eating dessert, eating
anything specially craved, smoking, scratching an itchy arm, and watching "Dallas" on television. This kind of
petitionary sacrifice leaves no markno votive offering or candle, no religious purchase, no publicly worn habit. Thus,
it is externally impossible to detect. It may be far more frequent than one might suppose in Catholic practice. It is
particularly well-suited to agnostics or nonbelievers, as it does not necessarily implicate saints, much less the Church.
Indeed, three of the persons employing it were completely non-practicing and non-professing.
People made promises or prayed to specific saintssome, to the Virgen that is the patron of one of the Canary Islands,
Saint Pascual Bailn, Saint Rita, Fray Leopoldo de Alpandeire, Saint Gema, and Saint Martin de Porres in particular
shrines; others to the Virgen de los Dolores and the Virgen Auxiliadora as embodied in particular pictures in the
home; and others to Saint Patrick and the Souls in Purgatory, without specific images or known shrines. Generally
these were saints to whom the devotee had a prior relationship, una devocin particular.

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The prayers made included promises that if Lucia were cured, the promiser would go with Lucia to a given shrine.
The most extravagant was Eligio's brother's vow to go from the Canary Islands to Granada, Spain, to Fray Leopoldo's
shrine. Other intercessions included taking flowers to a shrine; lighting an oil lamp in the house to a saint until
Lucia's case was resolved; saying a perpetual novena, or promising a mass if Lucia were cured. 2 All of these
contacts with the divine were made in the three weeks between the initial emergency operation and the final removal
of the tumor. At the same time, contacts were being made with nurses, doctors, and hospital administrators.
The religious negotiations fall into two broad categories: (a) petitions that included a devotional effort made at least
in part prior to the outcome; and (b) the classic promises to be completed only if the outcome is favorable. The latter
stance is exemplified by Eligio's mother, who promised to have a mass said at the shrine of Saint Pascual Bailn in
Villarreal (Castellon), which is in her home region, if Lucia were cured. "And if she had not been cured?" I asked.
"Le pongo un petardo!" ("I'd give him a cherry bomb!") The former stance is exemplified by Lourdes's mother, who
has declared that she never makes promises of the nature, "I'll give you this, if you give me that," for she finds them
repugnant. Instead she says her prayers, and makes her sacrifices at least in part in advance. She may continue them
afterward as well. For forty years she and her husband have been saying the rosary nightly as the result of a promise
for a sick child. If Lucia or her own sick child had not been cured, then she would not have felt obligated to continue
the sacrifices or prayers.
Only two persons that I know of received some kind of response before the final operation. A friend of Lourdes's
sister consulted a magnetista, who asked for a photograph of the child, performed a kind of divining operation with a
Bonbrake pendulum, and reported that the child would recover. Lourdes's mother reached the same conviction in
prayer with the Virgen de los Dolores, an internal reassurance that she felt was of divine origin.
The Kinds of People Making Secular and Religious Interventions (See Figure 1)
The core of those participating in some way in the solution of Lucia's illness were the nuclear families of her parents.
Ten of the twelve members of these two families provided some major help: secular, sacred, or both. And when these
families are broken into present households, something was done from each of the nine households,

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and all but one of the five spouses of Lourdes's and Eligio's siblings did something practical to help.
Involvement on the part of Lourdes's and Eligio's aunts and uncles was more spotty. The only religious interventions
were by the three of Lourdes's mother's siblings who live together (they were the ones closest to Lourdes as she was
growing up) and Eligio's mother's brother. Lourdes's father's siblings were more distant to the couple, and perhaps
not quite so devout, nor in a position to be of much practical assistance.
Only two (of the dozens) of Lourdes's and Eligio's First cousins were involved; and two of their many nieces or
nephews. However, several of their friends and neighbors were mobilized, plus nearly a dozen of the friends or
colleagues of their siblings, and a couple of the friends of their parents. So that of all the people I know about who
intervened, about haft were direct relatives or in-laws of the couple, and about half were non-kin. Relatives, friends,
and neighbors who did not intervene, as defined here, did not remain indifferent, however. Many were concerned,
some intensely so. But in order to connect to the human or divine powers that be, one had to know them, or know
someone who knew them. So that Figure 1 portrays merely the central actors in the high drama of Lucia's illness.
Essentially there were two generations of people involved: that of Lourdes and Eligio (ages ranging from 30-45), and
that of Lucia's grandparents (ages ranging from 60-85). The generation of grandparents lived on other, more rural
islands, worked in agriculture, rural commerce, or schoolteaching, and had few contacts in the medical
establishment. So in that generation it came down to those who had personal religious patron saints to whom to turn.
Those without a history of devotion, presuming that they believed in such matters, would have no ''pull" with the
divine. The younger generation was spread out over three islands, Barcelona, and Madrid; they worked in pharmacy,
architecture, medicine, technical school, college teaching, and agronomy; they were more able through acquaintances
from school, work, or politics to make contacts to key medical personnel. So there was a de facto division of labor
between the two generations. While the younger generation did what it felt it could on the religious front, several of
them did not believe enough to make promises or prayers, or only felt right making sacrifices with a marginal
religious content. Therefore most of the divine helpers were consulted by the older generation, and most of the key
medical personnel were reached through the younger one.
The contacts with the saints were always direct, though, if

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pushed, these people would admit that the saints themselves were intermediaries with God. The route from the family
to the key doctors was more complex, involving one or two intermediaries. These intermediaries, generally contacted
by telephone, included: the sister of a colleague, an employer, two cousins of friends, a friend met in a flamenco
dance course, old associates from political movements, and a former fellow teacher.
While not all relatives, who attended church, made promises for Lucia, all but one of the persons, who did make
promises involving saints, were churchgoers. Figure 1 reflects the massive falling-away in church attendance in
Spain over the past fifteen years, attributable in part to confusion as to just what Catholicism is in the wake of
Vatican II, and in part to the dissolution of the Francoist Church-State alliance, which has provided political and
social rewards for church attendance and penalties for nonconformity. Lucia's family is quite representative in that
the older generation, on one side of rural landed origins and on the other of bourgeois military stock, still attends
church, but only two of the twelve siblings of Lourdes and Eligio do. Only four of the twelve have baptized their
children.
Lucia's crisis provided a test for the depth of this process of secularization, for all of these siblings had a heavily
religious education and upbringing; in the 1960s, they were still involved in the give or take of promises and novenas
for the passing of examinations in their highly grade-conscious family. And in fact while some of them might be
termed culturally anticlerical in a mild way, they have a more indifferent than an outright antireligious or atheist
public stance. Lucia's baptism was done in private, "just in case." For Lourdes, "just in case," meant in case the saints
or divine beings did indeed have an effect on life on earth, and would be influenced by Lucia's baptism. The decision
to baptize her was made entirely by her parents, but was very important to her grandparents. Nevertheless it did not
impel Lourdes or Eligio to begin attending church. Lourdes, a sister, and Eligio also made some sacrifices, but as I
have said, these very personal deals were not made to any power or being in particular, although they were certainly
strategies learned in a Catholic upbringing.
At least in the short run, the chances of Lucia's crisis provoking a return to churchly religion for anyone involved, is
low. But the Spain of the 1980s is very different from the highly polarized nation of the 1890-1936 period, in which
some segments of the population were violently, consciously antireligious. On a deep level, as a reminder of
mortality and a human lack of control over what is near and dear, I would say that to Lourdes, Eligio, and some of
their siblings, Lucia's

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near death brought a sense of humility and modesty in religious matters.


The sophistication of this younger generation in professional matters, and their spiritual self-sufficiency, have left
them rather unsophisticated and unprepared in devotional matters. Because I study such things, I have had people
come to me who are unwell (including one anthropologist) and ask which saint will get them better. I am a dubious
authority, but all around them these young people have experts in servants, concierges, and the rural-origin working
class in general. For while church attendance has dropped off, in much of Spain, shrine attendance and the creation
of new shrines has not. Some saints or would-be saints are considered by those in the know to be especially
miraculous, and several of them were turned to on Lucia's behalfFray Leopoldo, Saint Martin de Porres, Saint Rita,
and Saint Gema. A friend of Lourdes, who made her promise to Saint Martin de Porres, was introduced to the
devotion by her mother's cleaning lady, who made a special trip to a rural shrine every couple of weeks, and took her
along once.
Martin de Porres (1579-1639) was only canonized in 1962. The Saint Gema in a Madrid shrine became Lucia's
helper through Lourdes's sister's doorlady, an immigrant to Madrid from Jaen. The devotion to Fray Leopoldo, a
Capuchin alms-gatherer who died in Granada in 1956, has been actively spread through the Canary Islands and
Andalusia by the Capuchin Fathers going door to door. A little chapel to Saint Rita (an Italian saint 1377-1447,
canonized in 1900, known as the Saint of Desperate Causes) was set up around 1980 in a tiny hamlet of one of the
rural Canary Islands by a poor woman devotee, who raised the money going door to door. It was through this woman
that Lourdes's uncle heard of the chapel and came to use it. Similarly, it was together with her servant and friend that
Lourdes's religious sister made her promise to her island's major Marian shrine.
The interclass symbiosis with joint devotional objects as a central metaphor finds its ultimate expression in modern
Europe in a number of socially significant visions by household servants, and in the wealthy families' adoption of
famous visionaries as privileged household servants or protges. In short, it would seem the younger, less
religiously active generation has two kinds of sources of religious knowledge to fall back on: (a) that of their
childhood, still present in their parents and theft memories; and (b) that of a devotionally active service class, alert to
the latest developments in divine power.
On the whole, women were more likely to contact saints, and women were the ones who activated the contacts to
reach the doctors, even if those contacts originated in theft husbands, brothers, or

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male friends. The religious and nurturing specialization of women may mask what is really a household division of
labor. When I asked Lourdes's mother and father what prayers they had made, the mother said she had lit an oil lamp
to the Virgen de los Dolores. The father agreed that she had lit the lamp, but said (and this was new to the mother)
that for his part he considered the lamp to have been directed to Saint Patrick. He not only considered his wife's
action to be a joint one, but he considered the action to have separate, if equal, meanings. The men's relative
inexperience in these matters can be seen in Eligio's brother. When Lucia recovered, he prepared to fulfill his
promise to Fray Leopoldo in Granada. His wife (who made no promise) and his mother-in-law made him wait until
Lucia could conveniently accompany him, since she was the object of his promise and should be presented, cured, to
the saint. He deferred to them in their domain.
Saints can be women as well as men, mothers (especially if one includes the Virgin Mary as a saint) as well as
fathers, but there are few women doctors in Spain in positions of authority. Not only were all of Lucia's doctors and
their superiors men, but so were the final intermediaries through which the family had to go to reach them. Lucia's
family did find ways to contact some of the nurses in the island hospital, though not those directly involved in
Lucia's care; these nurses did help to Find ways around the rules. Nurses decided whether Lucia's parents could
spend the night in her room with her against the hospital rules, and Lucia and her parents were desperate when, in
spite of the director's intervention, some members of the nursing staff still would not permit them to remain. None of
the nurses in Barcelona could be reached through contacts; instead they had to be dealt with by Lourdes and Eligio,
for they met them in the hospital. Some were very helpful, and when Lucia left Barcelona, siblings in the Canary
Islands were asked to send local gifts to two nurses as well as the operating surgeons.
In most hospitals and ambulatory clinics, there is someone to talk to, who thereby accrues a certain public
importance and provides information, though not control, to the patient and family. These persons are usually
auxiliary personnel such as orderlies or nursing assistants. For most of society's powerless, they are as close to the
medical hierarchy as one can get, but they are rarely useful, because of their subaltern position, in arousing the
interest of doctors in a patient. If Lucia came from a less well-connected or virtuosic family, some of the chains of
contacts, instead of reaching doctors, would have ended in nurses and other auxiliary personnel.
There are some ways that saints are similar to doctors. Like doctors they are thought to have the power of life and
death. Saints

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have specialities; many people consider the saints to be arranged in a hierarchy, and each devotee seems to have an
opinion on which saints are most effective. Both saints and doctors inspire a certain amount of awe on first approach.
There are striking differences, however. Saints can be approached directly by anybody, rich or poor, who has taken
the trouble to know them, which is not difficult. Saints have more time to listen to problems than doctors do,
especially the doctors who serve the poor of Spain through the Social Security system and public hospitals. It is
usually easier to love the saints.
It is because of these differences between saints and doctors that poorly connected people, poor people, rural people,
and particularly the women of these categories, more likely try and influence the saints. By and large, among Lucia's
relatives, those people who could get through to the doctors spent their time trying to influence them, but the two
enterprises were by no means exclusive, and those like Lourdes's father who were both religiously inclined and also
well-connected did both.
Broader Implications: The High Number of Interventions and Its Relation to Medical Prestige
Lucia's maternal great-aunt, Asuncion, lay between life and death for months in late 1986, until she died of heart
failure. For Lucia a nationwide medical establishment was quizzed and alerted; however, for Asuncion local doctors
would do. (When she was younger she had herself examined by doctors on two other islands.) For Lucia ten saints
were contacted, not to mention a bishop and a magnetist, in a desperate attempt for a miracle. For Asuncion only four
saints were contacted, and the prayer was, "que sea lo que Dios quiere,""let God's will be done." Part of the
explanation for this difference can be seen in mortality statistics: only about 800 girls age one through four die every
year in Spain; in Asuncion's 75-79 age group about 24,000 women die each year. In the Western world, life at a
young age is more highly valued than life at an old age, and young death is known to be unusual. Or put another way,
death and dying is respected for the old, and challenged as unnatural for the young. The arousal of doctors would
have been infinitely more difficult for Asuncion than for Lucia, as most anyone with a grievously ill elderly parent
knows from bitter experience.
Nonetheless, there are many Lucias in Spain. About 4,000 children from age one through fourteen years die in Spain
annually, and

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about 21,000 persons age fifteen through forty-four; after these ages the death rate rises dramatically. And a
conservative guess is that four or five times as many must survive life threatening illnesses or accidents.
The anguish and energy devoted to saving these lives, even in families not as large as those of Lourdes and Eligio,
adds up to an enormous, continuous force. We can assume that this force will be directed both to human practitioners
and to the saints. It is a force that among other things creates and feeds hierarchies.
Ease of transportation and communication, and frequent medical conferences permit many doctors to compete in a
national prestige market. There are famous doctors. Spanish villagers are as glib with the names of the specialists in
the provincial capital as are American college students with the names of professors. Like Lucia's family, the middle
class uses medical specialists nationwide, and for the wealthy, information and access to experts throughout the
Western world are readily available. It is interesting in Lucia's case how attention is directed to hospital
administrators as well as to the surgeons and their direct superiors. For the recipients of this attention, there is a
geometric progression of reputation, prestige, and power, assuming they are reasonably good at their work. The
interventions in Lucia's case help to explain inductively why in Spain medical reputations are so inflated, and it
provides the kind of building block from which the reputations are made. This power accrues as well to the feeders in
their connection networksthe intermediaries in figure 1 capable of getting their attention. It also accrues to the
institutions to which they are affiliated, which have an interest in letting the reputations of their doctors be known.
Lourdes's and Eligio's intense efforts to gain the interest of doctors and administrators in Lucia's case are responses
to the nature of Spain's Social Security system, in which, since the clients do not pay the doctors, doctors have no
reason to be especially interested in any particular case. If Lourdes and Eligio could simply have found a good doctor
and paid him or her as private patients, their task would have been simpler. The latter is what wealthy persons might
do. It is also what some relatively poor or rural families do, if they are unable to connect with the Social Security
specialists. Rather than trust in the state medical bureaucracy and in its unalerted form, they scrape together the
money to pay a private doctor.
Note that the older generation in figure 1 had little access to this network. As more and more of Spain is socially
mobilized, more and more persons will be able to consider medicine of a national scale, and the reputations of certain
doctors, hospitals, and even folk healers will

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become even more inflated. Symptomatic of medical power is the failure of the social democratic government of
Felipe Gonzalez to enforce even mild reforms, limiting the accumulation of medical positions by the most prominent
doctors, while there are thousands of other doctors unemployed.
The special interest a doctor took in Lucia was a favor, and favors could be asked in return. Within a couple of
months after Lourdes's father contacted a doctor in Madrid, a friend of that doctor, a biologist, happened to come to
the island to see about investing in a shellfish hatchery. For two days Lourdes's father drove him around the island,
scouting out likely sites. The medical alert for Lucia fit into a network of exchanges that eventually will accrue not
just to the doctors' prestige, but also, however indirectly, to their practical benefit.
Implications for Religious Organizations
The medical analogy is useful for pointing up the extent to which the saints and their keepers, like the doctors and
their hospitals, are competing in a national or international prestige hierarchy. As in medicine, the high stakes
sharpen the competition. In Lucia's case, little money or goods went either to the saints or the doctors (to the saints
the odd mass, a gift of maybe 1,000 pesetas or a bottle of oil when the shrine is visited; to the surgeons presents
costing 20,000 pesetas, but no direct medical costs, as the operation was covered by Social Security). Rather the
saints like the doctors earn goodwill and prestige. I did, after all, hear about these promises and devotions once Lucia
was cured. While votive offerings in the form of wax or tin limbs and body parts, photographs, and paintings of
accidents are rather out of style in most parts of Spain, there are vestiges here in the flowers the uncle brought to
Saint Ritaflowers that other visitors to the shrine will see, and know that they were brought in gratitude by a satisfied
devotee. And the general idea of votive offeringsnot only as a token of gratitude, but also as a public testimony of the
saint's power, is maintained by the informal diffusion among a wide circle of friends of the saint's positive response
to prayer.
It is upon such cases, and a multitude of less urgent problems, that the extensive network of shrines in central and
southern Europe (and in most of the world's religions) is based. Shrine offerings help maintain entire communities of
monks and nuns in some places. Most of the shrines in Spain are operated by diocesan clergy. Such is the ease with
the Virgin who is the patron saint of the major island where

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Lourdes's sister lives. Her walk to the shrine with her maid and her maid's daughter will bring prestige and probably
aims to the Virgin, and also to the clergy who maintain Her.
Such is also the case with Saint Martin de Porres and Saint Rita, whose devotees will visit them in churches and
chapels where diocesan clergy say mass. But Martin de Porres was a Dominican, and his image wears the Dominican
habit; Rita was an Augustinian nun, and devotion to her in urban Spain is generally channelled through Augustinian
houses. Their help for Lucia, then, to some extent will rebound to their orders, as with that of Saint Gema, Fray
Leopoldo, and Pascual Bailn, who will be thanked in shrines directly operated by Passionists, Capuchins, and
Franciscan nuns, respectively. About a third of the twenty most important shrines in Spain are operated by religious
communities.
Most of the male religious orders were turned out of their houses in Spain in the nineteenth century, and their
entailed property was sold at auction. Their reentry later in the same century was slow, and one of the ways they
made their mark was through parish revival missions, in which the saints of the order were propagated with
lithographs and confraternities. Proposing the lives of their saints as exemplary was an important psychological stage
in the stimulation of vocations. The propagation of order saints and devotions was particularly critical for religious
communities that were not primarily teaching orders, and who therefore did not have a ready-made source of
vocations.
The history of the industrial propagation of particular saints, critical for the survival of shrines and the growth of the
saint's prestige, goes back to the very beginnings of mass-produced literature. In the first years of the sixteenth
century, religious prints were being sent from Flanders to Spain in the tens of thousands at a time. Some of the early
Spanish printed books were shrine histories, which gave a miraculous pedigree, accounts of miracles, and examples
of shrines specialities.
In the late nineteenth century, however, the competition of saints for veneration was stepped up by the publication of
monthly or bimonthly magazines dedicated to their devotions. A large part of these magazines, which in effect served
and still serve as mad order shrines, is dedicated to the listing of persons grateful to a particular saint for favors and
excerpts from the letters of grateful devotees. Such publications are important as regular reminders to subscribers
over a wide area of a given saint's power, the same kind of reminder that is still provided in some regions by the
regular visit of the shrine representative with a small replica image, or the circulation on a

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monthly basis among a group of families of a small image with an alms box.
They are particularly crucial in spreading the cult of holy persons who are not yet saints, like Fray Leopoldo. Every
two months I receive Fray Leopoldo, boletin mensual, now in its thirtieth year. The latest issue has four pages of
articles and notices of interest to pilgrims, one page of advertisements of books about Fray Leopoldo and other
Capuchin holy people, and eighteen pages of favors by Fray Leopoldo, mostly in southern Spain. Others I have seen
include: El Mensajero del Sagrado Corazon, Guadalupe, El Santo (about San Antonio de Padua), Redencion
(Passionist saints), El Rosario, and a multitude of leaflets for yet-to-be sainted holy people as well as yet unapproved
Marian devotions based on recent apparitions.
Unlike the shrine histories of the past, current devotional literature does not normally contain salutary tales about the
people who neglected to fulfill their promises only to have the ailment or accident reoccur, worse than ever. The old
idea of divine chastisement for non-fulfillment is still present in older devotees, but in most clergy and younger
laypersons it is out of keeping with more modern notions of a loving, merciful God, which is coextensive to the
saintly intermediaries. Fulfillment of promises is rather a moral duty, like those of any friend or patron-client
relationship. If promises are not fulfilled, then for a future crisis one would feel uneasy asking the same saint again.
As of this writing, only some of the promises for Lucia have been completedthe ones to more local shrines. Those to
distant shrines will await a favorable combination of circumstances. Many of the people in figure 1 had other
promises to saints pending in this way. Lourdes's cousin, who made a promise to the Souls in Purgatory, perhaps did
not make her promise to Fray Leopoldo because she already had pending a visit to him for a grandchild that
recovered from meningitis. And people know that if they are genuinely unable to fulfill a vow, any priest can
approve its substitution by another, feasible sacrifice. Like most private doctors in present-day Spain, religious
organizations find aggressive collection procedures (the emphasis on divine punishment) distasteful.
Finally, a word about authentication. It enormously facilitates the cult of a saint (or a version of Mary) if that saint's
images can be displayed in churches, and he/she can be referred to or approved in print as a saint. The power
generated by the thousands of cases like Lucia's among dozens of persons in each case, can help legitimate a holy
figure, first in the dioceses that must support applications for sainthood, and second in the Vatican authentication.
The canonization of Fray Leopoldo is moving forward relatively fast largely because

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of the devotional momentum of his cult.


The existence of international religious orders, which spread word of their holy people across diocesan and
international boundaries, gives them a great advantage in the promotion of saints. Similarly, the long drawn-out
process of approval, through which evidence of broad and deep devotion must be maintained, demands an
organization with an institutional dedication that extends beyond a single generation of enthusiasts, and which can
maintain for decades or even centuries a procurador to plead the saint's case.
Each order in Spain has one or several persons part of whose task is to provide a verifiable outlet for lay devotion to
holy persons up for approval as saints, and many of these procurators are in charge of several holy reputations, some
of which are dormant in terms of public veneration. Massive lay devotion to one of these would-be saints will
inevitably make the procurator pay more attention to that case. In the Fray Leopoldo newsletter, there is in every
other issue a short list of persons giving thanks for favors done by the Blessed Diego Jose de Cadiz, the Capuchin
famous in the eighteenth century for his revival meetings. Whether Diego de Cadiz or Fray Leopoldo becomes a saint
first will depend on the Roman curia and the pope. In their decisions, factors will intervene like the strategic need to
promote certain virtues, the inopportuneness of certain religious stances, and geopolitical considerations. But
popularity also plays a part, and in this respect Fray Leopoldo has already won in the competition for the attention of
the Capuchins and the people of Andalusia. Most of the most popular saints named in the twentieth century, like
Gema Galgania and Thrse de Lisieux built up a substantial devotion before they were named.
By the same token, this is an unspoken competition among the saints of different orders, and between these
generalized, more international saints (Lucia's family prayed to saints that were Italian, Peruvian, Spanish, and Irish)
and the local shrines, one of a kind, under diocesan control, like the different versions of the Virgin Mary that are the
patron saints of six of the Canary Islands.
In the context of this competition, a successful promise entails dissemination of a saint's success, and the shrine
newsletters play on this understanding, and exist because of it. Devotees are enthusiastic promotors, collaborators
with the shrine-keepers for the reknown of their helper. The older shrine histories were more candid than the modern
ones in mentioning the saints and shrines that were tried and failed, as well as the fact that doctors had tried and
failed, before their saint or Marian devotion was tried and proved successful. Now there is no way to hear about a
saint failing (and it is still rare in Spain. for

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doctors to be sued for malpractice). A saint is in a no-lose situation. If a saint proves ineffective, the human petitioner
might decide not to try the same saint on another occasion, but the failure is not mentioned. The religious promises
for Lucia were never brought up until it became clear that she was well.
Implications for State-Formation
Votive devotion predates the modern state in Europe. Its congruence with patron-client relationships has been widely
discussed. The existence of this unseen network of local, regional, national, and transnational allegiances, as with the
all-human networks of contacts leading to doctors, provide tissue or fabric for the growth or composition of social or
political communities, and for the different groupings of social beings among which politics and citizens are
constantly choosing. While the nature of the human-divine relationships seems to vary according to human
hierarchical deportment (in Spain shifting over the past centuries from more formal to more affectionate), among
practicing Catholics and many nonpracticing ones, the formation of ongoing relations with divine figures has been a
constant core of religious activity, and the practice of these relations cannot help but reinforce similar relations in the
social and political arena.
I leave as open questions whether, as may be the case with the generation of Lourdes and Eligio, people with more
access to worldly power (in this case medicine), are now using the saints less; and whether, when power is more
evenly distributed, the need for heavenly helpers or friends decreases. At least in some parts of Spain, since the death
of Francisco Franco and the establishment of parliamentary government, that does not seem to be the case. At any
rate one would first have to evaluate whether in fact since Franco's death more people, or simply different people,
have access to power, since the age-old systems of enchufe and personal contacts are still heavily used.
Implications for the Study of Religion
What is taken as the unit of study affects what one sees as the total picture of religious devotion. If, as in several
works of mine and others, a sacred figure or a shrine is taken as the focus of attention, and the nature of vows is
evaluated from votive offerings or written testimonials, then one gains little idea of the way that a large number of
persons

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are interceding with a number of saints over a single incident or illness. If the unexamined assumption is that for
every need there is a single vow made to a saint, who is already the personal patron of the devotee, or a specialist
saint, generally used for that particular purpose, one loses sight of the competition of saints and their keepers for the
same kind of case. One overestimates the number of cases, and one underestimates the number of persons on whom a
given crisis makes an impact. One also, by extension, underestimates the changing nature of the status of saints in the
system, for many of them, as we have seen, are not consulted or thanked at shrines at all.
Another way I had previously considered the problem, precisely to get around some of these problems, was to center
on a person or a number of persons (but without considering them in the form of working social sets) and asking
what promises the person had made or what shrines the person had attended. This strategy also missed the fact that
for every important crisis there are a multiplicity of vows from different people.
I think that my United States Protestantism, in which one's own salvation is foremost, and really one's own business,
unconsciously led me to assume that the relationship of most Spaniards with the saints would primarily be on their
own behalf. If Lucia's case is at all representative, the interventions of people with the divine in Spain are
preponderantly for the benefit of others.
The advantage of centering on the incident and the entire social network that deals with the incident is that it
provides a more complete picture of religious interventions. And in the process, the relevance of parallel or
congruent secular interventions becomes clear.
This approach also provides a way to get at the composition of the ephemeral informal groups that at any time make
people's lives meaningful. By following interventions in a life threatening crisis, one can see, as the people
themselves see, who friends and significant kin really are. A personal crisis in a social group is like a coup or a
revolution in a wider society, for it exposes significant breaks or fault lines by the subsequent allineations of persons
or classes.
A central focus on a particular holy figure may lead to excessive concentration on the tactics and strategies of the
shrine-keepers and the saint promotors, and the implication that, in essential ways, devotion is being provoked. The
danger, of course, is an eternal one for social scientists, whose disciplines grew up as a way to explain the world as
an alternative to religion. The danger is the reduction of the religious impulse to a dependent variable, in this case as
the product of the manipulation of a priestly class, or the people who really control the society. But there can be no
mistake, living the anguish born of love

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for Lucia, that the irreducible unit, the motor force of the religious and secular interventions came from intense
human feeling. This feeling was not aroused by the competitive marketing practices of shrine-tenders, religious
orders, or doctors. It is the basis of their power, not the product of their power. It seems to me that until basic,
universal feelings such as love, fear, sorrow, and fun can be incorporated into social scientific understanding, then
the risk of reductionism of religion and most of meaningful human experience will always be with us. It is out of the
demands of such feelings that religious regimes and states are created, respond, and are maintained.
Notes
1. Many Canary Island families would have had extensive consultations with foil healers. Lucia was unusual in that
she had neither been baptized nor santiguado, a rite in which a long prayer is recited over the recently born child for
protection against evil spirits that bring physical and mental illness. And in fact a neighbor of Lourdes's sister, a
santiguadora, daily called to inquire about Lucia and was eager to help.
2. More rural or less progressive families would have used religious curative techniques like the direct application to
Lucia's head of scapulars, medals, religious pictures, sacred ribbons, and holy water.

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10
Spirits and the Spirit of Capitalism
Jane Schneider
Introduction
Through a succession of reform movements, of which the Protestant Reformation was but the most thorough, literate
elites of Western Christianity progressively demonized European peasant animism, assimilating beliefs in earth
spirits and spirits of the dead to a concept of ontological evil and then, in the Age of Enlightenment, denying the
existence of these spirits altogether. Western social scientists, themselves a product of this centuries-long process of
disenchantment, gave us two competing accounts of the peasant culture that fell victim to the trend. On the positive
side is a romantic folk model that emphasizes homogeneity, an a-historical traditionalism, the permeation of
everyday life by the sacred, and the subordination of individuals to the community. Negative images stress
superstition and idolatrythe ''idiocy" of rural life.
Both views of generic peasantry, the romantic and the ridiculous, attribute fundamentally different modes of thought
to folk and official religion. In both, peasants are held to dwell on magical solutions to the practical problems of
health and good fortune whereas religious elites engage in theological and philosophical reflection. These
caricatures, as pervasive as they are inaccurate, distort our ability to think clearly about the relationship of reformist
Christianity to the rise of capitalisma big question, given their coincidence in time and space, yet one that is often
reduced to a trivial debate over which came first, religion or economy. Arguing for an alternative

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understanding of animistic religion, this essay asks how its marginalization at the hands of Christian reformers
articulated with the breakthrough to capitalist forces and relations of production.
The understanding of animism that I propose depicts peasants as no less reflective than the learned religious
specialists who tried to reform them. The point is to appreciate what they were reflective about. Ethnographic studies
of small-scale societies provide a clue: belief in earth spirits and spirits of the dead betray a philosophical concern
with the cosmos, its forces for good and evil, and with equitythe reciprocity of give and take in spiritual as well as
actual social relations. I have, quite frankly, used this clue to imagine a past for European peasants, much as the early
evolutionists used ethnographic knowledge of the Iroquois to imagine ancient society. Like Henry Maine (1861),
however, I distrust ideas of a first "stage" or "primordial base-line," and attempt to acknowledge historical
developments"verifiable . . . sequences of cause and effect"where possible (see Stocking 1987, 167-85; Schmitt
1983, 8).
Fortunately, a growing band of anthropologically minded historians has generated a body of case material on the
interactions between learned and popular religion in Europe from the thirteenth through the eighteenth centuries.
Scholars of the Annales school in France such as Jacques Le Goff and Jean-Claude Schmitt are important
contributors, as are participants in the school of microstoria in Italy, for example Carlo Ginzburg and Giovanni Levi.
At university centers in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe are such historians of folklore as Gustav Henningsen and
Gabor Klaniczay. An historical anthropologist, Thomas Hauschild, is rethinking popular religion in West Germany
as are the historicans Peter Burke and John Bossy in England, and Natalie Davis in the United States. These scholars
depart from Keith Thomas whose earlier portrait of "the decline of magic" in Europe neglected to consider
simultaneous emergence of magical beliefs as a stigmatized, hence distorted, category (see H. Geertz 1975, 76; Davis
1974). They have also produced evidence that peasants thought reflectively about cosmic meanings and the ethics of
their relationships with spirits.
It is my thesis that the peasants' world view made them cautious in their exploitation of both natural and human
resources, whereas the salvationist religion of the Christian reformers challenged this caution, creating a favorable
cultural climate for capitalism. My effort to relate the new economy to the suppression of one set of ethics by another
is reminiscent of Max Weber, and was inspired by his approach to comparative religion. In two respects, however, I
define the

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problem more broadly than does his seminal essay on The Protestant Ethic.
First, I take advantage of the recent interpretations of Christian history that see continuities between Protestantism
and two other religious developments: a series of late medieval "heresies," and the Counter-Reformation (for
example Bossy 1970; Burke 1978; Delumeau 1977; Klaits 1985). Like Lutheranism and Calvinism, the heresies and
the counter-reform arose in the corridors of commercial and urban growth that linked the Mediterranean to the Low
Countries and southeastern England. This does not mean that the prophets of reform had, or promoted, economic
"interests"only that their visions took account of the moral and ethical dilemmas arising from social differentiation,
rootlessness, the growth of cities, and the corrosiveness of money. Propelling religious specialists into the
surrounding countryside, the reform movements as a whole exposed Western Europe's rural populations to an almost
unrelenting pulse of transformative energy at the same time that commodity markets and a tempting new materialism
penetrated their villages. The question of which came first, economic or religious change, so often raised in
connection with The Protestant Ethic, is obviated by the centuries-long interaction between urbanism, markets, and
religious reformas Max Weber's treatise on the sociology of religion in fact suggests (1968).
The second departure from The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism is compelled by Mart Bax's (1987)
description of Christianity as a "regime" with competing centers of economic and political power, and by
ethnographic research on local religionfor example the work of William A. Christian Jr. (1972, 1984, 1987), and
Joyce Riegelhaupt (1973, 1984). These sources show that, contrary to Weber, the pulse of reform was neither unidirectional nor everywhere efficacious. On the contrary, some of the most interesting questions in Europe's religious
history concern the syncretic transformations of official doctrine by local belief and practice, the inconsistent
hegemonies of mystical and scholastic Catholicism, and the continued appearance, even within Protestantism, of
renewed projects of disenchantment because older projects had failed. Cognizant of the reverse flows of energy from
"periphery" to "core," and of the contradictions within the ''core," I make my case for genuine culture change relevant
to the rise of capitalism only in relation to circumscribed times and places, and only with the caveat that the change
would forever be resisted and undermined.
To name and characterize the relevant change, I rely on Max

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Weber's concept of disenchantment because it so effectively evokes the demise of earth spirits and ghosts. These
essences are not always incompatible with capitalism. On the contrary, capitalist expansion in the nineteenth and
twentieth centuries has in some instances intensified animistic practice, multiplying the resources available for spirit
cults. I suggest, however, that in the first instancethe initial massive accumulation of capital in private,
entrepreneurial hands, the enclosure movements that excluded multiple users from property, and the legislative
unfettering of the forces and relations of productionspirits were an impediment and had to be suppressed. Although
we are accustomed to thinking that this is because rational legal capitalism is intolerant of magic, a focus on ethics
points to a different reason. Capitalists could never have cultivated their self-confident "spirit of capitalism" had their
ethics kept them shackled to equitable exchanges with nature, with their forebears, and, by extension, with the fellow
members of theft communities and nations.
The Ethics of Animism
Following anthropologists' usage, I think of animism as a set of beliefs and associated rituals according to which the
world is permeated by the ghosts and ancestors of humans and animals, and by human-like spirits that dwell in the
objects and forces of the earth. Considered real, these spiritual essences interact and communicate with each other
and with humans (see Guthrie 1980). Not relegated to a transcendental, "supernatural" order, they participate in the
daily life of kinship groups and face-to-face communities. Weber argued that a social ethic of reciprocity governs
relations within such units, promoting the behavioral characteristics of support in distress, generous hospitality, loans
without interest, fulfillment of obligations, and an "in-group, out-group morality" (1958, 329-30). At stake is the
"very general need'' that "the fortunate is seldom satisfied with the fact of being fortunate (but) needs to know that he
has a right, t to his good fortune. He wants to be convinced that he 'deserves' it, and above all that he deserves it in
comparison with others . . . Good fortune . . . wants to be 'legitimate' (ibid., 271). Bound by this ethic, the members
of small communities anticipate spiritual danger from "overstepping" their legitimate bounds, the more so when they
entertain the existence of a world animated by spirits.
Various anthropologists have addressed the social psychology of over-stepping. Thomas Hauschild reminds us of
Sigmund Freud's dictum that possession of something precious means fearing the envy

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of others. Following Sigmund Freud and Othmar Schoeck, he locates the roots of envy in the childhood rivalry of
siblings or age-mates for the affections and goods of adults, the fundamental narcissism of each developing into an
intense concern with equity as they mature. The result is a universal psychological 'wish' for regulated anarchy that,
unless modified by competing ideas, makes humans both jealous of what they have and expectant of envy in others"
(1982, 81). Tracing suspicion of evil eye in an Indian village, David Pocock discovered it to be most intense among
near equals (that is within, but not across, castes), and in people whose greed, vanity, or stingy feelings prevented
them from enjoying good fortune without anxiety (1973, 25-41).
In his study of the Sidamo of Ethiopia, Jan Brgger relies on the term "hubris" to capture "the suspicion that we
really have received more than our fair share," and cognitively appreciate ''the transactional nature of our
relationships both to each other and to nature" (1986, 16-17). According to T. O. Beidelman, the East African
Kaguru believe that "the public iteration of adversity (is) a way to avert it. Conversely, mentioning good fortune is
often a sure way of losing it" (1986, 97). Evan Zuesse, a scholar of African religions, proposes that empathy leads
humans not only to consider others' suffering, but to fear "their necessarily mysterious power to endure and assert
their own independent existence. . ." Both resentment and bad conscience or "attributed resentment" have spiritual
implications (1979, 227-31).
I would like to suggest that animism encourages an exaggerated sensitivity to the predicament of anyone, human or
spirit, who is pushed aside or marginalized by productive and reproductive activity. This does not mean that believers
would, out of empathy, refrain from getting ahead in the world, even at the expense of others. To the degree that they
worry about equity, however, we see them looking over their shoulders as they seek health and good fortune, honor
and possessions, for themselves and their families. For it is important to conciliate those who are left behind.
Indicative of this realization is the practice of wearing amulets against "evil eye," and the staging of threshold rituals
in which moments of advancement such as the opening of a business or the celebration of a marriage are marked by
expansive distributions to spirits, neighbors and kin.
Regarding spirits, two categoriesthose of the earth and those of the deadseem consistently enmeshed in the animistic
politics of sensitivity to grievance. Significantly, both have a claim to being "prior inhabitants" who perhaps were
pushed aside. My evidence with regard to earth spirits consists in the humble or cautious pose that so many peoples
adopt vis--vis the natural resources of their environment. It is not that they hold back from harnessing these
resources, even on an

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expanding scale. Reflective about what they are doing, however, they may ask the permission of a tree before felling
it, or perform a small ritual of propitiation and respect lest its justly offended spirit come back to haunt them. A.
Irving Hallowell's famous interpretation of Chippewa bear ceremonialism illustrates the same ethic in relation to
animals: bears are objects of worship respect precisely because they are prey. Bear hunters, he records, apologized to
these "other-than-human 'persons'" as they coaxed them out of their dens in the spring to kill them (1960, 35; see also
Mircea Eliade 1964).
Just as rituals of propitiation and the observance of respectful taboos kept the spirits of bears at bay for the
Chippewa, when cultivators of rice offer food to field spirits at the time of sowing, it is to neutralize their displeasure
at having to make room for the crop. Again, believers acknowledge prior habitation. According to the "colonization"
myth of Javanese peasants, the carriers of rice cultivation into Southeast Asia flushed numerous spirits out of the
landscape as they deforested it. Some of these spirits were banished to volcanic craters or the floor of the Indian
Ocean, but others, presumably more tractable, remained to perpetuate a claim. "The picture," suggests Clifford
Geertz, ''is one of an incoming flow of migrants pushing back the harmful spirits . . . all the while adopting some of
the more helpful ones as protectors of themselves and their new settlements." Engaged in a reciprocal exchange with
the latter, peasants offer them the aroma of desired foods on ritual occasions (1960, 16-29).
I am reluctant to cite Sir James George Frazer because he so radically separated the enlightened thought of elites
from the superstitions of the folk. Yet The Golden Bough relates magic to the ethical dilemmas of the "savage" who,
believing himself "exposed," does not hunt prey without "making excuses to it and begging that the animals would
not take it ill" (1963, 600-603). The same goes for "the vermin that infest his crops and his cattle." Estonian peasants,
Frazer tells us, "stand in great awe of the weevil . . . even put (it) under a stone in the field and offer corn to it. They
think that thus it is appeased and does less harm" (ibid., 614). Lynn White, the historian of western technology, once
saw Asian road builders leave cones of earth undisturbed "until the snakes that inhabited them went away of their
own accord" (Spring and Spring 1974, 4). The experience prompted his 1974 essay, The Roots of our Ecological
Crisis, in which he laments the Christian idea that "the Lord gave man control over the beasts of the field" (White
1974).
Contrasting ideas about snakes seem to me especially diagnostic of ethical difference in relation to the earth and its
spirits. The Dinka ethnographer, Francis Mading Deng, notes that among his people,

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snakes "often symbolize clan spirits to be respected and protected as relatives." His grandfather rescued dangerous
snakes from the clumsy feet of grazing cattle, patting them as he released them into the wilderness. When one of
Deng's Christianized brothers killed a puff adder near their mother's house, several sisters fell ill, a misfortune
divined to have resulted from the curse of the murdered snake (1972, 124-25; see als Thoden van Velzen and Van
Wetering 1982, 48-49).
The same contrast separates the treatment of dragons in Asian and European symbolism. Fusing the water-giving
serpent with the life-giving bird, Asians elaborated a wise and beneficent winged, reptilian companion for their
emperors and kings. To Europeans the same creature spelled destruction and evil, the chaos of untamed nature, such
that heroes, saints and conquerors had to slay it. In his ethnography of a southern United States snake handling cult,
Weston La Barre describes a Christianized ritual in which thoroughly demonized and poisonous snakes are fondled
as proof that through faith one can overcome evil. In contrast are the cults in Asia and Africa, catalogued by La
Barre, where serpents are propitiated and allowed to grow.
From La Barre's survey we discover that cattle-keeping peoples frequently offer milkthe product of cowsto snakes
notwithstanding that, by zoologists reckoning, snakes refuse this beverage even when deprived of water (1969, 9496, 186, 193 n.78). In Deng's ethnography, not only did the grandfather protect adders from being crushed by cattle;
he gave them butter to lick (1972, 124-25). A belief system that characterizes snakes as prior inhabitants, victimized
by grazing bovines and deserving of their output, can coexist, and has for centuries, with the incremental expansion
of humans, their crops and livestock. But it stands in the way of ranching and other large-scale enterprises on private
land. Also exemplifying the contrast between humility and arrogance in the exploitation of productive resources is
Aihwa Ong's description of a Malaysian factory built over a former jungle and burial ground. Owners and managers,
confident in theft enterprise, are impatient that women on the assembly line suffer possession by ghosts and tigers
(1987, 201-10).
Empathizing with displaced snakes is not qualitatively different from attributing a potential for resentment to the
dead, particularly those who died before their time. Ritual acts of propitiation, conciliation, and communication
acknowledge their past contributions and assuage theft longing, theft wish to remain engaged. To take but one of
many fitting examples, Cantonese ghosts return in seances at which mediums interpret theft demands. Jack Potter
(1974, 208-10) describes the returning ghost of a girl who believed she died because her parents were late in calling a
doctor. Angry as well because she was

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buried in a grave so shallow that dogs got at her body, she harbored the kind of "understandable grievance against the
living" that villagers greatly feared. According to Potter, her parents burned silver paper for her twice a month and
considered becoming the clients of an especially expensive mediumthese being two ways to deflect the ghost's
designs on her surviving siblings and the family's financial reserves. Such costly and mentally exhausting acts of
ritual contrition cannot help but slow, or episodically deflect, the future-looking projects of the still-alive.
The Elaboration and Suppression of Equity-Consciousness
The above examples of equity-conscious belief and action were drawn from societies as diverse as the Chippewa and
China, illustrating the universality of a norm of distributive justice. But the related capacity to sense suffering and
attribute resentment gains its fullest religious expression in small-scale, classless societies where spirits are
constantly marshalled in support of "fair play." Here, as Jane F. Collier and Michelle Z. Rosaldo emphasized in their
useful (1981) overview, people put forth an enormous effort to achieve not dominance but parity, and are reluctant to
abuse or alienate each other for fear of retaliation or loss of future support. Inequities being a potential source of
violence, it is important to mask them, be generous with goods, avoid the provocation of undue assertion, and
conceal any undue wealth. As Evan Zuesse notes, skillful shamans apply the same logic to spirits, respecting their
prior autonomy and their claims to a share of human productivity in order to win their support (1979, 185).
It is an assumption of this essay that the development of stratified out of classless societies, of states out of
"acephalous" polities, was linked to the transformation of this religious modality so that people would spend less
energy in anxious prophylaxis, having more left over to organize their existence and exploit their environment on a
wider and less equitable scale. In the following paragraphs, I briefly compare two paths of transformation: systems
like ancestor worship that modify animism, together with its focus on equity, through an internal elaboration, and the
"salvationist" religions that, in theory at least, shatter equity-consciousness from without. Christianity falls in the
latter category, but to highlight its radicality, I will first sketch the outlines of internal elaboration.
How people think about the spiritual domain, how they conceptualize its powers and processes, is certainly
influenced by the world

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in which they live, even though modern scholarship refutes the early evolutionist schemes that matched social
structures to pantheons. Events that intensify suffering in particular encourage philosophical speculation on two
cosmic principles, broadly associated with bad and good. The former is a set of ideas about mystical and contagious
pollution for which humans are not to blame, but which they can try to contain through avoidances, precisely
executed purification rituals, or sacrifices of expiation upon defilement. Bordering on a notion of evil that transcends
moral responsibility, these ideas evoke, as David Pocock puts it quoting David Hume, the ontological weight of
"disinterested malice" (1985, 44-46). The converse principle contains ideas about grace, blessing, or "mana"an
equally cosmic flow of force that may, but need not, emanate from a high god (see Durkheim 1965, 309-33; Keesing
1982, 46-49; Parkin 1985). Belief in cosmic forces outside the universe of human morality raises the possibility of
differentiating spirits into some that are primarily protective and caring of the human community and a standard for
its improvement, and others that, if they do not wish it harm, are at least an untrustworthy and capricious source of
chaos (Durkheim 1965, 309-33, 455-61; Horton 1962).
In animistic belief systems, spirits are human-like, which is to say ambivalent with regard to good and bad, or orderly
and disorderly conduct, and this encourages equitable interactions with them. In contrast, the differentiation of
benevolent from malevolent spiritsor spirit principles, as when a single essence encompasses both polescalls equity
into question. Each pole at one remove from a balanced reciprocity with humans, the good spirits selflessly promote
the prosperity and morality of the people they protect to the neglect of their own well-being, whereas the bad ones
are gratuitously unpredictable or mean, hence unworthy of a relationship. Either way, believers are relieved of the
obligation of a continuous give and take, and can feel justified in the development of a more aggressive stance
toward both spirits and each other.
Hence, perhaps, the association of bifurcated spirits with hierarchically organized chiefdoms and kingdoms. Here
guardian spirits in the form of ancestors, mythologized heroes, or such forces of nature as the sun and rain, legitimate
social ranks, even deifying the rulers, and bless endeavors like cattle-keeping and military conquest for the taking of
slaves that have an irreversible impact on "prior inhabitants." Ancestors and heroes, to the extent that they approve of
human activity, control capricious earth spirits and may well uphold the male elders of their protectorates in
manipulations of these spirits that are aimed at maintaining dominance over women and juniors (for exam-

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ple Fortes 1965; Keesing 1982; Van Binsbergen 1976; Zuesse 1979). Women and low status men, meanwhile, seem
especially vulnerable to possession by demanding spirits who, unlike the autonomous essences of shamanistic
practice, can realize themselves only by inhabiting human bodies whose egos they selfishly eclipse (Zuesse 1979,
187-91).
Yet, although the differentiated (and often possessing) spirits of hierarchical chiefdoms and kingdoms seem a step
removed, in various ways, from human-like norms of reciprocity, they remain grounded in this world, having
evolved from death and from nature. As such they frequently intervene with human-like demands. So, for example,
although the Kuranko call their bad spirits Djinn as if they were truly evil, cordoning them off and dealing with them
through avoidance, they also believed that these "spirits of the wild" inhabited theft territory before them and have a
prior claim. Hence, suggests Michael Jackson (1977), the Kuranko not only avoid but simultaneously propitiate the
Djinn, and they do so with the valuable not the trivial products of their land and labor. Typically such spirits up the
ante in times of crisis, soliciting unprecedented offerings from their collective protectorate or inducing individuals
whom they possess to become almost anti-social in fulfillment of their demands. Hard times sharpen feelings of
anxiety over neglected obligations, the more so when they follow on expansion and prosperity, juxtaposing boom
with bust, intensified production with ecological collapse, military victory with defeat. In sacrificing to their Orixa,
the Yoruba can choose between merely smearing a shrine with the blood and entrails of the offered beast and eating
the meat themselves, or burying or burning all of it. Diviners point the way, recommending the more costly rite when
large groups of people are at risk (Idowu 1962).
In other words, spirit bifurcation and the cultural recognition of spirit possession represent a compromise, but not a
clean break, with the ethic of equity as applied to spirits and humans. Imagining spirits or spirit principles that are
morally speaking "better" or "worse" than themselves, actors mitigate the inhibiting reciprocities of "purely"
animistic interactions, but the parameters of equity-consciousness are not necessarily broken, only stretched. Myths
still link spirits to source points in the world, ensuring their fundamentally human-like potentialities, so that it
remains crucial to divine their wishes for remembrance and respect, discover the sources of their displeasure,
anticipate and deflect their understandable if terrifying exactions, at least in moments of distress.
I emphasize these elaborations of animism in order to dramatize

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a contrast with the salvationist religions that charismatic prophets enunciated in the explosively urbanizing Near East
of the first millennium B.C. Having as their central characteristic the project of individual redemption in another or
after-life, these religions charted a departure from, (not merely an internal modification of), earlier spirit beliefs (see
Bellah 1964; Weber 1958, 267-69; 1963, 118-37). Good spirits, synthesized as an omniscient and omnipotent
supernatural deity, or as a pure spirit, were in varying degrees detached from the world, rejecting it as steeped in sin
or completely bereft of meaning. In the monotheistic variants of salvationismJudaism after the prophets (see Taylor
1985), Christianity, and Islambad spirits were assimilated to Satan, a distillation of evil. In practice, these religions
show considerable variation over time and place in their tolerance for human interactions with "prior inhabitants"a
point I explore for Christianity belowbut all propose (in contrast to the competing "dualist" theology of the
Zoroastrians and "monist" religions of Asia) that God has the upper hand over Satan and should, therefore, be the
arbiter of spirit demands (Parking 1985).
According to Weber, the conceptualization of a supernatural deity encouraged the substitution of a "religious" for a
"social" relationship with the spirit domain (1958, 327-30; Parsons 1963). Whereas the relationship hinges on
reciprocal exchanges with human-like entities, the religious one promotes worship of a distant and less knowable
power. The goal of equity gives way to the goal of the religious state of the individual soul, salvation depending not
upon giving things to world-derived, world-seeking spiritsmeat, prestige crops, moneybut upon giving up "things" in
order to spiritualize the self in the name of world rejection. Deprivation becomes a ''gift of righteousness" in the apt
phrase of Raymond Firth (1963), who drew attention to the immaterial characteristic of prayer and good behavior as
compared with the materiality of animistic sacrifice. But, refraining from delicious pleasuresfrom the "naive
enjoyment of the goods of this earth"was not for everyone (as Weber emphasized) and the salvationist religions
readily spawned a spiritual elite of ascetically devoted "virtuosi" (1958, 275, 287).
The distinction between a "social" and a "religious" interaction with the spiritual domain is easily exaggerated, with
the result that the terms become proxies for the misleading opposition of (practical) magic to (reflective) religion.
Rites of propitiation, expiation, abstention and communion in fact coexist in all religions (Horton 1960). More
significant, I think, is Weber's identification of a larger ethical transformation in which the animistic preoccupation
with equity lost

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ground to ideas of a generalized, abstract love for everyone in the widening community of the faith. Such abstract
love was supposed, as in Buddhism, to embrace all living things including the most microscopic insects or, as in
Christianity, to suffuse even one's relationship with one's enemies. "Forgive us our trespasses," says the New
Testament prayer, "as we forgive those who trespass against us." So generalized a moral sentiment obviates dwelling
on the consequences of one's acts or venting moral outrage at local level injustices and encroachments (Parsons 1963,
lv-lvi; Weber 1963, 221-42).
Significantly, salvationist religion emphasizes the needs of whole categories in distress, above all widows and
orphans, but interprets their circumstances as the outgrowth of generalized worldly depravity rather than of
victimization by particular, and responsible, others (Weber, 1958, 329-30). With salvationism, moreover, misfortune
and illness are no longer understood to flow from lapses of social obligation toward specific neighbors, kin, or spirits,
but constitute an aspect of the vast orchestration of sin and divine forgiveness that is, at least in part, beyond
comprehension. In animistic relationships with spirits, restitution follows encroachment and resentment is forever
feared. If it is true that this engenders recurrent second thoughts in the exploitation of natural and human resources,
then the salvationist prophesies, although in tension with worldly affairs, were at least potentially liberating. Not
inclined to attribute resentment, or acknowledge its legitimacy, they do not dwell on the problem of just
compensation for the spirits or humans whom intensified production pushes aside.
Christian Salvationism and Western Christian Reforms
Of all the salvationist religions to emerge in the Old World's urban revolution, Christianity departed most decisively
from the animistic conception of spirits and its corresponding social ethic. In a well-known essay, Henri Hubert and
Marcel Mauss underscored the extent of the departure by showing that, despite its "astounding likeness" to earlier
forms, Christian sacrifice turned these forms on their heads. No longer did the sacrifier or offering consist of goats,
cattle, or humans. In the Christian transformation, it had become the god itself. Divinity sacrificed his own son in
order to save humans from inevitable, original sin (1964, 80-81, 93-94).
Original sin was also a radical concept. According to Abraham Heschel, the Hebrew prophets imagined their God to
be full of pathos.

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Forgiving the contrite, he remained involved in his peoples' community or nation (1975, 8-9). In contrast, the
Christian God forgave all in exchange for the penitent's faith. Original sin, suggests Heschel, implies a "blindly
working guilt" in which humans are begotten, but for which they cannot be held individually accountable. It is not
"something that happens, but . . . something that is and obtains regardless of man's relationships to the gods. The
condition leads to despair that contrition can never bridge the opposition of divinity and humanity" (ibid.). Just as
original sin transcends the moral responsibility of humans, divinity's categorical sacrifice is something they can never
repay.
Underlying the Christian position on sacrifice and sin is the core doctrine of love, which is also diagnostic of
Christianity's break with animism. Transforming the righteous but involved God of the Old Testament into the
categorically forgiving deity of the new one, Christians propagated a message that as God redeems the faithful, so
humans should forgive each other, unconditionally. Indeed, the New Testament holds up as models the meek, the
merciful, the peacemakers who, like Jesus, ask expiation for their persecutors. "You have learned," says the Savior in
the Sermon on the Mount, 'Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.' But what I tell you is this: Do not set yourself against the
man who wrongs you. If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn and offer him your left. If a man wants to sue
you for your shirt, let him have your coat as well . . . You have learned . . . 'Love your neighbor, hate your enemy.'
But what I tell you is this: Love your enemies and pray for your persecutors, only so you can be children of your
heavenly Father, who makes the sun rise on good and bad alike . . ." (Matt. 5, 38-46).
From the beginning, Christians harnessed God's love through the rituals of baptism and the Eucharist that united
participants with each other and all believers in the comforting body of the sacrificed Jesus. As Wayne A. Meeks
explains, the resulting community, or communitas, solidified the small urban bands that, under Pauline leadership,
dedicated themselves to Christian love in the arc of towns and cities of the northeastern Mediterraneanthe expanding
Roman Empire's commercial and military highway. Although drawing heavily from the middle strata of freed slaves,
artisans and tradesmen, many of them geographically mobile, these little congregations were not internally
homogeneous, but "generally reflected a fair cross-section of urban society" (1983, 73). Paul, following Jesus,
encouraged the use of familial terms like brotherly love and children of God to describe congregational life, and
admonished believers to come to the Lord's table full of forgiveness and love for each other, despite their differ-

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ences of status. According to Meeks, Paul preached that the ritual meal could sicken people who violated the "norms
appropriate to the sacred occasion." The violations, he explains, were not "ritual errors, in the narrow sense, but
offenses against the social cohesion of the group caused by tensions between people of higher and lower social and
economic positions" (ibid., 86-87, 103, 159; also I. Cor. 10-16).
For the early centuries of the Western church, Jack Goody's provocative book traces how the papacy pursued and
acted upon Jesus' command in the Sermon on the Mount that the obligations of kinship be subordinated to Christian
love. In contrast to Eastern Orthodoxy, which left this problematic unrealized, authorities of the West challenged the
integrity of kin groups, legislating prohibitions against cousin marriage, divorce, concubinage, adoption and widow
remarriage. Whether or not one accepts Goody's thesis that the goal of this legislation was the interception of
"strategies of heirship" so that ecclesiastical institutions could accumulate donated properties, his reconstruction of
the ascendancy of "brotherly love" over kinship loyalties well explains how Christianity could nurture the formation
of a new, more stratified and developed social order (1983). In a reformulation of Goody's thesis, Katherine Verdery
proposes that as the invasions of Western Europe in the early Middle Ages hastened the creation of the feudal system
out of petty chiefdoms, Christianity gave "would-be warriors . . . a supernaturally sanctioned motive for rejecting
their obligations to kinsmen so as to interact" in a wider and more potent world (1988, 268).
Meeks's and Goody's interpretations of early Christian history suggest to me a fundamental contradiction in doctrine.
The concept of brotherly love, and the voluntary poverty of Jesus, easily reinforce ideologies of social and economic
equality. Both have conferred legitimacy on egalitarian, or equalizing, social movements up to the present day. Since
the Middle Ages, moreover, Christian doctrine has also lent support to the manumission of slaves and the abolition of
slavery. In the eyes of God, all persons are created equal. Yet as a set of beliefs and behaviors, brotherly love and
voluntary poverty constitute powerful solvents of the tit-for-tat ethic of equitythe mutuality of obligation among kin
and neighborswith the opposite consequence of facilitating processes of differentiation within small communities.
While I recognize the potentially egalitarian and abolitionist messages of Christian love and poverty, it is rather their
potential compatibility with local-level class formation that concerns me here. Excusing injustice, radically
abstracting action from history and trivializing its consequences because all is forgiven, mean "ways of handling the
problem of evil that are easier to stand than the traditional ways"

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(Hauschild, personal communication; see also Thoden van Velzen and Van Wetering 1982). These ways, I think,
helped steel the nerve and enhance the legitimacy of proto-capitalists.
Given that the ethic of equity extends to earth spirits in animist belief, its dissolution also encouraged the progressive
and unencumbered exploitation of natureforests, game, water and soilson which capitalism depends. In Lynn White's
words, by opposing pagan animism, Christianity made possible a "mood of indifference to the feelings of natural
objects" (1974, 14-28; see also Van Binsbergen 1976).
To say that Christian doctrine gave an opening to new relationships among humans, and between them and their
environment, is not to conclude that the opening was automatically seized upon and used. It is my argument that a
centuries-long series of reform movements, themselves outgrowths of urban and commercial expansion, promoted
the suppression of equity-consciousness in favor of brotherly love. Marked by syncretisms and apostasy, these
movements were far from lineal, yet cumulatively, and in certain times and places, they produced manifestations of
culture change. In the following sections, I examine a series of case studies that illustrate this tendency, its moments
of compromise as well as its peaks of violence. As a prelude to that discussion, this section concludes with a brief
overview of the major reforms. Targeting first and foremost the wealth and power of the institutional Churchthe
"regime" of Christianity (see Bax 1987)reformers were "egalitarian" in many ways. It is only by uncovering their role
in the attack on animistic beliefs and practices that one appreciates the contribution they madeand then not only as
Protestantsto the rise of capitalism.
Following the Crusades, Europe's center of urban and commercial dynamism shifted from Byzantium to the West,
and with it the conditions that appear, historically, to have generated waves of enthusiasm for religious reform. From
the twelfth century, the regions of greatest urban growth in Northern Italy and the Low Countries, and the corridors
of trade that connected them, spawned numerous prophets and mystics who synthesized the religious and moral
needs of mobile traders, artisans, patricians, and soldiers, troubled by the "gross materialism" of the new age
(Ozment 1980, 94-95). Embracing a "voluntary" poverty, the prophets spread their insights through itinerant
preaching and the creation of new communities, for example the Albigensians or Cathars, the Waldensians, the
Beguines and Beghards, the followers of Saint Francis and later the Franciscan Spirituals (Cohn 1970, 22-23; Left
1967, 33-34; Ozment 1980; Thomas 1971, 663-68).

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Although it is important to acknowledge variation, the reform movements of the twelfth through Fifteenth centuries
had in common a deep distrust of the ecclesiastical hierarchy and religious orders whose virtuosi received or
extorteddepending on the viewpointunconscionable donations of wealth and property in exchange for saving souls.
Against the clerical and monastic elites of medieval Catholicism the new sectslabeled and persecuted as
hereticaladvocated ritual and behavioral avenues through which lay people could apprehend, without mediation, the
poverty, chastity, simplicity and suffering of Jesus and the apostles. Spiritualizing their lives accordingly, the laity
could thus pursue their own salvation, independent of the good offices of such intercessors as the cloistered
Benedictines. In this understanding of salvation, as well as in their largely urban provenience, the various heretical,
reformist movements presaged the Protestant Reformation.
Recent interpretations of Christianity emphasize the continuities between the late medieval and early modern
movements for religious reform, drawing attention to the powerful reformist currents that, in each instance, entered
the established Church as it met its critics. After an initial attempt at the violent suppression of heretical movements,
the thirteenth-century papacy initiated a policy of cooptation through which it absorbed and legitimated certain
heresies as a bulwark against the rest. The compromise yielded vibrant institutions in the form of the mendicant
Dominican and Franciscan preaching orders and the papally dominated Inquisitorial courts. Seen as bastions of
corrupt wealth and power by subsequent "heresies" and Protestant reformers, the mendicant orders were in their own
time carriers of the reformist idealthat lay populations should not have to depend for their salvation on a restricted
elite of monks and clergy, but could seek it on their own (Kieckhefer 1979).
Just as the heresies of the late Middle Ages forced the established Church to incorporate reformist programs, the
Protestant Reformation provoked a regrouping at the Council of Trent (1545-63). Parallel to the mendicant,
preaching orders and to the Inquisition as institutional responses to religious revolt were the Jesuit Order and a vastly
expanded network of parochial churches and schools. Earlier scholars, convinced that "the" Reformation of
Protestants was an isolated revolution, declined to see continuities between the Jesuitical and parochial structures of
Counter-Reformation Catholicism and the institutions that the Protestants were building at the same time. Jean
Delumeau (1977), the Annales school historian, and John Bossy (1970), his English promoter and translator, write
convincingly of the Counter-Reformation as only moderately less reformist than Luther

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and Calvin (see also Burke 1978, 207-44; Klaits 1985). All construed salvation as more difficult than the late
medieval system of merit and indulgences had allowed, while at the same time insisting that lay populations could
lead "religious" lives. All had as their central goal the evangelization of these lay populations not only along an
urbanized trajectory but in the countryside as well, and all funneled human and material resources into parish level
religious instruction as the most effective way to achieve this end (Bossy 1970).
In a recent synthesis of historical writing on early modern religious change, Joseph Klaits proposes that the
Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation were "twin movements" that can be "referred to
collectively, for convenience, as the Reformation" (1985, 59-60). Something of an exaggeration, this formulation
overlooks the Protestant break with God's immanence and church-mediated saving graceCatholic doctrines not too
far removed from ideas of mystical contagion and mana (Taylor 1985). Whereas Counter-Reformation Catholicism
still permitted humans to seek grace through "works," penances, confessions, and saints, Calvinists entertained the
impossible idea that the only meaningful religious act was faith, salvation having been predestined. As Salvatore
Cucchiari has put it (personal communication letter, July 27, 1987), "different understandings about the church's
authority in the enterprise of . . . salvation have led Catholic and Protestant movements and churches into quite
different long-term relationships with folk-religion . . . Protestant soteriology allows less flexibility and is driven to
unrelenting attacks on religious consciousness itself." In the following sections we will see that, among Western
Europe's rural populations, mendicant preachers of the Late Middle Ages had little impact on equity-consciousness,
if anything facilitating its syncretism with official religion. Subsequently, ideologues of both Reformations, but the
Protestant more than the Catholic, attempted a much more thorough disenchantment.
Reformers and Rural Europeans
While Christian doctrine everywhere rejected religious ideas of equity among humans and between them and the
"prior inhabitants" of their communities and land, Western Christianity, with its succession of powerful reformist
movements, institutionalized that rejection. The process, however, was neither simple nor linear. Each wave of
reform or coopted reform pressed for doctrinal purification in its own particular way, the carriers being in varying
degrees and to varying ends

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intolerant of local religion. Moreover, peasants, and the artisans in their midst, were hardly isolated from the urban
and commercial development of the late medieval and early modern periods and must be assumed to have generated
new religious ideas, including salvationist ideas, on their own. Carlo Ginzburg's noteworthy history of a simple
miller in the sixteenth-century artisan network of the Friulian villages near Venice is a fitting reminder that
innovations could emerge from popular culture. The source of a cosmology that likened the creation of the earth to
cheese making, the miller also held ideas in common with Anabaptists and Lutherans. These included "an implicit
denial of Purgatory and thus of the utility of Masses for the dead; condemnation of the use of Latin by priests and
monks; rejection of 'sumptuous churches;' limitations on the cult of saints" (1980, 18-20, 26). Through skillful
detection, Ginzburg shows that the miller, Menocchio, generated his critique of the established Church from village
experience and oral tradition as well as from the books that, being literate, he subversively read and discussed with
his friends.
Using histories of interaction between learned and popular religion which, like Ginzburg's study of Menocchio, build
on contributions from "below," I explore three domains of equity on which the reformers operated: How people
related to the dead, to earth spirits, and to manifestations of resentment and envy among themselves. Regarding the
dead, the research of Jacques El Goof (1984) on the concept of Purgatory in the Late Middle Ages is suggestive.
Understood since Classical times to be an intermediate place of burning and purification between heaven and hell,
this life and the next, the concept was elaborated in the thirteenth century as a cornerstone of the Roman Catholic
system of merit which held that acts of suffrage could be performed by the living on behalf of the dead. Specific acts,
such as giving alms to mendicant preachers, undertaking crusades and pilgrimages, doing charitable "works," saying
prayers and participating in the miracle of the Eucharist, were, according to this system, especially efficacious ways
to hasten expiation for the "deadly sins" of pride, avarice, envy, anger, gluttony, sloth, and lust. In performing them,
living persons helped particular dead kin and friends cleanse themselves of sinful deeds unpunished during their
lifetime.
Most of the heretical sects and all of the Protestants joined Eastern Orthodox Christians in rejecting the doctrine of
Purgatory which, they claimed, only led to the corruption of ecclesiastics who deceived penitents with the false
promise of salvation in order to collect fees (ibid., 168-73, 278-80). So vehement was the Protestant critique that it
has obscured the extent to which the doctrine of Purgatory initially advanced the disenchanting cause of reform. First

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of all, the cooped but reformats mendicants popularized it, theft sermons were replete with didactic examples of
particular souls for whom the suffrages of others had "paid off." Second, the elaboration of Purgatory distanced the
Church from animistic beliefs. As Salomon Reinach wrote in 1900, "Pagans prayed to the dead, Christians prayed for
the dead" (quoted in ibid., 45).
The contrast suggests a differential need for vigilance against the demands of "prior inhabitants" and ghosts.
According to the doctrine of Purgatory, ghosts are prisoners, allowed to escape and return to the living only at the
instigation of God, and then not to agitate for redress but simply to bear witness to the ordeals of expiation. Rather
than interpret theft visitations as quests for food and human company, Christians should heed their descriptions of
purgation and pleas for additional suffrages on their behalf. In other words, the Purgatory concept upset the balance
between the living and the dead in favor of the living, relieving them of the inhibiting thought that their aggrandizing
actions in the world, if not theft very existence, might be resented by their predecessors, the more so those who had
prematurely died (ibid., 269-70, 277; Davis 1974, 327-28).
If the living were anxious that theft aggrandizing projects could, potentially, provoke retribution, then perhaps they
found comfort in the examples with which the propagandists for Purgatory illustrated theft sermons. In reviewing
these, Le Goff notes how many exempla concerned the souls of men in precocious but stigmatized professions and
occupations, including the practice of usury. To medieval Christians, lending money at interest was a sinful activity
that should be left to Jews and others of the unredeemed. Purgatory, however, made it possible for a usurer's wife or
kin to atone for this sin once he died. In Buddhist doctrine, usury is not condemned, but as it is rooted in worldly
affairs, it cannot be articulated with salvation. Western Christian reforms of the Late Middle Ages pointed in a
different direction, the direction that would eventually render profit-making entirely compatible with religious
justification even as it engendered indebtedness and dislocation. Hence Le Goff's remark that "Purgatory, by making
the salvation of the usurer possible, contributed to the birth of capitalism" (1984, 305).
The mendicant orders of the Late Middle Ages could only go so far in promoting the idea of Purgatory. According to
Le Goff, their audiences rejected an "infernalized" image in favor of the benign afterlife of Celtic or Germanic
folklore, thereby taking less seriously the notion that ghosts had been removed from human society (ibid., 110, 289,
314). Consistent with this skeptical outlook are the many surviving syncretisms of the Purgatory concept, for
example among Breton

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peasants. Ellen Badone writes (personal communication) that until recently, people in Brittany believed that the dead,
once released to heaven, interceded for the living who had prayed for them, even shortening their stay in Purgatory
when it came their turn to die (see also Aries 1982, 466; Davis 1977, 94; Rothkrug 1979, 33, 51-52). We have to
remember, too, that until the age of the twin reformations, sermons did not penetrate much beyond the commercial
corridor that was the friars' itinerary. In many respects, the Protestants and the Jesuits of the sixteenth century picked
up where the earlier reformers left off, distancing still further the fate of the dead and pushing the message
aggressively in rural areas.
One thinks immediately of the Calvinist doctrine of predestination that disallowed all communication between the
living and their predecessors, but Jesuit priests also set about building churches in the outskirts of villages to calm
peasants' fear of ghosts. Jean Delumeau, the forceful observer of continuities between Protestantism and the CounterReformation, describes the effort of the latter at the fires of Saint John. Lit each June in public squares to honor the
Christian martyr, the bonfires (from "bone" fires) were locally believed to have great significance for spirits of the
dead. Villagers might place stones around the fire's perimeter for their returning dead to sit and warm themselves, or
believe that the flames warded off the justifiably aggrieved, yet menacing "tombless dead"those whose lives had
been robbed "before their time." At the conclusion of the ceremonies, people took home burning grasses and embers
to protect their respective households until the following year. According to Delumeau, sixteenth-and seventeenthcentury priests, newly emboldened by Jesuit hegemony, stood beside the fires of Saint John with buckets of water,
poised to douse the grasses and coals before they could be removed. Thanks to such examples of reformist energy
during and after the religious wars between Catholics and Protestants, skepticism of ghosts gained ground in Europe,
undermining peoples' responsiveness "to the presumed wishes of past generations" (Thomas 1971, 587-606; see also
Davis 1974, 328-30; 1977, 92-96). (In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, however, ghosts returned as
disembodied spirits, above all in Protestant Europe, giving rise to the new religion of Spiritualism [Aries 1982, 45468].)
The responsiveness of Europeans to earth spirits, a second diagnostic arena for the exploration of interactions
between learned and popular religion, was also undermined. In folklore these spiritsthe fairies, dwarfs, green men
and trolls who now populate children's literature, much as the once virulent smallpox virus has become a childhood
diseaseare occasionally linked to ancient ancestors, buried near

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the rural communities of theft descendants (for example Christiansen 1964, xxxvi-xxxix). More commonly they
appear as ''prior inhabitants" who yielded turf to settle, however unwillingly, in rocks and caves, woods and springs,
as human populations and agricultural activities expanded. Thus deprived of space, theft personalities reveal a
capricious indulgence in mildly vengeful acts: urinating in human's wine, washing in theft beer, stealing milk from
their cows or grain from theft fields, and keeping theft butter from forming in the churn. Ritual offerings of cooked
food or a portion of the harvest, and deferential shows of respect can mitigate such acts, however, even winning fairy
support for certain endeavors. Fairy reprisals in the domain of reproduction are less easy to control in a perfunctory
way, although subject to the same reciprocities. According to animistic belief, the "little people" lost so much ground
as a consequence of human expansion that they cannot perpetuate themselves without assistance. Whether offered or
extorted, assistance means appropriating women's wombs to gestate fairy children and human midwives to deliver
them. Especially widespread is the idea that fairies rob human cradles of healthy offspring, leaving behind weak and
sickly changelings, forever. crying and hungry, in theft place (Thomas 1971, 607-14).
The belief that fairies were "prior inhabitants," and the commitment to appease them in equitable ways, did not strike
medieval European peasants as incompatible with established religion. On the contrary, rural populations welcomed,
indeed passionately sought, as much Christian grace as could be directed theft way through the cult of saints, the
sacraments, and the priestly blessing of candles, herbs, water and salt. Seizing upon such objects, they placed them in
theft households and stalls as protection against the caprices or malefices of disgruntled spirits. According to R. W.
Scribner, peasants expected to be healed by the Eucharist, they had theft priests carry it in processions to ensure
rainfall, even scattered it on theft fields to make them fertile (1984; see also Rothkrug 1979). In addition, they
propitiated Christian saints as if they were "prior inhabitants," hoping that gifts of food and clothes, money and
treasure, would ensure good health and harvests in return. In the words of Gabor Klaniczay, the legends of saints
"were capable of reconciling Christian morality with pagan myth," while the festivals in the saints' honor "offered the
Church the possibility of controlling fertility rites and rites of passage of peasants" (1983, 57).
But if belief in fairies, with its underlying equity-consciousness in relation to nature, was easily syncretized with the
flow of grace that characterized medieval evangelizing, these manifestations of peasant animism clashed with the
reformist movements, especially as im-

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proved means of transportation and communication allowed reformers to scrutinize more carefully the
"enchantment" or "paganization" of Christian forms. Already cognizant of the tension, the mid-thirteenth-century
papacy took control of the beatification and canonization of saints, applying the rigorous criterion that the candidate's
life must resemble the life of Jesus and the apostles. Continued gatherings at his or her tomb, invocations to intercede
in obtaining divine favor, and claims of miraculous cures no longer served to establish sainthood unless this
condition of biography were met. Consistent with the trajectory of reformism in Western Christianity, the hardened
reformations of the sixteenth century advocated additional constraints: Catholics further restricted the legitimation of
saints while Protestants dismantled theft cults altogether. Counter-Reformation Catholicism also purged particular
saints of animistic elementsfor example removing the dragon from the hagiography of Saint George (Burke 1978,
211-17).
In his remarkable "micro" history of a greyhound saint, Jean-Claude Schmitt (1983), a student of Le Goff, focuses on
the late medieval interaction of a Dominican Inquisitor and the peasants of the Dombes region, north of his seat in
Lyons. Committed to the identification and persecution of heretics, the friar became simultaneously interested in
peasant "superstitions"their casting of lots, divination practices, propitiation of "demons," and improper ''demonized"
worship of the true God. The Dombes region provided him with an instructive example that he wove into his
sermons. Here peasant women sought cures for theft children at the tomb of Saint Guinefort, whom they believed to
have been a dog. According to legend, a manor house had once stood on the tomb site, its lord and lady being the
authors of a heinous deed. Leaving theft infant in the care of a trusty greyhound, they had, upon returning, hastily
murdered this noble animal, mistakenly thinking that it had allowed a snake to kill the child. In fact, the dog had
saved the baby by killing the snake. The lord and lady, full of remorse, buried the martyred creature, which became
the focus of a peasant cult; theft manor reverted to a barren and wooded wilderness. It was not a righteous cult,
however, in the eyes of the Dominican Inquisitor, who had the dog's bones dug up and burned, together with the trees
that marked the grave site.
Given that the peasant actors were caught up in a web of equity-conscious relationships with spirits, why was the
snake an aggressor in this legend rather than a "prior inhabitant," worthy of propitiation in its own right? According
to Schmitt, the motif of a noble baby being left alone with an animal has a wide Indo-European distribution. In one
version, at least, recorded in Greece about A.D. 160-180, the child's

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protector is a snake and not a dog. By what combination of influences did the peasants of the Dombes come to
demonize reptiles? Were they pulled in this direction by the medieval bishops who "savagely" destroyed sacred trees
and groves, replacing them with basilicas, and by the many Christian martyrs and saints who faced off with serpents
and dragons? Or did they arrive at the characterization on their own? Whatever the mix of elite demonology and
popular creativity, snakes apparently were, at the time of Schmitt's story, demons to avoid and not to molify (ibid., 2123; 60-61).
Yet the propitiation of earth spirits lived on. According to the record left by the friar, the women who visited the
tomb of Saint Guinefort believed that the sick and hungry children in their tow were changelings. On the advice of a
female diviner from a neighboring town, they offered salt and other things to the fawns of the surrounding forest.
Since the time of Saint Augustine, theologians conflated fawns with incubithe male protgs of devilbut to the
peasants of the Dombes they were fairies, amenable to returning the healthy children they had kidnapped if granted
due respect (ibid., 19-21, 69-82).
The peasant women's belief in fairies, as recorded by the Dominican Inquisitor, is consistent with their mythic
attention to the destruction of the 1ord's manor and its replacement by the tomb and trees. In their view, this
constituted evidence for divine retribution against the lord for having overstepped certain limits. Thanks to Schmitt's
imaginative probing, we learn that in the friar's time, lords were constructing artificial ponds on the natural
depressions of their estates so as to raise fish for an expanding market in Lyons. Dislocated by vanishing fields and
commons, undermined by the spread of malaria and malnutrition, peasants perhaps saw in this commercialization of
property an analogous "over-stepping." In Schmitt's words, their "narrative . . . was formed in a climate (of)
opposition" to baronial power (ibid., 165-66). Both the Guinefort legend and the fish ponds persisted until after the
French Revolution when the latter were drained and the land restored for use by local peasants.
A final arena in which micro-historians have traced the interaction of official and popular religion in Europe is the
arena of imagined spiritual danger among the living. Reformers of the late medieval and early modern period
believed that to participate in the Church's central ritualthe Eucharistic Masswith hatred in one's heart was a sin of
such gravity that in committing it, one polluted the entire congregation. For, as it commemorated the sacrifice of
Jesus, the mass created unity in his love. According to John Bossy, late medieval clerics were distressed that their
parishioners, partaking of the body and blood of Jesus, prayed to God to deliver the souls of the dead from

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sin and give them the gift of charity, but made a distinction between their friends and their enemies. The same
distinction applied to the living, reflected in prayers that sought deliverance from an enemy's machinations. Indeed,
evading such machinations was thought crucial to salvation, so much so that one might even pray for an enemy's
downfall (if rarely for his death). In other words, concludes Bossy, the late medieval mass was as easily a vehicle for
the pursuit of interpersonal hostility as for the consolidation of Christian love and peace, leading to renewed pressure
for reform (1983, 42-49).
Under the two reformations, with their territorial expansion of religious institutions, the pressure began to bear fruit.
In a sensitive study of church visitation records for Protestant Swabia in the 1580s, David Sabean found local pastors
making "massive inroads" into peasant consciousnesss as they imposed the reformed religion on a social field where
rules of equity were still salient (1984). For example they intervened in the custom of bell-ringing, by which the local
sacristan alerted the community that a dying person was about to receive communion at home. Although intended to
encourage overall reflection on the cosmic battle between God and the Devil, and thus on personal salvation,
villagers interpreted this practice as an opportunity for "fair exchange." The better-off should demonstrate their good
will by sending food and drink to the sick bed, while anyone harboring a secret grudge had best visit or accept
mystical responsibility for the crisis. Promoting the competing theory that God, not humans, caused illness, and then
as a punishment for sins or test of faith, several pastors outlawed the ringing of the bell (ibid., 52-59).
In addition, they reported on particular "agitated" parishioners for whom the words of the Lord's prayer, "forgive us
our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us," stuck in the throat. Unable to submerge their feelings of
envy and malice, these people could take the sacrament only at the risk of ritually endangering others. According to
Sabean, pastors and local magistrates pressured such parishioners to repent, considering them to be stubborn,
quarrelsome, and blasphemous when they refused. Significantly, socio-economic change intensified the clash of
ethical systems, Swabia being on the threshold of enclosing common land and adopting new, less equitable forms of
inheritance. Recalcitrant parishioners were frequently involved in litigation related to these developments such that
stigmatizing their resentment was an early example of the now familiar western cultural pattern of blaming the victim
(ibid., 47-52).
In his survey of records from a parish in Essex between 1380 and 1750, Alan Macfarlane found the word "evil" to be
little used except for "people who broke into other people's property and were termed 'evil

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doers'" and for debtors fleeing their debts (1985). Mark Hobart (1985) describes the opposite for Bali where the word
for evil evokes greed. Similarly, among the Kaguru, as possibly in most of the non-Christian world, greed is more
readily placed outside of moral bounds than envy. Kaguru with prosperous gardens, much livestock, free clothes, and
a pattern of neglecting obligations to kin, are often accused of witchcraft, while hoarding food is the ultimate heinous
crime (Beidelman 1986, 140-47). We will see that, in Western Europe's witch-hunt, the accused were feared more for
their envy than for their greed.
By focusing on the ethics of animist belief, I have tried to characterize European peasants as reflectively attentive to
equitable relationships among themselves and with spirits, as well as practically concerned with the goals of
prosperity and health. This being the case, the most fundamental contrast between their world view and that of the
elites who sought to reform them was a contrast of ethics. Of the two sets of ethical concern, the Christian concept of
brotherly love is the more "egalitarian," yet this concept has a malignant other side: it can smooth over and even
delegitimize the sharpened ethical dilemmas that accompany monetization, commercialization, and capitalist
development, leaving the casualties of these processes open to the contempt of those who gain.
The Great Witch-Hunt
Contrary to an earlier view that European witch-hunting was the last gasp of the Dark Ages, the phenomenon is now
widely attributed to religious reform. In 1486, well before the Reformation, two Dominican Inquisitors in Cologne,
Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger, produced an encyclopaedia on peasant witchcraft, the Malleus Maleficarum or
Witch's Hammer, that, with papal sanction, initiated "learned" strategies for detecting, convicting, and executing
witches. The Inquisition, moreover, constituted a critical prosecutorial apparatus, particularly after the Protestant
breakthrough rendered less relevant its enormous investment in routing out heretics (Kieckhefer 1979). Most
important, Protestant as well as Catholic reformers committed themselves to the "extirpation" of witches, the former
at times spreading the panic more forcefully than the latter, and both making use of Europe's emerging absolutist
states as well as the ecclesiastical authorities (Anderson and Zinsser 1988, 164; Klaits 1985; Kors and Peters 1972,
193-212; Larner 1981, 157-74; Midelfort 1972, 36-66; Thomas 1971; 493-501).

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That the early modern witch-hunt of Western Europe, reaching its peak from the mid-sixteenth to the midseventeenth centuries, was a social movement for religious reform is also suggested by its continuities with the Age
of Enlightenment. For, although on the surface embracing world views of opposite dimension, so much so that the
Enlightenment put the last of the witch-hunting demonologists out of business, both of these intellectual currents
were hostile to rural animismits rituals, beliefs, and ethics. Whereas the enlightened philosophers pictured themselves
sending "shafts of light" into the terrain of fairies and ghosts, witch-hunters used fire without metaphor, burning
peasant animists at the stake. Thomas Hauschild, arguing that the two movements were connected by their common
enemy, quotes a Protestant pastor of the witch-hunting era who wrote of the "vast waters of superstition, which,
flooding everything, hardly recognize a difference of the estates. One burns it finally," he pronounced, "with all its
changelings in the fire of the sacred love which Jesus Christ has ignited as the most magnificent witch's stake for all
quarrels, all envy, all strife, malice, and evil on earth" (quoted in 1982, 76).
To me, as to Norman Cohn (1975), the witch-hunt constituted an attempted "final solution" to animism on the part of
religious reformers who, through demonizing this enemy, protected theft own consciences, making it less likely that
what they "extirpated" would come back to haunt them. This is not to say that the demonization process was entirely
of theft own creation. Folkloric studies from the least developed peripheries of Europe show that, at the very least,
peasants had theft own, richly embroidered mythology of evil forces, having already dreamed of or imagined flying
cannibal witches, covens, and "shaman-like" mediation with nasty spirits (see Cohn 1975; Henningsen 1984;
Klaniczay 1984; Larner 1981, 23-24).
Carlo Ginzburg's micro-history, The Night Battles, is in part a brief for peasant contributions to the maligning of
animistic phenomena as accouterments of the Christian devil. Like his account of Menocchio, the miller, The Night
Battles is set in Friuli which, in the latter half of the sixteenth century, was becoming a Venetian bread-basket. Again
Inquisition records supply the evidence, this time documenting the existence of a network of young, mainly male,
curers who over several decades from 1575 to 1648 were brought before the court. Initially these animistic specialists
claimed to be benandanti or "good walkers" who protected the harvests through ritual combat with spirit-witches
encountered outside theft villages after a disembodied, nocturnal flight. Subsequent defendants attributed the names
of fellow villagers, often older women, to these witches. And, finally, toward the end of the sequence, young male
curers called themselves

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witches, too. But was the transformation of the benandanti from curers to witches a change that came from "below?."
According to Ginzburg, it reflected exposure to the Church's teachings and Inquisitorial manipulation. For even
though the Inquisitors of Friuli did not use torture to extort confessions, the menace of torture and the weight of the
trials shaped the peasant response (see Ginzburg 1983).
Nor is the benandanti case among the worst. In several analyses of trial testimony, historians have been able to
demonstrate a shift in language between accusers and accused and, among the accused, between their initial
statements and the confessions they eventually uttered under torture. The transformation was one from a language of
"simple sorcery," or maleficia, to a language of devil worship or apostasy (Kieckhefer 1976; Larner 1981;
Muchembled 1979, 231-32). There is, in addition, substantial evidence for an elite "diabolizing process of popular
idea complexes," beginning with Kramer and Sprenger (Henningsen 1984, 19). Approved by the papacy, their witchhunting manual, the Malleus Maleficarum, was translated from Latin into German and French, the vernaculars of the
absolutist states. Benefitting as did the Bible from the new printing technology, its words were in sixteen editions by
1520, thirty-two by 1660. State-builders and intellectuals such as Jean Bodin, James I, and several Jesuits and
Protestants, were inspired to produce additional demonologies with an eye to secular as well as ecclesiastical courts
(Anderson and Zinsser 1988, 166; Kors and Peters 1972; Thomas 1971, 440-41).
The demonologies began with the premise that the devil was on the move again, recruiting village women as his
allies. In contrast to the earlier medieval period, he could not be managed through "holy water, the sign of the cross,
holy candles, church bells, consecrated herbs, sacred words . . ." or priestly exorcisms (ibid., 493). By the same
token, village relationships with spirits, earlier tolerated as superstition or magic, were now said to reveal a devil
pact. To make their point, the demonologists resurrected Satan as the champion of necromancy and other monstrous
perversions that peasants themselves thought evil, and assimilated to him all manner of spirit, above all the tombless
or unbaptized dead and such "prior inhabitants" as snakes, vermin, toads, insects, lizzards, and the once propitiated
but more recently villified goat.
Formerly an ambivalent figure, the devil further became, in the demologists' rhetoric, a slick and oversexed
extortionist who offered money and lustful copulation in exchange for the performance of antisocial deeds against
others of the human community. His gifts, metamorphizing into grotesque substitutions, included ointments

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and potions that empowered the recipients to fly at night and induce impotence, miscarriages, infant death, livestock
disease, and hailstorms (Cohn 1975, 35; Midelfort 1972, 73-140; Monter 1976; Seligman 1948, 150-64). Where
diviners and curers imagined sharing ritual meals and dances with spirits, or staving off witches in battle,
demonologists saw orgiastic sabbaths in which "all the elements . . . acquired opposite values:" fairies became devils,
food a stinking brew, and dance the foreplay of rape by the devil (see Henningsen 1984, 22; Klaits 1985, 48-86;
Larner 1981, 145-56; Muchembled 1979).
Among those accused of witchcraft were the practitioners of animistic ritualsthe diviners, healers, and "cunning folk"
who, like the instructor of Saint Guinefort's devotees, knew what it took to invoke fairies on behalf of health and
good fortune or, like the benandanti, to keep "witches" at bay. (Anderson and Zinsser 1988, 162-63; Horsley 1979;
Klaits 1985, 94-103; Larner 1981, 94, 142-43). In Sicily, to take one example, the Inquisitors tried women who cured
illnesses and found lost objects by divining offenses of fairies and recommending compensatory offerings. Among
the defendants was a nun who had interpreted a client's illness "as a punishment for having thrown a stone at a snake
who was in reality a 'woman of the company' (Henningsen 1984, 13).
The demonological propaganda for a complete rupture of social relations between humans and spirits was paralleled
sociologically by propaganda for rupturing analogous human ties. Several monographs present evidence that as
itinerant Inquisitors and professional witch-finders pressed rural communities to identify their witches, accusations
flowed toward people who were already reputed to be disgruntledoften because the productive and reproductive
activities of others had marginalized them in some way. It is probably premature to make a general statement and
interesting variations exist. For example, South German accusers targeted both older women of low status and local
powerholders: merchants, inn-keepers, and notables (Midelfort 1972, 187-88). Yet the greedy miser, the person who
would hoard and not share, was less likely to be prosecuted than the marginal older woman. Demographic and
economic upheavals associated with the penetration of villages by commodity markets were implicated in the
tensions that led to accusation while in most of the analyzed cases, accusers were better off than those they accused
(for example Larner 1981; Macfarlane 1970; Muchembled 1979).
Perhaps two-thirds of the victims of accusation were womenespecially spinsters, widows, and other women beyond
their childbearing years. H. C. Erik Midelfort has proposed a connection between this fact and the parallel
development of a marriage pattern and

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inheritance rules intended to retard the fragmentation of (increasingly commoditized) land. The resulting practices of
late marriage, non-marriage, and single-heir inheritance created a stressful environment for women, especially when
considered in relation to the Church's taboo on sex outside of marriage (Midelfort 1972, 183-85). Women were also
the main subjects of the demonological tracts, which characterized them as more "animistic" or superstitious than
men, more open to sexual temptation, "intellectually like children," and inclined to harbor exaggerated sentiments of
envy (Kors and Peters 1972, 120-23). Also conceptualized as weak, women attracted the kind of contempt that masks
fear of a weak person's resentment. In a pornographic rhetoric, the demonologists associated them with "mockery of
the mass, desecration of the host, orgies on a Witches' Sabbath, cannibalism of newborns, drunkenness, gluttony,
lewd dancing, intercourse with every variety of creature in every possible position" (Anderson and Zinsser 1988,
166; see also Klaits 1985, 48-86; Larner 1981, 89-97; Zuesse 1979, 231).
Historians debate whether ordinary but quarrelsome women-with-a-grudge or cunning folk, who were also for the
most part female, were the prototypical victims of witch-hunting. The understanding of animism proposed in this
essay explains how both humans who felt aggrieved and the diviners of spirit grievances might be demonized as
witches by the same intellectual movement (see Muchembled 1979, 252-55). Whoever the prototypical victims, the
witch-hunt was awesome in its violence and a source, I think, of real culture change. Based on the research
conducted so farand much remains to be uncoveredthere was a noteworthy surge of witchcraft trials in the Basque
provinces in 1507, 1512, the 1520s and again in 1610; in southern Germany, eastern France, lowland Switzerland
and the southeastern counties of England after 1560; in Wurzburg, Barnberg, Franche-Comte, Alsace and the
Scottish lowlands in the 1620s; in southeastern England again in 1645, Franche Comte in 1657, and the areas around
Stockholm and Paisley in the late seventeenth century. Northern Italy, Denmark, and the Low Countries were also
loci of witch-hunting, as was New England and, in the early eighteenth century, Hungary and Poland (Anderson and
Zinsser 1988, 167-68; Henningsen 1980, 22; Larner 1981, 18-19).
The witch-hunt was sometimes superficial, such that peasants returned to their old ways once the prosecutory
apparatus was withdrawn. I suggest, however, that in the more urbanized regions, the trials helped break up the
integument of reciprocity associated with peasant animism, publically "extirpating" or burning the carriers of equityconscious beliefs. In so doing they suppressed the peasants'

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respect for the "interconnected sanctity of a living and fragile cosmos" (Salvatore Cucchiari, personal
communication, letter, July 27, 1987) and called into question their fear of spiritual danger from class formation
processes in their own midst. Thus enlarging the opening whereby arrogance replaced reticence, witch-hunting
intensified the contribution of reformist Christianity to capitalism which was, (and not by coincidence), emerging at
about the same time. As Robert Muchembled writes about the Catholic Low Countries, "the war against witchcraft
can be seen as the result of a marked change in religious thinking occurring within the context of an evolving
economy" (1979, 225-26).
Conclusion
In this essay, I have reviewed some recent micro-histories of the interaction of popular and official religion in
Europe, emphasizing for popular religion the ethical problem of equity. My purpose has been to rephrase Max
Weber's question of the relationship of Christianity to capitalism in terms that transcend The Protestant Ethic, taking
into account the centuries-long effort of Christian reformers to "disenchant" the countryside. I have suggested than an
ethical system in which equity is paramount, induces caution in the exploitation of natural resources, and makes it
difficult to conceptualize labor (except the labor of outsiders or slaves) as "free" of all constraints against dislocation.
By contrast, the ethical systems of the salvationist religions allow for circumventing these constraints, the Christian
doctrine of brotherly love constituting an especially liberating example. Among Christians, the western variant, fed
by the succession of reform movements that accompanied urbanism and commercialism, imposed the ethic of love
with special vigor on rural as well as urban populations.
In other words, Western Europe's rural populations were uniquely subjected to the transformative energy of religious
reformers, just as this part of the world experienced a precocious mercantilism, independent of political control (see
Wolf 1984, 267-68). No other of the salvationist religions went so far as to stage a massive witch-hunt against
animistic practice and belief. On the contrary, rural Asia and Africa are replete with examples of the peaceful
coexistence of literate and popular religion traditions, in which their respective ethical systems are not only richly
syncretized, but share in a ritual calendar that acknowledges the value of both (for example Tambiah 1970). In

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some European regions, generally the most peripheral, the exposure to reform only papered over the peasant world
view which, retaining its vitality, continued to shape at least some branches of the official regime. In other regions,
however, a new culture, more compatible with the capitalist exploitation of both nature and labor, did, in fact,
emerge. Having first demonized peasant animism, carriers of the new pattern went on to ridicule it in the eighteenth
century and then, a century later, to paint it in romantic terms. Clues from the ethnography of small scale societies,
and evidence from the new micro-histories of Europe, hold out the possibility of recovering not only quaint magical
practices but their associated ethical concerns, buried as these have been under ever more layers of
misunderstanding. As Gustav Henningsen (1984, 22) suggests, scholars now have a "big fish on the hook way below
in the ocean of history" and can start to pull it up for examination.
As capitalism spread from its heartland in Western Europe to acquire a global presence, it revealed ever more what
Eric R. Wolf considers a defining characteristic: "an extraordinarily destabilizing power in its continuous search for
higher profits and sustained . . . accumulation." Capital, he writes, "forever abandons older sectors of the economy
and relocates in new and more promising industries and areas." In doing so it continuously alters people's "social and
cultural arrangements," not to mention the environment in which they live, subjecting them (and nature) to constant
tremors and at times to major quakes (1987, 147-48). Is it not fascinating that America, the "richest country in the
world," is also the most opposed to disciplining capital, the most ideologically committed to its incredible dynamism
and associated political freedom, and the source of Christianity's most fundamental, which is to say radical,
movements for reform? According to fundamentalist ethics, human responsibility for historical action pales before
faith in the love of Jesusa position that makes it both logically and psychologically possible to justify extremes of
dislocation, up to and including nuclear war, giving them an apocalyptic rather than a moral dimension.
But what about the discipline of capital by socialists? Products of the Age of Enlightenment, and more broadly of a
Christianized western culture (even when atheists or believing Jews), they too have suppressed manifestations of
equity-consciousness, their ideological egalitarianism being ethically different from, as well as reminiscent of, the
leveling implications of animism. One need only think of the many European socialists who mistrusted agricultural
laborers and newly urbanized workers for their "personalistic" or "wildcat" way of expressing indignation or
grievance. Labeling them "immature," socialist intel-

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lectuals also shunned folklorists of the Leftthe Italian de Martino, for exampleperceiving their interest in peasant rites
to be a flirtation with ''the irrational" (Cases 1973, xxxviii-xxxix; Gallini 1977, lxxii-lxxvii). Nor have socialists been
quicker than capitalists to comprehend that environments violated by arrogant investment will return to traumatize
humanity with depredation and disease. No more respectful of nature than capitalists overall, they too participated in
history's deep and suicidal break with the logic of equity in relation to the earth.
Today, of course, "green" movements are spreading in both capitalist and socialist contexts, and are working their
way back to a humbled sense of the place of humans in the cosmos. It is misleading for these movements to idealize
animistic religion, whose ethic of equity has the potential to intensify interpersonal rivalry and hostility, often at a
psychic and organizational cost. Yet one can draw from the animistic world view a key lesson for our time:
ecological and social justice are interconnected human concerns such that the struggle for one need not preclude a
commitment to the other and vice versa.
Acknowledgments
Reprinted by courtesy of Princeton University Press, from Folk Belief and Religious Orthodoxy in Europe, edited by
Ellen Badone 1989.
This essay owes much to several cohorts of graduate students in my European Ethnography and Ethnology course
who pushed me to develop a framework in which to present "Christianity." Eager to introduce them to the
contributions of historians as well as anthropologists, I found myself overwhelmed. The questions and observations
of listeners whom I both confused and provoked helped me to develop what I hope is a more coherent result. Two
students, John Burdick and Elanah Sherman, criticized an earlier draft of the manuscript from the perspective of their
own studies of Christianity, giving me many useful insights to consider.
The following anthropologists offered lenghty evaluations of my central thesis in some cases adding bibliographic
suggestions: Ellen Badone, Fredrik Barth, John Comaroff, James Fernandez, Stewart Guthrie, Thomas Hauschild,
Wilhelmina van Wetering, Peter van der Veer, and Brackette Williams. Unable to follow all of their good advice, I
have tried to come to grips with some of it, and extend my thanks. I am especially grateful to Salvatore Cucchiari,
who wrote his review in

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the form of a five page letter that deserves publication in its own right, and to Carlo Ginzburg who, notwithstanding
his historian's skepticism of the scope of my undertaking, kindly drew my attention to some mistakes of fact and
problems of interpretation. I am, of course, responsible for remaining mistakes and problems. Vincent Crapanzano,
knowing of my project, introduced me to Gustav Henningsen's article on the witch-hunt in Sicily, a source I might
otherwise have missed. And as always, Peter Schneider mercilessly questioned my assumptions and mercifully
improved my prose.
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11
The Virgin Mary and Marina Warner's Feminism
Peter Loizos
This paper neither reports on a body of my own field material, nor is it the fruit of extensive reading on Marian cults.
The literature on these grows faster than any single reader could absorb. It is more in the nature of an extended
review of Marina Warner's Alone of All Her Sex: the Myth and Cult of the Virgin Mary (1976), with brief excursions
to other authors who have taken similar positions regarding aspects of Catholicism and women's consciousness.
Perhaps I should say at the start that, in my view, Warner's book is immensely valuable, and that much of this paper
is an attempt to raise objections to one element in her conclusions. Even if my objections are sustained, Warner's
book will be of very great value to those who wish to understand Marianism. This must include numerous Catholics
who come to question the timeless, eternal, and ideal image of Mary that the Roman Catholic church might be
thought to underwrite.
The first section will discuss the way Warner's book is organized, it will outline the issues to be discussed. I shall
then sketch in a series of numbered objections to Warner's essentially first-generation" feminist thesis. I shah suggest
that there are other interpretations of the Virgin's importance, which are compatible with modified "third-generation"
feminism. My argument is not that Marianism today provides positive impetus to an improvement of women's
position, but that the negative effects argued by Marina Warner and others have been overdrawn and remain
unproven.
Alone of All Her Sex is organized in five parts, each of several

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chapters. Part 1, called "Virgin" starts with Mary's "biography" in the Gospels and in the Apocrypha, reviews the preChristian ideas of "virgin birth"to which there were dozens of references in Classical mythology as well as in that of
the Middle East. Marina Warner takes a view on the meaning of the virgin birth doctrine that anthropologists would
have no trouble respecting (ibid., 43). ''The virgin birth of Jesus, like his Resurrection, is the luminous sign of his
divinity precisely because it suspends the natural order. To argue, as Christians have done since Origen, that is
possible in nature is to miss the religious, mythological point." The other main sections of the book are "Queen,"
"Bride," "Mother," and "Intercessor," and in each there are several chapters exploring varied aspects of the themes
and roles implied.
The book ranges widely, drawing on material from many sources, places, and periods; it would be difficult to give a
good account of its scope. It has a chapter dealing thematically with the idea of Mary as the "second Eve" who
ransomed the sin of the first Eve, and brought joy to the world. There is a chapter on how virginity was thought by
the early fathers in the first three centuries A.D. to have power over sin and evil, and how the martyrdom of virgins
was held to be especially holy and powerful. There is a chapter on the Assumption and its meanings. A chapter
disentangles early troubadour adoration of ladies of high rank from increased devotions to Mary. Later, when the
Catholic church had crushed the Cathars through the Albigensian crusade "the Virgin Mary became an establishment
prop, acceptable because, as we have seen in the symbol of her queenship, she could be used to affirm the legitimacy
of the status quo" (ibid., 147). There is a chapter on Mary as "Madonna," showing how in medieval lyric and legend,
men believed that they fell in love with her, and that their love was requited, in a way more satisfying and consuming
than with mortal women.
There is a chapter on the milk of the Virgin, and its importance in contributing to the image of the perfect mother,
whose "natural" milk has special and also miraculous powers. It discusses how and why the image of the nursing,
lactating Mary became unpopular in Catholic circles, and disappeared. There is a chapter with the title "Let it Be" in
which Mary's acceptance of and consent to the Incarnation both "exemplifies the most sublime fusion of man's free
will with the divine plan" but simultaneously suggests humility, acceptance, resignationqualities to be associated
with femininity (cf. Davis 1984, 29). "The example Mary sets to Catholic women is one of self-abnegation." Other
chapters include the legend of the penitent whore, the theme of the Immaculate Conception, visions of Mary, and
such shrines as Knock, Ireland, and Lourdes, France.

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This book of rich text ends with an "Epilogue," rather in the historians' manner: long on fact and short on theory.
Warner now gives us her "findings," which have been hinted at from time to time: the core of the cult of Mary is ''the
Platonic yearning towards the ideal." But whose yearning we are not told and the silence on that question suggests an
important problem in the argument. Mary is theologically and doctrinally defined "as wholly unique and yet set up as
the model of Christian virtue." She is preeminent: she is above the saints, and she is presented in Catholicism as a
"fixed immutable absolute" with "a disregard for historical accretions."
Warner has put some history into Mariology, and thus removes that "immutability." But Catholic historians and
theologians have themselves done that more than once. The great virtue of Warner's work is that it is a disenchanted
history. She quotes Roland Barthes approvingly, "Myth . . . transforms history into nature (Barthes 1972, 129)." She
continues, "this is the crux of the matter: for the moral concepts the Virgin expresses are presented as quite natural."
Mary is presented as "an icon of feminine perfection, built on the equivalence between goodness, motherhood,
purity, gentleness and submission." But if that is how she is "presented" by the Church, how is she actually received
and perceived by the laity?
The Council of Trent (1563), confirming patristic tradition, maintained that "virginity and celibacy are better and
more blessed than the bond of matrimony," but Mary was both mother and virgin. And now we get to the essential
issue: "The twin ideal the Virgin represents is of course unobtainable. Therefore, the effect the myth has on the mind
of a Catholic girl cannot but be disturbing . . . by setting up an impossible ideal the cult of the Virgin does drive the
adherent into a position of acknowledged and hopeless yearning and inferiority . . . (Warner 1976, 337). "The Virgin
Mary is not the innate archetype of female nature, the dream incarnate; She is the instrument of a dynamic argument
from the Catholic Church about the structure of society, presented as a God-given code . . . " (ibid., 538). But in a
paragraph or two later, it is conceded in an aside that Mary also had the status of "a goddess" (a flawed goddess is
better than no goddess at all) although one who has been too "ideally" feminized.
Now before coming to my criticisms of these conclusions, let me concede what cannot be sensibly contested: the
early fathers following Paul (1 Tim. 2:11) certainly had a low view of unredeemed women. This material is familiar
and, thanks most recently to Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels, 1 needs only the briefest rehearsal: God was spoken
of as God the Father. Women were excluded from the priesthood, were not to speak in church, and their sexuality
was the grea-

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test obstacle to a male Christian's devotion to God, to matters spiritual, to the after-life. Sexuality, along with
biological reproduction, the messiness of birth, the uncleanness of menstruation, all came to symbolize the life of the
body, this life, carnal, corporeal life, and a devotion to that life was spiritual death.
The Catholic church evolved with a celibate male priesthood, which was nevertheless committed in modern times to
the underwriting of an idea of the Christian family. In spite of the patristic period, and the decision of the Council of
Trent just quoted, celibacy, monasticism, and the priesthood, remain minority choices, most Christians taking
"second best." Even Saint Jeromeno matter how strongly he promoted celibacy and virginityreplied to a critic that as
continence was such a heroic path, possible only for a few, there was no danger of Christians exhausting the human
race. Many of Jerome's correspondents seem to have been aristocratic women. One wonders if the patristic message
on celibacy was not aimed chiefly upmarket?
My disagreement, or should I say disquiet, is with Marina Warner's belief in the disturbing effects of the example of
the Virgin Mary on modern Catholic women, on the part of the argument that suggests that the cult of the Virgin
double binds ordinary women today into themselves as hopelessly compromised, spiritually, because they do not
choose the celibate path. I cannot deny that the Church may teach young women in catechism classes that their
bodies are impure, but I wonder if the effects are quite as direct as is suggested. Do they really grow up to believe
such views? There is no evidence in her book that they do, beyond her personal experience.
Objection 1. What Sort of "Model" Does Mary Offer?
It is reasonable to ask if Mary has had the disturbing effects on Catholic women that Marina Warner suggests. There
seem to be several difficulties. It is clear that Mary is held up to women as a "model," but it is not clear what this
implies, or how such a model is apprehended. Mary was extraordinary, without sin. Mortals are ordinary, born in sin,
inherently imperfect. The instruction to model oneself upon Mary is obviously an instruction to do the best with one's
imperfection, but it is not an instruction to do the impossible. Mary was able to conceive a god-child, while
remaining a virgin in terms of her human husband. The simultaneity of her virginity and motherhood were strictly
miraculous because she had been chosen for divine purposes, not for human purposes, and it is the very impossibility
of

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that simultaneity which marks off, in symbolic terms, the sphere of miraculous, divine intervention, as Edmund
Leach has made clear (Leach 1969).
It does not seem clear why the Virgin as a model sets up any cognitive problem for a Catholic woman, who is
defined as an ordinary human, not selected by God for a miracle. The instruction to model oneself on the Virgin
carries the implicit qualification "as far as is humanly possible," like the ceteris paribus assumed in all economic
modeling and the "determination in the last instance" assumed by materialists. It does not need to be said on each
occasion because everyone understands that the thought is assumed.
So what does the example of the Virgin mean? It seems to suggest that a woman should follow her example
sequentially. That is, as a young unmarried woman to remain sexually pure and virginal, and then at marriage, to
become a devoted mother, whose sexuality is legitimated in Christian marriage, and thereby transformed from
something potentially "impure" into something domesticated and sacramentally acceptable. Feminists, wishing to
assert their sexual independence, have several quarrels with the Church. They can take issue with premarital
virginity; with the choices between nun, virgin spinster, or married wife-and-mother, which are so strongly
emphasized. But that is part of the problem of general Catholic teaching regarding the conduct of women, and does
not seem to be particularly the result of the prominence of Mary. Of course, Mary is the woman most strongly
featured by the Church, but as I shall argue below, that may not be quite for the reasons Marina Warner suggests.
Objection 2. Mary and Jesus
If we allowedfor a momentthat the cult of Mary has the effects alleged, would that not again raise the question of
how Catholic men see Jesus? Of course, theologically, Jesus is a man-God, and Mary is not a woman-goddessshe is
venerated, hyper-venerated, above the saints, but not worshipped. Like many others, I do not find the theological
distinction very persuasive in matters of practical religion, that is, in popular Catholicism, and in assessing the effects
of Marianism on the laity. So let me return to the question: does the image, the symbol of Jesus disturb Christian men
because they are not inherently as he was? Note here some sociological features of Christ: Christ, like Mary,
submitted himself to God's will, and was crucified; his obedience and submission were extreme. Christ has often
been represented as suffer-

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ing, resigned, full of humility; Socialist and Marxist thinkers have been inclined to see in these images of Christ a
passivity that leads the faithful to political quiescence. But we might point to many other representations of Christ as
militant and combative (though these are perhaps as infrequent as those of Mary militant): the Christ who made the
barren fig tree to wither, who cast the money-changers out of the temple, who went in for verbal duelling with
Saducees and Pharisees, who could be invoked to support the millennial movements described by Norman Cohn, or
inspire the priests militant today in South America and South Africa.
I would suppose that most representations of Christ in Catholicism stress calm, serene, patient, forgiving qualities.
What sort of effects upon men could be adduced from these representations? If Mary is "an ikon of feminine
perfection" as she claims, then is Jesus an ikon of masculine perfection, or is his gender neuter? An ikon of personperfection? If, as she claims, Jesus' virtues are feminine, should not men in a male-dominated world feel dissonance
when trying to emulate him if that is what they wish to do? William A. Christian Jr. (1972, 158) contrasted how
church teaching affects men and women. Having anticipated Warner's view on the feminine sense of impurity which
theology encourages, he argues that for men it is different:
"The postponement of redemption is everything but a sacramental sense until the deathbed characterises
many of the men. The men see the religion as degrading, and being taught and expected to dominate and
lead, they find it difficult to reconcile with their dominance the submission, the confessions of inadequacy
and the invasion of privacy demanded by the doctrine of the Church. Also involved, generally, is a sensible
recognition on their part of the impossibility of the ethical demands made upon them."
Men experience profanity, but not impurity, he insists. (But one wonders if young males cannot think of their
sexuality as "impure" in view of strictures against masturbation, lust, homosexuality, and recourse to harlots?) But it
seems to me that the burden of the quotation is to put men and women on a rather similar footing, in terms of the
images and ethical demands Catholicism makes upon them. William A. Christian Jr. is here arguing that men take
their religion more lightly than women, but his book is full of data suggesting that many men in the Nansa valley
(near Santander, Spain) take their religion very seriously indeed. It is only "some" men who see the religion as

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"degrading," surely? It seems then to follow that official Catholicism makes it fairly hard to be a good Christian for
either sex. It stresses different issues for each sex, in some of its elaborations, but also, some common ones. Men, as
well as women, must be obedient to God and to the clergy. The prohibition on divorce binds both men to women and
women to men. The restrictions on so-called mechanical and unnatural methods of contraception lays the burdens of
economic provision for children upon men.
Let me put the argumentfor a momentin an extreme form. The early history of the Catholic church saw many
martyrs. In modern Christianity, does it weigh upon ordinary male Catholics that they do not stand to be martyred?
So why should the virginity and purity of Mary have such a depressing effect upon Catholic women? Why should
they suddenly become very literalist, and see in Mary a painfully unattainable ideal, if men do not see such an ideal
in Jesus?
Here, it seems, to me, Marina Warner has forgotten her own arguments, that the virgin birth of Jesus and his
resurrection "miraculously" suspended the natural order. Since that is a most sensible way of approaching these
matters, why should a contemplation of Christ and Mary lead to such discomfort? It is not, surely, because Catholics
see ikons of platonic ideals, which they yearn to emulate yet cannot? It is more because the ethical precepts of
Christianity set up tensions between self and others, and between family and non-family, and these are in practice
very hard to live up to. Christ and Mary symbolize those teachings, but even if they were absent, and Christians had
no "human" persons empathically to focus on and to work toward, they would still face the dilemmas and the
burdens, since these are inherent in the ethical teachings.
Objection 3. Gender Relations in Southern Europe
For Warner's argument that the position of women in comparison with men is specifically disadvantaged as a result
of Church doctrines she needs to suggest that the situation is notably worse for women than for men in Catholic than
non-Catholic countries. She writes, "Countries (for example Italy, Spain) where the mother is the center of the
family, the basic social unit, are rarely countries where women are in a position to command their own destinies"
(Warner 1976, 368).
First, to make a point of a Marxist nature: in these countries large numbers of men are scarcely in a position to
command their own destinies, either. Second, a libertarian point: the Church strongly

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promotes two clear-cut choicescelibacy, or marriagefor both sexes. It condemns "living in sin" and homosexuality,
for both sexes. Men are told that masturbation is sinful, and if they cannot manage celibacy, then marriage is their
destiny. Men may not divorce; men should father children, and support them. This is a powerful and coercive policy,
and it binds men as strongly as it binds women. Third, a sociological point, to be made at greater length: it is not
clear to what extent gender relations in southern Europe are characterized by marked female subordination.
In general the strongest patterns of subordination are found in local communities with one or more of these features:
strong kinship traced between men, with negligible property transmitted through women; women at marriage live
with the husband's family in large joint families composed of cores of related males; pastoralism (Schneider 1971;
Denich 1974; Rogers 1980; Silverman 1968).
These three characteristics, either singly or together, are not very common in the ethnography of Spain, Italy, or
Portugal, although they can be found in the Balkans and northern Greece, particularly at high altitudes, and in periods
when the state was rather weaker than it is today. More commonly in southern Europe, we find kinship traced
through both sexes, marital residence in nuclear family households separated from both bride's and groom's original
families, and a clear tendency for women to bring property to marriage or to inherit it, and "dual headship," that is,
husband and wife are each "heads" of the household (Pina-Cabral 1986).
But after taking these "hard" material, structural factors into account, there is still the question of how specific
patterns of gender relations are to be assessed. Are we to see the absence of women from formal political life, and
from formal roles such as priesthood as an important exclusion, a denial of worth, and an actual subordination? Or
should we ask what local women themselves hold most important? It appears that they hold ability to produce
children through gestation and birth to be rather significant achievements; and that they see the nurturing, sustenance,
and training of these children as a task that carries a strong implicit value. If we explore local ideas about the sexual
division of labor, we may find them based on ideas of exchange, balance, and symmetry, with each sex having an
appropriate sphere of operations, with its own responsibilities, rights, and performance criteria. It sometimes turns
out that the rather important task of the representation of the household and its safety in the religious sphere "Tails"
to women, as if men were responsible for this-worldly power-relations, but women had the duty to deal with otherworldly power, particularly in matters of prayers to saints (Christian 1972).

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If one takes the view that men control official definitions of what is valued, and view domestic reproduction as a
lesser achievement compared to male duties of provision through agriculture, cash earning in the market and the
protection of the household by force or patronage, then perhaps women are told by men that what they do is less
important. Perhaps, in moments of dispute, they are so told. But need they and do they believe it?
Much of the material that allows us to build up a picture of how each sex evaluates the tasks performed by husbands
and wives seems to be on the level of proverbs, jokes, and the small change of social life. It lacks the force of the
pronunciamentos of church and state. It is good ground for contest, disagreement, and, one suspects, for quiet,
implicit but coherent scepticism. In other words, I see no good ethnographic evidence that suggests that women
accept male "official definitions" of value in social life; and a phrase said to me a number of times by women:
"leyoun i anthropi," "that's what the men say" but uttered with a smile, and left hanging in the air, as if to imply that
because the listener is a man the next sentence is better left unsaid: subversive silences.
To close off this objection, then: supposing there are female discourses about what is valued in some Catholic
communities, which see in household, children, the sustaining of family members and the religious representation of
the household, a crucial task, how would this affect Marina Warner's argument? It would surely make it rather less
likely that the Virgin Mary presents women with a disturbing model; and less likely, also, that they see their lives as
greatly inferior to those of their husbands. The piazza, wage earning, and running for local offices do not necessarily
present themselves as more attractive or important than mothering, householding, provisioning, and monitoring local
reputations (Reiter 1975). Let me quote briefly from Carmelo Lison-Tolosana (1966, 168):
"The social and legal authority of the father of the family is more than counter-balanced by the feminine
influence, that is of the wife-mother, in all the doings of the family. The woman who in the early part of
her life was the least significant element in the house, becomes on her marriage not only the minister of
finance, but the prime minister as well."
Much later, he writes:
"to the effective feminine domination, every day and in almost every sphere, (i.e. the men) respond with
the belief that in prin-

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ciple, theoretically and externally, it is they themselves who are the superior ones, the ones who command.
Don Juanism is a masculine idealisation, resulting from the severe sexual restrictions to which the
community subjects them."
And here is Michael Kenny, for a Castillian community, A Spanish Tapestry (1961, 55):
"From the ideal pattern one might well suppose that the husband is the key personality of the family circle.
As a figurehead he is, but the woman is the real power behind the scenes. The Church fully realises this
and depends on its dominion over the women for eventual control of the family . . ."
Women are "seemingly submissive" but:
"it is she who holds the home together, who is the focal point, or hearth, round which the children huddle
to catch the warmth of traditional practise in ritual and religion . . . (in) the annual August fiestas in honour
of the patron of the village, it is the women who play the leading roles and are figuratively saviours of the
village and its prestige. In terms of role conflict the man's is continually played down (in subtle ways so as
not to offend his manly pride) before the need to recognize the woman's outstanding and more enduring
role" (ibid., 56).
Objection 4. Is Mary the Church's Escape From Misogyny
Marina Warner sees Mary as part of an argument the Catholic church uses to convince women of the shape of their
duties, and the nature of womanhood. The anthropologist John Davis has seen the Church's acceptance of Marianism
as a tactical move in a struggle to mobilize against atheism, rationalism, and libertarianism. Both arguments have
some appeal, however, there is a third way of seeing the relationship between Mary, women, and the Church, which
is rather different in emphasis. Suppose the acceptance of Mary really represents a late modern defense against the
once well-founded charge of misogyny? William A. Christian Jr. (1972) has eloquently made plain how a celibate
clergy have reproduced negative images of womanhood in earlier times and suggested how in a profound sense,
women may pose painful dilemmas for churchmen. All teachers have once been

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students, and most doctors are sometimes patients. Catholic priests experience some kinship roles, in the primary
sense, but not others. They have been sons and brothers, but not husbands or, literally, fathers. Yet they must minister
to women, discuss marital and parental problems, and have an informed view of things they have not experienced.
The question has been asked, over and over, in the earthy discourses of Mediterranean villages, "What does the priest
know about such things?"
There is a clear fear and dislike of women in patristic writings that still seems present in some of the modern material
Christian cited. Yet by the time of Vatican II, the Church had had to face the implications of the modern
emancipation of women. Let me get to the point: suppose the Church's promotion of Marianism in the last 150 years
is viewed as the incorporation into official gender representations of a triumphant, powerful image of womanhood
(yes, obedient, yes, pure) that works to obscure the sharp edges and clear outlines of the deeply etched patriarchal
symbolism?
If this view is accepted, we can see Marianism less as the Church capturing women through an image of submission,
or arguing that women should be more Virgin-like; and more the Church in a position of legitimating images that
could no longer be denied, acceding to pressures from below, coming to terms with the historical movement of
women (then still inchoate, and without formal ideology or official demands) in the only way it knew how to. In this
view, the Church has not coopted Mary, but Mary has coopted the Church, which must appear to take control of
images that it neither invented, nor dared to deny.
Objection 5. Mary the Human Closest to the Divine
Most of the commentaries on Marianism which I have examined say little about a point most striking to an
anthropologist interested in gender: practical Christianity uses masculine imagery to talk about divinity, although
official Christianity insists that God cannot be conceived of in human terms. Yet at the point of the most creative
contact between God and humanity, we find a woman. God's creativity apparently needed a woman's assistance to
enter into the human world. Of course "needed" is not the theological term. "God chose Mary." But sociologically,
God could have acted in various other ways. So, a woman is the human being who enters into God's scheme at the

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highest point. If Jesus as an ambiguously male and ambiguously human figure is a God-person, then the highest
human, who is still wholly human and not a part-God is a member of the Second Sex. A woman takes on the
supreme human creative task, the bearing of God, without male mediation except in the most formal sense of her
being married to Joseph.
Warner herself is content to retail the numerous feminine deities in surrounding Middle Eastern and Anatolian
religions. But she nowhere suggests that we might want to understand the First expressions of Marianism in the
fourth century as a recognition of a feminine principle hitherto denied, or submerged in patristic structures.
I realize that here is a danger of being misunderstood. John Davis (1984,26) says, "From the middle of the last
century, at least, theologians have argued that the cults of Mary have had beneficial effects on the position of
women." I am not arguing for that view. I am Simply arguing that the negative effects on women of contemporary
cults of Mary have yet to be demonstrated. There is at least one version of feminism, one that posits an
"underground" or distaff samizdat, in which womens' understandings, their solidarities, their modes of transacting,
and their images of power exist in quiet opposition to the images of male power that would otherwise dominate the
field. Might such a feminism find in contemporary Marian cults a source of support?
Objection 6. Problems in Interpreting Icons of Mary
Warner makes a good deal of the Virgin as mother adoring her son. She quotes Simone de Beauvoir approvingly.
"For the first time in human history the mother kneels before her son; she freely accepts her inferiority.
This is the supreme masculine victory, consummated in the cult of the Virginit is the rehabilitation of
woman through the accomplishment of her defeat" (de Beauvoir 1953, 160).
Yes, but on the other hand, no. In Robert Campin's painting of the Nativity, to which Warner directs us there are a
number of figures adoring the infant Christ. Joseph appears to be kneeling, also. Could I now say, "For the first time
in human history the father kneels before

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his son. This is the supreme deistic victory, consummated in the cult of Christ's birth in human form. It is the
rehabilitation of a man through the accomplishment of his defeat.'' It sounds just as good, and it means just as muchor
as little.
And one could extend the argument. There are three kings in the corner. Not actually on their knees, it is true, but
adoring. Could I assert that the principle of monarchy had also been laid low? No, because Warner's interpretation of
Sandro Botticelli's The Adoration of the Magi tells me that in this painting Mary stands for the Catholic church, so
the painting conveys the triumph of Christ and the Church over all earthly monarchsKing of Kings. Mary is here
being used by the Church to underwrite hierarchy, and the Church-supreme. In these matters, the Church is always
one jump ahead, and this time, with the conclusion of Peter Brown's The Cult of the Saints in mind, where he
describes in sixth-century Gaul the superimposition of verticality and hierarchy upon a local and non-hierarchical
religion, I am inclined to agree.
It may be the case that contemporary Marianism stresses Mary the Mother a great deal more than was once the case,
and Mary the Virgin a great deal less. In Renaissance paintings, one of the favorite themes was that of the
Annunciation, in which Mary's virginity, her slender, prematernal form, her solitary condition were stressed.
I have the impression that the commonest contemporary representations of Mary in churches and in lay iconography
stress Mary the Mother, with the infant Jesus being cared for. If this is right, I wonder just how much the ordinary
Catholic woman when she thinks of Mary, or perceives Mary, sees her as Virgin, rather than as Supreme Mother,
Super-Mother, or Mother-Intercessor?
It might be objected that she is referred to as "The Virgin Mary. . ." to which we might reply that habitual references
are often emptied of their original content. For example, "Ladies and Gentlemen . . ." no longer makes us think of
aristocracy. Nor do many of us react much to the notion of Christ as King of Kings since "king" is a word with much
weaker resonances than in earlier times.
So the simple naming of Mary as "The Virgin . . ." would not of itself be evidence for much. And there are a number
of other references for Mary used with some frequency"Mother of God," "Mary," "Madonna," "Queen of Heaven."
In a sense, the very Protean, polymorphous qualities of Mary so richly documented by Marina Warner seem to work
against her ability to summarize the implications of Mary for the position of women in the modern world.

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Conclusion
The anthropologist John Davis, comparing the religiosity of women, and the formal patriarchal and theological
restrictions upon this, in Islam and Christianity, concludes, "The difficulty is therefore to explain how lay women, in
defiance of religious doctrine, came to acquire such prominence in religious practice?" He notes that the 700 new
congregations devoted to Mary between 1800 and 1950 parallel the period when the Catholic church is increasingly
threatened by science, rationalism, revolution, liberalism, socialism, and marxism. "In the battle for the survival of
faith the Church calls in the reserves from the spiritually depressed areas of society." He means, of course, from
women.
This seems to make good historical sense, except that, like Warner's arguments, it still feels too much the machine
driven transmission belt, top-down in its emphasis. I want to suggest a more upward-thrust, and a more dialectical
relationship.
The period in question, from the French Revolution, and the Napoleonic Code, which enjoins full bilateral
inheritance for women, is a period of slow but steady legal and political emancipation for women. In addition to their
inheritance rights, they gain the vote and the virtual right to higher education. Many new careers in public life
become possible for urban middle-class women. It seems reasonable to see it as part of a general social movement
throwing up both new Marian devotions, an expression of a growing recognition of the importance of women in
society, and the Church coming to terms with this by approving it, while also recognizing the greater prominence of
women by promoting them in Catholic observances.
Notes
Reprinted by courtesy of Basil Blackwell Limited, from LSE Quarterly 2 (2) Summer 1988, 175-193.
Gill Shepherd commented incisively on early drafts of this paper. Encouragement and comment were welcome from
William A. Christian Jr., John Davis, Chris McKevitt, Marina Iossifides, Susan Pattie, Rob Farr, Ray Richardson,
and Basil Yamey.
Adrianus Koster and Mart Bax enabled me to join in the June 1987 Free University (Amsterdam) Conference on
Religious Regimes and State-Formation, where many participants made helpful comments. I alone am responsible
for defects.

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Marina Warner responded generously to a late draft of the paper.


1. But for the sustained criticism of Elaine Pagels and other feminist interpretations of early Church Fathers, see
Susanne Heine 1987.
References
Barthes, Roland. 1957. Mythologies. trans. Annette Lavers (New York 1972).
Brown, Peter. 1981. The Cult of the Saints: Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity. Chicago: University of
Chicago Press.
Chtistian, William A. Jr. 1972. Person and God in a Spanish Valley. New York and London: Seminar Press.
Davis, John. 1984. "The Sexual Division of Religious Labour in Islam and Christianity Compared." In Religion,
Power and Protest: the Northern Shore of the Mediterranean, edited by Eric R. Wolf. Berlin: Mouton.
De Beauvoir, Simone. 1953. The Second Sex. trans. H. M. Parsley. London: Jonathan Cape.
Denich, Bette S. 1974. "Sex and Power in the Balkans." In Woman, Culture and Society, edited by M. Z. Rosaldo
and L. Lamphere. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.
Dubisch, Jill. ed. 1986. Gender & Power in Rural Greece, Princeton University Press.
Heine, Susanne. 1987. Women and Early Christianity: Are the Feminist Scholars Right?. London: SCM Press.
Kenny, Michael. 1961. A Spanish Tapestry. London: Cohen and West.
Leach, Edmund. 1960, 1969. "Virgin Birth." In Genesis as Myth and Other Essays. London: Cape.
Lison-Tolosana, Carmelo. 1966. Belmonte de los Caballeros. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
McBrien, Richard P. 1980. Catholicism II. London: G. Chapman.
Pagels, Elaine. 1982. The Gnostic Gospels. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Pina-Cabral, Joao da. 1986. Sons of Adam, Daughters of Eve: the Peasant World View of the Alto Minho. Oxford:
Clarendon Press.
Reiter, Rayna. R. 1975. "Men and Women in the South of France: Public and Private Domains." In Toward an
Anthropology of Women, edited by Rayna R. Reiter. New York: Monthly Review Press.

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Rogers, Susan Carol 1985. "The Myth of Male Dominance Revisited." Anthropology Vol. 9:(1 & 2).
Ruether, Rosemary, R. ed. 1973. Religion and Sexism. Images of Women in the Jewish and Christian Traditions.
New York: Simon and Schuster.
Schneider, Jane. 1971. "Of Vigilance and Virgins: Honour, Shame and Access to Resources in Mediterranean
Societies." Ethnology 10 (1).
Silverman, Sydel. 1968. "Agricultural Organization, Social Structure and Values in Italy: Amoral Familism
Reconsidered." American Anthropologist 20.
Warner, Marina. 1976. Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and Culture of the Virgin Mary. London: Weidenfeld and
Nicolson.

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12
The Politics of Religion on the Hispano-African Frontier: An Historical-Anthropological View
Henk Driessen
Introduction
One fruitful way to study the dialectics of meaning and power in religion is to focus on the role of belief and cult in
the building of states and empires. The defensive frontier of Christianity in the Mediterranean area from the sixteenth
through the nineteenth century is an intriguing and illustrative case. Along this line of Spanish strongholds on the
Barbary coast two empiresin essence two enemy religionsconfronted one another. Both Muslims and Christians
employed notions of barbarism and impurity to degrade the nonbeliever. Even the same abusive therm (dog, perro,
kalb) was used on both sides. Official state policies required the maintenance of attitudes of religious intransigence.
However, on the ground there were continuous and varied contacts between Muslims and Christians in which the
notion of the unbeliever as barbarian was frequently played down.
Historians disagree on the degree of permeability of the Hispano-African frontier. There are basically two points of
view. Fernand Braudel (1976) represents a position that stresses the unity, both ecologically and culturally, of the
Mediterranean area He pays close attention to the intermingling of Mediterranean societies, to processes of cultural
transfer and diffusion. Andrew Hess (1978), on the other hand, emphasizes Mediterranean diversity and cultural
division. He maintains that the separation of the Mediterranean world into two rigidly defined spheres, LatinChristian and Turko-Muslim, is

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the main theme of its sixteenth-century history. This controversy can best be reconsidered in a case study of daily life
on the frontier. Using materials from local archives, I intend to examine interaction between a Spanish enclave in
Morocco and its Berber hinterland. A close view from below over a long time span brings to light oscillations
between confrontations, during which religious differences were inflated, and interactions in which religious profiles
were muted. Special attention will be paid to the problem of apostasy, an important mechanism of cultural transfer
across the frontier.
The Presidio as a Frontier Institution
At present the port towns of Melilla and Ceuta and the islets of Pen de Vlez de la Gomera, Alhucemas and
Chaffarinas constitute the last remnant of Spain's colonial possessions in Africa. Since 1961, they have incessantly
been claimed by Morocco. Successive Spanish governments have argued that these territories already belonged to
Spain long before the emergence of a Moroccan state. Recently, there has been a strong revival of religious identity
following serious riots between Catholic and Muslim inhabitants. The roots and forms of expression of this conflict
go back to the late fifteenth century.
In 1492, the Nasrid emirate of Granada, the last bastion of the Moors on the northwestern Mediterranean shore, fell
into Christian hands. This crucial event in the history of the Mediterranean area boosted the crusading euphoria (the
guerra divina) against Islam. The Spanish monarchs received the pope's blessings and financial backing for
expansion in North Africa. 1 Five years later, the crusade was carried to the southern shore of the Mediterranean with
the seizure of Melilla. This was an easy conquest, for the town had been abandoned by its inhabitants because of
longstanding warring between the rulers of the cities of Fez and Tlemcen over the possession of the town and its port.
From that year to 1510 a series of key ports on the Maghribian coast followed, Mers el-Kebir, El Pen de Vlez,
Oran, Bougie, and Tripoli. While the crusading spirit of pious Isabel of Castile and her ecclesiastical advisors were
the main force behind this expansion,2 two pragmatic considerations settled the conquest. Pirates scoured the
Mediterranean and threatened trade with Morocco, which had never until then been interrupted in spite of hostilities.
At this time Barbary corsairs were still fighters in the Holy War against the Christians (cf. Juline 1971, 206, 274).
The second reason was one of internal politics. After the fall of

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Granada, many ruling-class Muslims had left Spain or converted to Christianity. The larger part of the working
population, however, remained and continued to cling to its religion and way of life. Toward the end of the fifteenth
century, intolerance vis--vis the Muslim minority rapidly increased. The powerful Fray Francisco Jimnez de
Cisneros, cardinal and future regent of Spain, became the champion of forced conversion. In 1499 he ordered copies
of the Qu'ran and other Islamic works to be burned. Many Muslims were forced to renounce Islam. In 1500 the first
Muslim revolt broke out in the city of Granada and spread to the surrounding mountains. The rulers of Spain began
to fear an alliance of the rebels with Barbary corsairs and their Turkish protectors. The conquest of Oran, Mers elKebir, and Pen de Vlez must be seen as a strategy to prevent this coalition. In southern Spain, religious
opposition stiffened, and compulsory baptism was imposed by royal decree on all Muslims living in the Kingdom of
Castile (of which Andalusia was a part). The converted Muslims came to be known as "Moriscos." These "New
Christians," however, persisted in practicing Islam. After new revolts, subsequent deportations and resettlement of
Moriscos in other parts of Castile, they were finally expelled from Spain in the early seventeenth century. 3 The
failure of assimilation and the fate of Jewish and Muslim minorities indicate how strongly the formation of
Spanishness rested on Catholicism and xenophobia.
The Turkish threat coupled with the rebelliousness of the Moriscos and the increasing activities of Barbary corsairs
all contributed to the erection of a string of presidios along the Maghribian coast as defensive outposts of
Catholicism. In documents they are referred to as "fronteras de Africa." The Maghreb was essentially African in the
Spanish mind and was thus primitive, alien, and barbaric. In the course of the sixteenth century, the Spaniards
increasingly restricted themselves to a system of limited occupation. They transformed the conquered ports into
formidable strongholds, presidios, which were a combination of citadel, garrison, and penal settlement. These served
mainly as havens for Spanish ships and observation posts for monitoring the movements of the Turkish fleet and
Barbary corsairs.
Since its occupation on behalf of the noble house of Medina Sidonia the presidio of Melilla had been progressively
fortified. The settlement itself was a small cluster of houses around a chapel. In the middle of the sixteenth century,
the garrison amounted to between three and four hundred soldiers, while the civilian population consisted of two
hundred people, laborers, two dozen slaves of both sexes, one hundred children, sixty married women, and a dozen
prostitutes.4 However, in the course of the sixteenth century, it became an increas-

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ingly expensive and vulnerable outpost of the Spanish Empire. Food, fresh water, materials for the construction and
maintenance of fortifications and houses, ammunition, soldiers, convicts, workers, whores, cloth, and fish came by
sea from the port of Mlaga. Since the Mediterranean was infested with corsairs, life in the presidio was precarious.
The expense of maintaining Melilla became so heavy a burden for the Medina Sidonia that in 1556 they were forced
to transfer their fief to the Crown of Castile. 5 During the reign of Philip II the reinforcement and expansion of the
citadel was accelerated. Its location on a steep rock high above the sea combined with technical superiority in
artillery and fortification, made Melilla an almost impregnable stronghold. However, bringing in supplies was its
weak spot.
In the second haft of the sixteenth century, Spanish interests began to shift away from the Mediterranean toward
northern Italy, the Low Countries, Portugal, and the New World, while the Ottoman policy was reoriented toward
Persia and the Indian Ocean (cf. Braudel 1976 II, 1185). As the center of European gravity gradually moved
northward, the Maghreb became more and more detached from Europe. The Mediterranean became peripheral to the
main thrust of western European interests, which in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was the Atlantic.
Mediterranean trade, though still important, was overshadowed by the Atlantic slavetrade (cf. Thomson 1987, 45).
This shift in the world economic system was in a sense foreshadowed and sealed in the Spanish-Turkish truce of
1580. The age of crusades was over and the Latin-Christian / Turko-Muslim frontier remained more or less fixed
until nineteenth-century colonial penetration. In Fernand Braudel's apt words, piracy became a "substitute for
declared war" between Islam and Christendom.
This swing in international policies had a profound impact on Melilla. It meant that the presidio found itself
increasingly isolated, and forced to rely on its own resources. From the late 1620s onward, the governors of the
stronghold incessantly complained in their letters to Madrid about shortages of men, fresh water, firewood, foodsupplies, clothes, and ammunition. Maladministration, endemic conflicts between the quartermaster, parish priest,
engineer-architect, and captain-general, desertions, low morale, famine, and plague constituted more serious threats
than recurrent raids by corsairs, Berber hillmen, and sieges by the Sultan's troops. Life in the presidio was one of
genuine hardship. Pay was low and irregular, work hard, and the atmosphere was both claustrophobic and
monotonous. Consignment to Melilla virtually meant deportation.6
One of the main customs of the presidio was the raid (jornada or razzia) on Rifian hamlets in the surrounding
countryside. The

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motives for these planned sorties were various. They were sometimes necessary for survival, as, for instance, when
supply ships arrived late or did not arrive at all. This, in fact, was a frequent occurrence and the citadel could survive
only by roaming the hinterland in search of grain, fruit, cattle, firewood, and salt. Ambitious and greedy captainsgeneral sometimes made dangerous sorties just to collect booty and slaves. Raids were also punitive expeditions into
the settlements of Rifian frontiersmen, who constantly annoyed the presidio. However, such raids were sometimes
carried out under the guise of the "crusading spirit," which presented a method of overcoming boredom and creating
excitement. The razzia was both a cause and a consequence of the hostility between Melilla and its hinterland.
The eastern Rif was a peripheral region, albeit never entirely isolated from the Moroccan state. In fact, it has long
been important to Morocco's rulers because of its strategic location at the crossing of two important trade routes,
from the Sahara to the Mediterranean and from the Atlantic through the center of Morocco to the rest of the
Maghreb. Moreover, it constituted a border zone between the empire of Morocco and the Ottoman Empire to the
east. In spite of the significance of the Rif, the tribes were never effectively subjugated and incorporated into
sharifian Morocco. At many periods in the history of this inhospitable area, central authority over the Rif was merely
nominal. Only at infrequent intervals did sharifian troops arrive to collect tribute and levy tribesmen for laying siege
to Melilla. 7
The peninsula on which the Spanish enclave is situated was the homeland of five Rifian tribes, who constituted the
confederacy of the Iqar'ayen. This intertribal league was probably created as a reaction to the presence of Christian
intruders.8 It is likely that Islam became popular and militant in these parts of Morocco precisely because of
Christian aggression, which was also felt to be a threat to the integrity of the Muslim faith. The reaction often took a
religious form and was led by holy men, miracle workers, and warrior saints (cf. Juline 1971, 217; Rabinow 1975, 58).
The hinterland of Melilla is strewn with shrines of Muslim saints or marabouts, several of whom, according to oral
tradition, fiercely opposed the Christian presence in Melilla. They were extraordinary men, who by virtue of their
descent from the Prophet Muhammad and of their personal qualities, were considered to be chosen by Allah to
intercede on his behalf in human affairs. They were endowed with baraka, supernatural power, as a result of their
special tie with God. From time to time marabouts made their appearance among the tribes of the Iqar'ayen to preach
Holy War against the infidels and rally tribesmen for an attack on the prasidio. The best documented case is

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the assault on Melilla led by a marabout named Muhammad ben Alal in 1564. Early that year the captain-general was
informed by Rifian confidants and frontiersmen who came to sell their products in the presidio that a marabout was
preparing for a raid. This religious leader had spread the message among the Rifians that his baraka and their faith
would enable them to take the stronghold without a blow being thrown. They would be immune to Christian bullets
and by reciting prayers, they would cause the gates to open automatically at their approach. The captain-general
made plans for an ambush. When the marabout arrived with his followers at the gates of Melilla, they found them
open. The excited Berbers penetrated the stronghold and were subjected to a surprise attack About 150 of them were
killed. Two months later, the marabout tried to attack the stronghold for a second time, but on this occasion he was
supported by 2,000 armed hillmen. Again they were entrapped and more than 200 Rifians were killed and 400 were
taken prisoner. 9 However, the great majority of Rifian raids were small-scale operations and less spectacular than
that described above.
Sometimes the explicit motive for mutual raids seems to have been the desecration of shrines. The following incident
is recorded in the parish archive:
November 4, 1631: The Moors succeeded in entering the parade square and pillaged the chapel of the
Virgin of Victory, trying to carry off the image and when this turned out to be impossible, they took away
the crowns of the Virgin and the Child, a crucifix, the jewels and cut off their hands so they could also take
the rings. (Two days later the priest relates that the sacred jewels had been ransomed. - H.D.)10
This incident fed a legend that still circulates among the Catholic inhabitants of present-day Melilla. One version has
it that one night twelve Moors penetrated the ancient chapel of the Virgin of Victory, removed Her image from the
platform, and tried to carry it away. In spite of their concerted efforts, they were unable to move the image even by
an inch. The church bells suddenly began to toll the call to arms. The panic-stricken Moors attacked the statue with
their daggers, cut off three fingers of the Virgin's right hand, and took to their heels.11 This story has become part of
Catholic lore and serves to prove the powerful protection of the patron saint and the superiority of Catholic faith.
The garrison in turn carried out several raids on the shrine of Sidi Wariach, the spiritual patron of the Iqar'ayen,
located in a tiny

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hamlet some three kilometers from the stronghold. In 1737, for instance, a razzia left the shrine partly ruined. 12
Catholicism on the Frontier
Archival data on everyday religious life in the presidio are scarce and scattered. The available evidence suggests that
the authorities took great pains to uphold an image of a policy in which the cross stood behind the sword. One gains
the impression from the documents that references to religion were intended to convey the message that Catholic
devotion was of great consequence in presidio life.
The parish of Melilla fell under the jurisdiction of the diocese of Mlaga. One of the main tasks of the bishop was the
recruitment of the two priests who ministered to the spiritual needs of the garrison, the convicts, and the civilians.
This seems to have been a difficult task in view of the harsh conditions of Melilla. Sometimes compulsion and
punishment were necessary to find candidates for this job (cf. Mir Berlanga 1983, 50). The bishop also took great
interest in the conversion of Moors. (A matter that will be dealt with below.) Direct intervention in the activities of
the priests, through visitations, seems to have been rare. This may have been due to the isolation of the enclave and
the difficulty of communication.
The installation of captains-general included a ceremony, called ''pleito homenaje," during which the incoming
governor swore to defend "the Mystery of the Pure and Clean Conception," to which the parish church was devoted.
This church was constructed under the aegis of the Capuchins in the second haft of the seventeenth century. These
friars, who had founded a small monastery in the presidio, took great pains to promote the devotion of the
Immaculate Conception and placed the church under the patronage of the Immaculada (cf. Blasco Lpez 1987, Brave
Nieto 1987). The arrival of the Capuchin monks set off a lasting competition with the secular clergy who promoted
the devotion to Maria Santissima de la Victoria (The Virgin of Victory), one of the numerous invocations of the
Virgin, proclaimed by Pope Pius V after the victory in 1571 of Christendom over Islam in the battle of Lepanto. How
her imagea sixteenth-century product of the Granada school of religious imageryand her cult were introduced to
Melilla is not known. From the late sixteenth century onward the chapel of the stronghold was dedicated to her cult.
Originally she was particularly popular among the military and naval men but, in the

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course of the eighteenth century, she overtook all other devotions in the presidio.
The Virgin of Victory's rise to prominence coincided with the most critical era in Melilla's history. The enclave was
constantly being subjected to Rifian raids and from 1774 to 1775 suffered an almost fatal siege by the Sultan's troops.
13 At about this time, the idea of abandoning Melilla was gaining headway in Madrid. There were continuous
shortages of the necessities of life as Spanish governments left the African presidios to their fate, which contributed
to low morale in the community. The Virgin of Victory, a symbol of a glorious past, probably came to embody the
frontiersmen's last hope.
Accounts of miraculous interventions by the Virgin in situations of acute crisisfamine, storm, plague, and
siegeabound in eighteenth-century records. The following note made by a parish priest in 1752 is exemplary:
One of the ships of the Plaza found itself surrounded by three hostile caiques [light boats used by the
RifiansH.D.], but it managed to escape. The crew attributed this to the intervention of Our Lady of Victory,
upon whom they had called for help in that dangerous moment; and when they arrived at the port they
ascended barefooted in procession to the church as an expression of gratitude.14
Four years later the Virgin of Victory was finally proclaimed patron of Melilla during a solemn ceremony:
Does this Plaza, its natives and inhabitants promise and swear for themselves and their families perpetual
firmness of devotion to the Holiest Mary, Our Mother and Lady of Victory, ratifying the ancient
conferment and legitimate possession of this title of patron in the mode that has been laid down? Yes we
swear . . .15
The Virgin and other saints were symbolic weapons in the struggle with the infidels.
Almost the complete toponymy of the presidio, the streets and parts of its fortifications were blessed with sacred
names and icons, as, for instance, "the Bastion of Conception," the "Gate of Santiago," the ''Promontory of San
Lorenzo," and "San Antn street." The documented and oral history Melilla reveals above all that at times of crisis
religious sentiments and strategies were strong. But how profound was religious experience in daily existence? How
rigid were religious observances and control in a remote outpost of Catholicism, where

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sheer survival was the prime concern, and where many residents represented the worst elements in Spanish society?.
Metropolitan Spain did not have a high opinion of the quality of religious life on the frontier. Throughout the
sixteenth century, Melilla's reputation in religious matters was plainly negative (cf. de Castries 1921 I, xxviii). This
was probably partly due to extreme incidents such as the case of a priest, who in 1556 took part in a plot to kill the
captain-general and surrender the presidio to the enemy. The conspiracy was discovered, the priest sentenced to
death and executed (Mir Berlanga 1983, 50). From time to time tensions in the relationships between military and
religious authorities came into the open, as in the case of a zealous priest who protested against the custom of
concubinage and prostitution and who was finally expelled from the enclave (de Castries 1921 I, xxiv). The gulf
between religious ideals and prescriptions and the harsh reality on the frontier forced the military authorities to close
their eyes to the breaking of religious rules.
Presidio practices sometimes openly clashed with the rules of metropolitan Spain. For instance, between 1606 and
1631 many of the Rifian captives taken during raids were forced to renounce Islam and undergo the rite of baptism.
The bishop of Mlaga reacted by prohibiting forced conversion (de Morales 1909, 63, 66-67). In the course of the
eighteenth century, the government in Madrid intervened in several instances on behalf of Rifians who had been
baptized against their will (ibid., 179). It does not come as a surprise that toward the middle of the eighteenth century
Spanish politicians in favor of abandoning the presidios employed arguments of a religious kind. In the words of a
governmental commission:
. . . it is not convenient to our religion to maintain them [the presidios], for the cult is being celebrated
better in Spain than in those places where iniquity, laxity of customs and scandal visibly reign, apart from
the fact that there are very few Moors who embrace our religion, while 198 of our men have been made
their slaves over the last ten years. 16
The "abandonists" cleverly exploited the profound anxiety for the loss of Christian souls to Islam. The Ibero-African
frontier was anything but a watertight religious barrier.

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Desertion and Apostasy


From the last quarter of the sixteenth century onward, the seizure of captives, usually called "slaves," began to
replace open warfare between Turks and Christians. 17 This issue dominated diplomatic contacts between Barbary
and Christian states for the next few centuries, until it was used by the French as one of the justifications for invading
Algeria in 1830. For both Muslim and Christian corsairs, and privateers, the taking of captives represented a
substantial part of their booty. The traffic in ransoms and the exchange of captives and goods created a new
commercial circuit in the Mediterranean area (cf. Braudel 1976 II, 888).
The seizure of Christian slaves became an acute problem to Spain given its geopolitical position. In fact, one of the
reasons for the erection and maintenance of the presidios had been to counteract corsair activity. The irony of these
enclaves is that they actually exacerbated the problem of Spaniards in Muslim captivity, as a considerable number of
Spanish captives originated from these places (Friedman 1983, 48). The prisoners can be roughly divided into two
categories: those who were seized during sorties, and convicts and soldiers who deserted to the Muslims. The latter
was the largest category and also the most interesting from an anthropological point of view, because the deserters
knew that by crossing the frontier they betrayed their religion and society.
In the course of four centuries more than 20,000 men fled from Melilla only to be captured by the Rifians. Many of
them apostatized, settled among the tribes and married Berber women (Fernndez de Castro y Pedrera 1919, 118).
Desertions were mainly motivated by hardship, the tyranny of presidio governors, low pay, poor rations, prolonged
military service, and penal servitude. The runaways believed that life among the Muslims could not be worse than
presidio life. Moreover there was the hope that they would eventually manage to cross over to Spain.
Rifian frontiersmen who seized deserters from Melilla were supposed to hand them over to the Sultan as they were
considered slaves of the Moroccan state. However, since central authority and control in the Rif was generally weak
or nonexistent, deserters were rarely sent to Fez or Meknes. They were usually sold to Algerian slave traders. This
was the fate of the following runaways:
1756: eighteen convicts [called desterrados, exiled, or presidiariosH.D.] succeeded in breaking out,
carrying off as a hos-

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tage a captain of the garrison. All of them were taken prisoner by the tribesmen who sold them for 460
reales each to the Algerians. The captain perished. Rifian frontiersmen delivered his corpse to the gates of
Melilla in return for money. 18
It was a widespread custom to return the corpses of Christians to the presidio for ransom money. Catholics attached
great value to giving deceased captives a proper burial for the salvation of their souls. In these cases the final rite was
also a ritual of reincorporation into the community of the faithful. Sometimes the Rifians took the deserters to the
Sultan:
1777: two convicts went over to the Moors, who took them to Meknes, where Sultan Sidi Muhammad
invited them to fore-swear their faith. When they refused, he handed them over to the Franciscan mission
and later allowed them to return to the presidio.19
The Sultan's decision to give them back their freedom was probably a gesture of goodwill at a time when peace
negotiations were being held between Spain and Morocco. Usually, deserters did not receive such benign treatment.
They were rarely returned to Spain.
There are also many documented cases of fugitives being tortured and killed on the spot if they were seized by the
Rifians:
1826: At ten o'clock in the morning the convict Juan Pedrera broke out to frontier country from the site
called La Estacada. He was immediately seized by the Moors who killed him and cut him into pieces.
[Ritual mutilation of Christian corpses was a common practice among the tribes of the RifH.D.]20
1829: The corpses of M.L.S., A.C. and J.P., convicts who had deserted, were found hanged in campo
moro.21
1834: The Moors seized various convicts who had been outside the walls to collect greenery for the day of
Corpus Christi. They were slaughtered on the spot and split open from top to bottom, hanged and burned in
sight of the presidio. The governor ordered the convicts to make a sortie and pick up the remains of their
comrades; however, they were terrified and refused, whereupon the commander ordered them to shave off
their whiskers as a sign of cowardice. This and the urging of sergeant Antonio

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Lpez Roldn made them react. They went out, drove back the Moors and recovered the bodily remains.
22
The fate of most fugitives is simply unknown as in the following case:
1848: Three hundred convicts made a sortie without success; nineteen of them deserted and many lost their
weapons.23
The Redemptorist and Trinitarian monks, who were sent to Morocco and Algeria to redeem Christian captives, had a
vested interest in depicting their condition as negatively as possible, with the aim of arousing sympathy for the
Christian slaves and thus ransom money to buy them back. The myths of the cruel treatment of captives and forced
conversions, created and perpetuated by the accounts of these monks, were mostly taken at face value; they played an
important role in arousing Christian zeal against the Infidel (cf. Thomson 1987, 26-27). The widespread notion
among contemporary Spaniards that Christian captives were constantly being pressed to become Muslims does not
seem to be justified. Deserters who became slaves of the Moroccan state were not permitted to convert to Islam while
still enslaved, since they were not regarded as trustworthy and their economic value was reduced or lost when they
apostatized (cf. Friedman 1983, 47, 77). Rifian Berbers, however, often adopted deserters who expressed a wish to
go over to Islam. The number of absconders who apostatized, married a Rifian woman, and became members of a
tribe is not known. Only at the beginning of Spanish colonial penetration of the Rif were several cases of captives
and deserters who "had gone native" discovered. Consider the following cases:
In the early nineteenth century a fisherman from Tarifa called Lpez was seized by corsairs on the coast of
western Morocco. He passed through several Berber tribes till he was finally adopted by the Ait Bu Gafar
in the vicinity of Melilla. He converted to Islam, took the name of Mimum, and married a local woman.
His first son, Dudu ben Mimum, took service in the Tiradores del Rif [the first voluntary corps of native
soldiers in the service of Spain, founded in 1859H.D.] and fought at Tetuan during the war of 1859-60.
After the war he returned to his native tribe.
In the 1920s a man called "El moro Joaquin" was a popular figure in Melilla. Born in Aragn, condemned
to ten years of presidio for manslaughter, he deserted, apostatized and was adopted by a leader of the Ait
Waryaghar in the central Rif, one of whose daughters he married. He assumed the name of Muhammad Si

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Bukar [the name of his patron and ritual fatherH.D.]. During the pacification war of the Rif (19191925) he
acted as a go-between for the release of Spanish prisoners in the hands of Abd el Krim. After the war King
Alfonso XIII pardoned him and he received permission to visit his mother in Aragn. 24
I examined 156 documented cases of desertion for the period 1820-1855.25 The overwhelmingly majority of
runaways were common criminals who had been condemned to eight or ten years of penal servitude for such
offences as "blasphemy of God and the Virgin" (ten years), highway robbery (ten years), cattle rustling (eight years),
the "theft of silverware from the cathedral of Seville" (ten years), homicide (ten years). Political prisoners among the
convicts rarely attempted to break out.
The first measure taken when a case of desertion was discovered was to ring the bells "que designa hombre al moro"
("signalling man to the Moor"), which communicated to the Rifian frontiersmen that a man had escaped. They were
rewarded when they returned deserters to the presidio. A report was written of the circumstances, possible
accomplices, and so forth. The most interesting passages in these reports concern the procedures followed when an
absconder was returned or gave himself up. Let us consider two cases in detail:
In 1820 a convict named Manuel Rodriguez managed to escape to "campo infiel."26 Born in Valencia,
condemned for robbery, he arrived at Melilla in 1817 at the age of twenty-one. More than a year after his
desertion he reported to the guards at the gates of Melilla as "Catholic, Roman, and Apostolic." The report
emphasizes that he "was dressed in the Moorish fashion." He was subjected to long cross examinations by
officers and the priest who were eager to find out whether he had apostatized. The procedure included a
medical examination of his private parts in order to find out if he had been circumcised. When it turned out
that this had not been the case, Rodriguez was aquitted of "having committed the crime of renunciation or
at least that he has not been marked as a renegade by way of circumcision." He told the authorities that he
had been sold to a master who ''kept telling me that another Christian had embraced his sect and all rites
and ceremonies according to Moorish law.( . . . )However, I never stopped being a Christian, commending
myself constantly to Our Lord and to the Queen of Angels, Our Holiest Mary." When asked by his master
whether he was a Moor or Christian, he kept repeating that he was a Christian, an answer which provoked

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bastinados. Finally, he was sold to another master to whom he lied that he had been circumcised at Fez.
From that day he pretended to be a Muslim. After having learned from a Moor in the service of the
American Consul that the king of Spain had declared a general pardon for deserters, he awaited his
opportunity to escape to the presidio.
In 1825 Lorenzo Cerda, a thief of twenty-three, was condemned to ten years of penal servitude in Melilla.
The same year, while tilling the land in the outer precinct, he managed to escape. Seven years later he
returned, and was placed in quarantine for six weeks. When asked why he had deserted, he replied
"because of bad thoughts." The Rifians who had seized Cerda sold him to a landowner who put him to
work in his Fields. The run-away declared that he soon regretted his deed and planned to return to the
"bosom of Christianity." But, he claimed to have been circumcised by force, although, as he told his
interrogators, he had opposed this operation violently. The Moors were convinced that he now had become
a Moor and would never dare to return to his former colleagues of the same faith. "My wish to return to the
true faith grew stronger and stronger(. . .)and I never expelled from my mind (imaginacin) the prayers
which I have recited since my childhood. I refused to devote myself to the orations which the Moors tried
to teach me." He stated that he prayed daily in secrecy. Finally, after many years, he managed to escape
and gave himself up to the garrison of Melilla. The Ecclesiastical Court ruled that in view of ''clear and
definite statements by the deserter on having apostatized our Sacred Religion, when he underwent, as he
told, the operation carried out by the Moors according to their rites and customary for those who abjure the
faith, and in view of the fact that he was violently subjected to this operation, we impose on him the usual
penances." The military court, in its turn, decided to extend his servitude by Five years.
Some months later Cerda again took to the Moors. An eye-witness had seen him talking with two Rifians
who took off in the direction of Farjana [a village some three kilometers from MelillaH.D.]. 27
It was considered of prime importance when deserters or captives returned to Christian territory to establish whether
they had apostatized when returning to Christian territory. Religion defined the essence of personhood. The
interrogators primarily focused on

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bodily proofs of renunciation. Circumcision simply marked them as Muslims. It was only of minor importance
whether renegades had embraced Islam of their own free will, or had been forced to do so. The Ecclesiastic Court
was not really interested in the other parts of the rite of initiation into Islam, such as shaving the skull, the major
ritual ablution (ghusl), the declaration of faith, which simply involved the recitation of "There is no God but God and
Muhammad is His messenger," and the festive meal. Sometimes renegades mentioned one or more of these elements,
apart from adoption by a Muslim patron, the acceptance of an Islamic name, and the wearing of Moorish attire.
Rarely did the interrogators pursue these points. Unfortunately, we do not know what the "usual penances" involved,
because they were never specified in the reports. We do know, however, that the return of ransomed captives was
celebrated with great religious pomp. The case of deserters was, of course, different because they were perceived as
traitors of Christianity.
The second case reveals the ease with which convicts switched sides. It is very probable that their motives in
converting to Islam were purely opportunistic, for they must have been aware that by abdicating their own faith they
could improve their living conditions. There were also some spectacular cases of conversion, as, for instance, the
case of the Franciscan monk Anselm Turmeda of Catalonia, who during his captivity embraced Islam and started a
career as a Muslim saint. One of the implications of renegation was the transfer to the Muslim world of European
skills, in particular with regard to navigation and warfare. When Moroccans did encourage conversion, this applied to
deserters or captives who had valuable skills to offer (cf. Friedman 1983, 89).
The number of Muslims who became Christians was considerably lower. Again there are two different classes of
converts, those who were seized during raids and subsequently enslaved and those who sought refuge in Melilla.
Eighteenth-century documents make a distinction between "free" and "enslaved" converted Muslims:
1724: "Manuel Nicols, free New Christian, received the Holy Baptism which he asked when in mortal
danger; it was administered to him without solemnity."
1756: "Death of Maria Gertrudis, born in Cazaza [a village near MelillaH.D.], where she had been made a
captive. She was baptized and married to a soldier."
1812: "A Moor took refuge in this Plaza together with his daught-

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er, fleeing from his own people, and both embraced our Religion, the latter was named Maria del Carmen
Gzman who married lieutenant Federico Martin."
1834: "Two Moors took refuge in this Plaza; one of them returned to frontier country, while the other
became a Christian. He was sent to Mlaga for further religious instruction."
1835: "Death of Don Fernando Carlos Benjaimut, second lieutenant, catechumen and renegade of the
Mohammedan sect, baptized in the city of Ceuta, married to Sedima." 28
At times Muslim captives were forced to convert to Christianity, a practice usually condemned by Spanish civil and
religious authorities, as the following cases show:
At the beginning of the eighteenth century a Rifian informer in the service of the captain-general was badly
wounded. Since it was feared that he would die, the priest was called to baptize him. However, when the
man recovered and expressed the wish to return to his native tribe, the captain-general refused to let him
go. The case was finally brought before the court in Madrid and in 1710 the king decreed that he had the
right to return to his own people.
Some years later, the king wrote a letter to the captain-general arguing that "it is not right that Moors who
come to the Plaza in the confidence of being treated benignly, are being enslaved. If they have not chosen
to become Christian out their own free will, they must be set free."29
Central authority showed itself much more tolerant toward Muslims than its representatives at the presidio, a fact that
caused bitter rancor among its inhabitants.30
Another strategy of christianization was the adoption of Rifian children. This practice persisted well into the
nineteenth century as the following cases show:
In 1859 a mariner starts a procedure to adopt an orphaned Muslim boy. Several "Moors of the frontier
land" appeared before the notary to declare that the boy has no parents or other kin. The mariner promises
that the boy will be "educated according to the Christian doctrine of our religion and will be baptised." One
month later the boy is returned to his "native land." All attempts

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to christianize him have failed ("because of a profound obstinacy on the part of the African"). Moreover, in
the meantime an uncle has come to claim the boy.
In 1862 a merchant appears before the public notary expressing his wish to adopt a Moorish girl of about
eight years old, whom he plans to send to Mlaga "in order to educate her in our customs, teaching her our
sacred religion and make her a Christian." The Moorish interpreter of the presidio declares that he knows
the girl as an orphan, while the child herself indicates that she is willing to go to Mlaga. 31
Initiation to Catholicism was in one respect simpler than conversion to Islam. Whereas circumcision was the focal
rite of passage in Islam, in Christianity it was baptism. In another respect it was more complicated, since more
emphasis was placed upon "education in the Christian Law" for which catechumens were sent to Mlaga, obviously a
rite of separation and incorporation. The converts also adopted a Christian name, usually that of their godparents, and
western dress. It is significant to note that on both sides of the Mediterranean sea conversion atuomatically entailed
naturalization, which indicated how intimately religious identity was linked to political status. The first case I could
find of naturalization without conversion was in 1863 when 141 frontiersmen of Farjana, Ait Shikar and Ait Sidar,
and four Jews from Tetuan collectively applied for Spanish citizenship without giving up their religion. After ample
inquiries into their background their request was granted in a ceremony in which they had to pledge allegiance to the
Queen of Spain: "the Muslims by turning their face to the east, swearing by Allah, Muhammad and the penalties of
the Qu'ran, and the Jews by their God and what they consider to be their Holy Scriptures."32 The Rifians were only
interested in getting a passport, which they needed for traveling to the Oranie in Algeria to work on the farms of
French colonists, while the Jews planned to settle in Melilla for business. This case points at the diminishing role of
religion in the definition of citizenship and the gradual emergence of Spanish tolerance for alien religious beliefs and
practices.
Breaches in the Frontier
Whereas in Spain all Muslims were indiscriminately called "moros," the inhabitants of the presidio distinguished
several categories. The

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main class was moro fronterizo as opposed to moro del rey, frontiersman or Rifian and Arab under the Sultan's rule
respectively. A second distinction was that between moro de paz and moro de querra, "Moor of peace" and "Moor of
war." The boundary between these categories was rather fluid. Peaceful, subjected Muslims, who had traded with the
enclave for years, could easily turn into enemies and vice versa. In the late 1850s, for instance, warriors of the
neighboring tribe of Ait Sidar harassed the enclave for days. Then several of the aggressors changed their attitude
overnight and became traders who entered the town peacefully to conduct commerce. In order to teach them a lesson,
the governor had them lashed out of town. 33 In 1859 members of several tribes, who had attacked the garrison in
preceding years, enlisted in the first native unit of the Spanish army recruited for the war in western Morocco.
Finally, there was a category of Moors, who lived in the presidio, mostly as enslaved captives. A number of them
were used as moros de rescate or ransom Moors, for there were periodic exchanges of captives at the gates of
Melilla. A special category was that of confidente, informer, spy or confidant, who also acted as interpreter.
While raid and counterraid, a form of negative reciprocity, was a basic institution of frontier society, trade or
balanced reciprocity was even more important. Although frequently forbidden by the central authorities of Morocco
and Spain, commercial exchanges between Melilla and the neighboring tribes have always been an integral part of
life on the frontier. Even the powerful Sultan Isma'il (1672-1727), whose long reign brought political stability and
some measure of central control over the Rif, was unable to enforce his ban on trade between the presidios and the
surrounding tribes. As early as the sixteenth century, Spanish coins and vocabulary circulated widely among Rifians
(cf. de Castries 1921 II, 14-32). Moros de paz were usually permitted to enter the outer precinct of the stronghold
(alafia, plaza de armas) daily to sell their produce, mainly grain, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, chickens, and sheep.
When relationships with the tribes were particularly tense, trade took place at the gates of the outer bastion.
Commerce was only infrequently interrupted by sieges and raids.
Throughout its history, Melilla acted as a refuge or sanctuary for those Muslims who were persecuted or who fled
tribal feuding and civil war. Some of these refugees went over to Christendom. At times Muslims also paid fraternal
visits to the presidio. The following case was rather exceptional:
1782: "The crown prince Abd-er Rahman, son of Sidi Muhammad

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[Sultan of MoroccoH.D.], entered the plaza with five of his servants. He was profusely entertained and
showed a great liking for alcoholic drinks. This visit was a very exceptional, for Muslim princes are
forbidden to enter Christian towns." 34
Muslims were also aware of the superiority of European medical science for there are many instances of them asking
for medical treatment in the enclave:
1807: "An important frontiersman asked for medical assistance, which was procured for him in exchange
for four cows, thirty sheep, and four quintals of olive oil."35
1848: "Frontiersmen were shooting at the plaza when they abruptly ceased fire and hoisted the "flag of
parley." Thereupon a Moor of the Sultan approached the plaza and manifested that he was ill and wanted to
enter hospital. The commander told him that they first had to stop hostilities and hand over the deserters.
But when his comrades did not agree, fire was reopened."36
During periods of hostility the garrison and its adversaries communicated through shots and flags, the bandera de
parlamento (the flag of parley, to indicate that they wanted to negotiate) and the bandera de paz (the flag of peace or
truce). This flag code was rarely abused. The following is a most uncommon incident:
1839: "the Moors hoisted the flag of parley and asked for negotiations with the governor; when the latter
presented himself, they started to fire at him."37
What we tend to see as contradictions in the dealings between Muslims and Christian frontiersmen are in fact
breaches in the frontier, which grew wider and wider as the nineteenth century wore on. The pressures of European
colonialism together with civil war in Morocco and intra- and intertribal feuding in the Rif, helped to bring about a
profound transformation of the Hispano-African frontier.
Conclusion
Both Spanish and Moroccan authorities perceived and represented the Spanish-Moroccan frontier for more than four
centuries as a hard

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and fast line of division between "civilization" and "savagery," a divide that was mainly defined in terms of religion.
In daily life, however, it was a zone of interaction between two different cultures, which, in spite of religious
antagonisms, knew very well how to deal with one another in various ways. As I have tried to show, there was
considerable movement across the frontier, which suggests that the presidio and its neighboring tribes in fact
constituted one frontier society. Both parties in this society were far removed from the centers of power, ideology,
and control, and dependent upon each other in several respects. This created room for other than hostile modes of
communication. Thus, at the fringes of Catholic and Islamic society, boundaries of religious practice failed to
coincide neatly with the boundaries of language, polity, and economy.
Notes
1. The Spanish state was built on "reconquest." At this time, state-formation rested heavily on religion, indeed,
Catholicism provided the cement for binding together the heterogeneous regions under the crowns of Castile and
Aragn.
2. We find the following phrase in Isabel's testament: ". . . and that they do not abandon the conquest of Africa and
fight for Our Faith against the Infidels" (cited in Garcia Figueras 1944, 59).
3. See for a summary of this long-term process and for relevant literature, Henk Driessen (1985, 107-108).
4. See H. de Castries' monumental source book (1921, I: x).
5. See the most recent local history of Melilla by Francisco Mir Berlanga (1983), who deals at length with the legal
aspects of enclave life.
6. The most important secondary sources for an ethnographic history of the enclave are two anthologies from
journals written by parish priests over more than four centuries. These collections were published by the local
historian Gabriel de Morales in 1909 and 1920. This is the richest source on daily life in the presidio. Fernand
Braudel and Andrew C. Hess are the major authorities on the Ibero-African frontier.
7. See David Seddon (1981, xiii-xiv).
8. For a historical ethnography of the Rif see David M. Hart (1976) and for an ethnography of the Iqar'ayen area
Raymond Jamous (1981).

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9. These events are cited in all local histories. They all go back to J. A. Estrada y Paredes (1769).
10. See Gabriel de Morales (1920, 210).
11. More than a century later this miraculous version turned up in J. A. Estrada y Paredes (1769).
12. See Gabriel Morales (1909, 90), for fourteen Rifians of both sexes were taken prisoner in this raid, while seven
Spanish soldiers died and six were wounded.
13. This siege by Sultan Mulay Abdallah lasted one hundred days. See Francisco Mir Berlanga (1983, 79-86).
14. de Morales, Efemrides y Curiosidades. Melilla, 1920; 172.
15. de Morales, Datos para la historia de Melilla, 1909, 544-5.
16. Ibid., 1909, 97.
17. See the excellent study on Spanish captives in North Africa by Ellen G. Friedman (1983).
18. See de Morales, Datos Para 1909, 604-18.
19. See de Morales, Efemrides 1920, 50.
20. On this point also see Ellen G. Friedman (1983, 57 ff.)
21. de Morales Efemrides 1920, 43, 32.
22. Ibid., 99.
23. Ibid., 156.
24. Taken from an article in the Telegrama de Melilla, 25 Dec. 1979.
25. Taken from "Documentos Sueltos, Cronista de la Ciudad," 1820-1855, Legajos 9-11, Archivo Municipal de
Melilla (A.M.M.).
26. Campo infiel literally means infidel country. This and the second case are based on "Documentos Sueltos,
Cronista de la Ciudad," 1820-1824, documento 4, folios 141-154, legajo 7; and, doc. 3, folios 38-84, legajo 8,
(A.M.M.).
27. "Documentos Sueltos, . . . ," doc. 3, folios 38-84, legajo 8, (A.M.M.).
28. de Morales, Efemrides 1920, 16, 87, 92-93, 195.
29. de Morales, Datos para 1909, 179.
30. The policies of Madrid more often than not clashed with the ideas, wishes and realities of the presidio.

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31. Legajo 11, 1853-1861, "Notario," doc. 193, folios 425-428; Legajo 12, 1862-1861, "Notario", doc. 34, folios 8489 (A.M.M.).
32. See the article in the Telegrama de Melilla, 28 Aug. 1976.
33. de Morales, Efemrides 1920, 156.
34. Ibid., 200.
35. Ibid., 96.
36. Ibid., 147.
37. Ibid., 228.
References
Blasco Lpez, Jos Luis. 1987. "La Vida Cotidiana de los Capuchinos en Melilla en el Siglo." 17, Trapana, Revista
de la Asociacin de Estudios Melillenses 1:20-22.
Braudel, Fernand. 1976. The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II. 2 Vols. Glasgow:
Fontana/Collins.
Brav Nieto, Antonio. 1987. "La Iglesia de la Purisima Concepcin en Melilla la Vieja." Trapana, Revista de la
Asociacin de Estudios Melillenses 1:22-29.
Castries, H. de. 1921. Les Sources Indites de l'historie de Maroc. Vol. I. Paris: Ernest Lerous; Madrid: Ruiz
Hermanos.
Driessen, Henk. 1985. "Mock Battles between Moors and Christians: Playing the Confrontation of Crescent with
Cross in Spain's South." Ethnologia Europaea 15:105-115.
Estrada y Paredes, J. A. 1769. Poblacin General de Espaa, sus Reynos, y Provincias, Ciudades, Villas, y Pueblos,
Islas Adyacentes, y Presidios de Africa. Vol. 2. Madrid: Imprenta de Andrs Ramirez.
Fernndez de Castro y Pedrera, R. 1911. El Rif. Los Territorios de Guelaia y Quebdana. Mlaga: Zambrana
Hermanos.
Friedman, Ellen G. 1983. Spanish Captives in North Africa in the Early Modern Age. Madison: The University of
Wisconsin Press.
Garca Figueras, T. 1944. Marruecos. La Accin de Espaa en el Norte de Africa. Madrid: Ediciones Fe.
Hart, David M. 1976. The Aith Waryaghar of the Moroccan Rif. An Ethnography and History. New York: Viking
Fund Publications. In Anthropology, 55. Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.

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Hess, Andrew C. 1978. The Forgotten Frontier. A History of the Sixteenth-Century Ibero-African Frontier. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press.
Jamous, Raymond. 1981. Honneur et Baraka: les Structures Sociales Traditionelles dans le Rif. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press; Paris: Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l'Homme.
Julien, C. A. 1970. History of North Africa. Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. Prom the Arab Conquest to 1830.
London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Mir Berlanga, Francisco. 1983. Melilla. Floresta de Pequeas Historias. Melilla: Ayunta-miento.
Morales, Gabriel de. 1909. Datos para la historia de Melilla. Melilla: Tip. el Telegrama del Rif.
. 1920. Efemrides y Curiosidades. Melilla, Peon y Alhucemas. Melilla: Tip. El Telegrama del Rif.
Rabinow, Paul. 1975. Symbolic Domination. Cultural Form and Historical Change in Morocco. Chicago: The
University of Chicago Press.
Seddon, David. 1981. Moroccan Peasants. A Century of Change in the Eastern Rif. Folkestone: Dawson.
Thomson, Ann. 1987. Barbary and Enlightment. European Attitudes Towards the Magreb in the 18th Century.
Leiden: Brill.

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13
License, Death, and Power: The Making of an Anti-Tradition
Mark Tate
Introduction
This essay documents and considers the formation of what I call ''anti-tradition" as it occurred and occurs within the
Holy Week ritual of the city of Len, northwest Spain (population 200,000). 1 Specifically, this "anti-tradition" can
be understood as a manifestation of license, which establishes a parallel with the form and imagery that is intrinsic to
the Passion of Christ. In a fundamental way it is an abridged parody of the Passion. Thus, the nature of the parallel it
establishes is one of antithesis: much of the symbolism that is embedded in Holy Week is here represented as a form
of inversion.2 The end result has become one in which humor, libation, disorder, and the imagery of amoral sexuality
are central. Indeed, it is these that provide this license with its sense of cohesion and relative autonomy within the
wider ritual.
In the present day, this license is spoken of as an "act" (acta) and goes under the title "The Burial of Genarn" (El
Entierrro de Genarn). Its content centers on the fictionalized character of "Genarn," which is taken from an actual
historical figure of the same name. In fact it was the accidental death of the latter that saw the commencement of the
act, ostensibly dedicated to his demise in 1929. What began as "a bit of humor" among a handful of friends has today
risen to become a "myth" (mito) and a "tradition" (tradicin) that involves

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thousands of predominantly youthful participants. The character of "The Burial of Genarn" can be generally
qualified as one of revelry.
All this makes for a very sharp contrast indeed with the wider Holy Week ritual. This is a ritual in which public
processions of pasos (loosely, "ceremonial floats") of the Passion abound. They last for over a week and are carried
out by predominantly male penitential confraternities and the clergy. Limitations of space prevent even a brief
discussion of this side of Holy Week. However two points are worthy of mention. This ritual has been undergoing a
series of changes both now and in the past, which have resulted in the ongoing making of a pageantry that is also
understood as a "tradition." Today the organization and performance of the processions are both elaborate and
formal, indeed, in some cases, meticulous. It is in terms of such order that "The Burial of Genarn" makes its
strongest contrast as anti-tradition. 3
There is now a considerable literature by anthropologists and historians of Europe and elsewhere on events
comparable to "The Burial of Genarn" (Babcock 1978; Turner 1974). It is reminiscent especially of Carnival
(Gilmore 1975; Le Roy Ladurie 1981; Silverman 1975, 157-167) and also the Abbeys of Misrule (Davis 1978; 1979,
97-123). There are many issues that have been raised by this literature that I cannot deal with here. Rather, my effort
is best understood as an attempt to capture one side of the manifestation of this license, namely, historical, in order to
look at what has made it both stable and unstable over time. In this way, it is possible to grasp some idea of its
charismatic nature and suggest to some extent what has made it so remarkably powerful in itself and within the wider
context of the Holy Week ritual.
The Making of Genarn
A Road Accident in 1929 . . .
What is today called "The Burial of Genarn" began in what appear, at least initially, as less than remarkable
circumstances. The initial event took place on 29 March, 1929 when a municipal garbage lorry accidentally knocked
down and killed a pedestrian by the outer section of the old walls, which partially enclose the old quarter. The site of
the accident is known as extra muros or "outer walls" which at one time divided the internal from the external space
of the city. It was also the location for some of the city brothels. A newspaper report of the

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accident appeared in a city newspaper, El Diario de Len, the following day. There was nothing of particular
importance about this fortuitous accident except the date. It occurred on Holy Friday, the day that commemorates the
death of Christ. It was this coincidence that inspired a small group of men "to remember" the anniversary of the
accident the following year.
The idea to celebrate the anniversary of the death of the victim resulted in the gradual development of a
commemorative act, a second, inverted via crucis, through the combination of elements of theater and ritual that
centered on ideas to do with "the tragedy of his death," "the virtues of his life," and the idea of his supernatural
presence in this world by means of "miracles." Much of this was articulated through a literary medium, namely,
poetry, as well as the oral medium of jokes, refrains, fables, legends, and lore. Indeed, it is the joining of these two
mediums that contributed decisively to its making as a memorable event. The remarkable result Was a fictionalized
character based on a merging of the Passion with certain actual events "rooted" in the specificity of the locality and a
particular side of its daily life.
One result of this process that today has given rise to much debate is the question of who is the "real" Genarn. It is
worth stressing that the victim was already a figure of particular interest in his actual life and from all accounts
widely known. This, too, undoubtedly contributed to the idea to celebrate the anniversary of his death. For this
reason, as well as to suggest why and where such interest was taken, some mention as to how he is recalled merits
attention.
The Historical Figure of Genarn . . .
The victim of the road accident was called "Genarn" or "Genaro." His surname was "Blanco y Blanco" indicating he
was an orphan (Llamazares 1984, 25-26). According to the newspaper account of the accident, he was approximately
sixty years of age when he died. By informants he is said to have done various types of odd jobs during his life such
as selling newspapers but was generally known as a pellejero or itinerant seller of rabbit skins. It is probable that
because of this kind of work that he is remembered primarily in terms of the domain of the public, namely, the streets
and market plazas. Little mention is made of the fact that he had a son and there is no mention of a family life. If
anything he is remembered as unconventional. He is described as a "beggar," a "poor one,'' and a "wretch"
(desgraciado). For children he was a source of apprehension as he was identified by mothers as the "bogeyman"
(coco). As one informant put it: "When children cried,

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mothers said 'Genarn is coming. he will carry you off!'" He is also called a "drunkard," who frequented the bars of
the old quarter and favored orujo, a colorless liquor fabricated from the residue of grapes, commonly consumed by
men both then and today. Finally he is described as "of the bad life" (de mala vida), associating with prostitutes and
the life of the brothel. Indeed it is worth citing that the historical Genarn is said to have belonged to "the redoubt of
drunkenness and the lower depths of the good-for-nothing Leones people" (Prez Herrero in Martinez Garca 1982,
493). In other words, Genarn represented the figure of the vagabond, associated with discredited people, whose
existence was not within the boundaries of acceptable, conventional morality.
The Genarn Myth and the Making of the Burial . . .
The idea to hold a commemorative act began in a simple form among a handful of friends (amigos), all men. In this
group figured a writer, who for many years earned his living as a dentist, an aristocrat, who squandered his wealth
and died in ruins, a football referee, and a taxi-driver. In the darkness of the early hours of Holy Friday 1930, they
returned through the streets of the old quarter to the site of the road accident by the old walls. There a romance was
read out. 4 Afterward, they drank some orujo and in this way ended the first, loosely formed commemorative act
dedicated to the anniversary of the death of Genarn.
Each year at Holy Week, they repeated the same thing, reading out a new romance and drinking orujo in the darkness
at the site of the accident. This went on until the commencement of the Civil War (1936) when it was voluntarily
discontinued until one year in the 1940s. Most of the romances were written by Prez Herrero, the writer of the
group.5 According to the latter, each year they thought up a different story about Genarn, a different way "to dress
him up." They drew on the aspects of the daily culture that they lived in, actual personalities such as themselves, and
a familiar context, the life and landmarks of the city, especially the neighborhoods of its old quarter. Prez Herrero
put this to me in the following way (interview April 1983):
"He [Genarn] had the custom of having a small drink of orujo every morning. But we didn't give him one
drink, we gave him twenty, all the drinks he would want to have. Then, already, this man is left portrayed
as a great drinker of all the harvests of

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orujo from all the bodegas. But it is not certain. He drank orujo some days but not with this thirst. But then
this man began to have a personality that we gave him. Indeed, afterward we were giving him a little of our
lives, our humanity, in other words, our thoughts, our way of living and thinking . . . giving him a life that
was not his: it was ours."
The main result was one of elaboration both in the form and content of the commemorative act. Dinners began to be
held in the taverns of the old quarter. These took place on Holy Thursday night and preceded the walk to the walls
after midnight. At these dinners the romances of the current year were read out. The walk to the walls was
punctuated by stops at the bars (tascas) establishing and marking the places where their Genarn frequented. At each
stop, romances were read aloud and orujo was consumed. As well, one member of the group was designated to climb
the old wall and leave a wreath, a bottle of orujo and some cheese on a ledge at the top. This they called "the
offering" (la ofrenda), the idea being to see if the "spirit" of Genarn would come down from heaven to drink orujo.
The members of this founding group also began to call themselves "evangelists" and "apostles" in the sense of
promoting a new "religion'' based on the virtues of the life of Genarn; the walk to the old wall came to be called a
"journey" and a "procession," and to his name were added the titles of "Father" and "Saint." To all this was added the
idea of the "miracle."
Prior to the prohibition of the commemorative act in 1957 three miracles are told 6:
1. The first is placed immediately after the death of Genarn. A prostitute, who lived nearby, came into the street and
covered his face with a newspaper. So impressed was she by the death of Genarn that she gave up her profession and
returned to her home in Galicia. This, according to Prez Herrero, represents the redemption of the prostitute. He told
me also that this idea was taken from the biblical figure of Mary Magdalene.
2. The second miracle is called "black" because of the misfortune it is said to have wrought. It recounts the repeated
disappearance of the orujo that was annually placed on the wall. The evangelists discovered that a night watchman
was stealing the orujo and so they "asked" Genarn to put an end to it. The following year, as the story goes, the
evangelists waited in the shadows and watched as the night watchman appeared,

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began climbing the wall and then fell, breaking his hip. For the rest of his life he walked with a limp.
3. The third miracle, perhaps the most famous of today, recounts how a miracle of Genarn saved the football team of
Len. In 1956 the team was on the verge of winning the championship but always lost in the new stadium that had
been built. It was said that the stadium was jinxed and once again Genarn was "called upon," this time to save the
team. On the night before the championship game a group went along to a brothel where they sang three Ave Marias.
Then they went on to the stadium at which orujo was sprinkled on various points of the playing field while a
romance was read out. The following day the team won the championship.
All these legends of miracles are also characteristic of holy images worshipped in churches and shrines (cf. Christian
1976, 57; 1978, 89).
The Prohibition
These developments were followed by an increase in the number of participants. There is a problem here since it is
not known by what rate the number of participants increased by. Certainly, according to Prez Herrero and every
other account I have, during the first years, the number was quite small; it hardly surpassed the founding group itself.
By 1957, Prez Herrero claims that there were as many as 1,500 participants, a quantum leap by any standards (Prez
Herrero in Martinez Garca 1982 494). 7 Nonetheless, this figure is clearly open to question. But even flit was closer
to a few hundred, it still provides an indication as to the significant degree to which the parody had gained appeal and
stepped well beyond its initial modest form amidst, by and for a handful of friends. It is even more significant, I
believe, when one bears in mind that the nature of this participation was open. There was little it any real
organization to the act beyond arranging a dinner, collecting a wreath, and getting bottles of orujo.8 Moreover, it was
not publicized beyond word of mouth, and, to my knowledge there were not any preordained "rules" about what was
to be done. In other words, there is no evidence to suggest that there was a concerted effort to draw more people into
the act. Rather, it appears that whoever showed up participated. What is clear is that the increase in the size of the
event made it widely visible and known in the city and the impact it had was to be decisive for its evolution.

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In 1957, events took a dramatically different turn. After Holy Week in this year, a severe critique of the act and its
participants appeared in one of the city newspapers. 9 In the opening lines of this front page article, the journalist
called the act "a manifestation of leftism" and the participants "republicans." These are very clear references
imputing a political content to the parody because they harken back to the conflicts of the Second Republic/Civil
War period (1931-1939) out of which arose the Dictatorship. In other words, the journalist accused the participants of
doing something at variance with the Dictatorship; this was not just prohibited but dangerous to be implicated in, to
say the least. It is also learned that the objections of this journalist had a second element to do with "correct" public
behavior and the treatment of the dead. He goes on to indict the act as "bad taste, vulgarity and alcoholism'': "One
cannot call gulping down wine and orujo humor nor reverence to the death of a poor man run over by a lorry . . . And
when it is dressed up in verses it is worse . . . It is nothing more than hooliganism and alcoholism." It is not hard to
see that the critique by the journalist had taken the defined order of the day, namely, Christian and civil morality, as
its standard in order to denounce the commemorative act and its authors.
Shortly after the article was published, the founding group was called before the civil governor to explain what they
had been doing by the old walls at Holy Week. They told him that it was a little humor among friends in which they
recited verses about a pellejero, who had been popular in Len. The civil governor responded that this represented a
problem of public order, that there were too many people in the street, that there was a procession earlier in the same
day, and, that humorous or not, it did not go well with the day. He told them that, if they were to change the date of
the act to another outside Holy Week, namely, the fiestas of the city in June, and saw to it that there were fewer
people, they could continue to hold the act. The founding group defiantly rejected the governor's "proposal" for two
reasons: first, because they were not in a position to say how many people could or could not participate and, second,
because to change the date would be to lose "the essence" (la esencia) of the act since a different date would not be
the anniversary of the death of Genarn. It was in these circumstances that they were obligated to stop the act, which
thereafter remained prohibited. However, the founding group remained adamant and for some years afterward they
held the act in secret. Nevertheless, the prohibition took its toll: the crowd had gone and the act was relegated to
secrecy.
Now, it is most notable that the founding group refused to alter the date of the act precisely because it would then no
longer be linked

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with the date of the death of Genarn. Actually, they were not celebrating the calendar date of the death of Genarn.
They were doing it on the very eve of the climax of Holy Week which, being based on the Hebrew calendar, is dated
according to the movement of the moon and is the first full moon after the vernal equinox of Spring that falls about
the calendar day of March 22 but may also occur at other dates between the end of March and the beginning of April.
They had linked the occasion of the death of Genarn to the very same calendar that ritually commemorates the death
of Christ. Indeed the date is the starting point for the parody they created, in terms of the inversion of key Catholic
notions such as the miracle, redemption, and sacrifice largely centered on the Passion, and strongly defined by the
urban milieux of the old quarter of the city.
A second point needs to be made here. This parody of the Passion arose during the turbulent period of the 1930s in
Spain. At the center of this political storm was the controversial position of the Catholic church. The Republican
governments of the period broke relations with the Church and sharply curtailed many of the privileges it had
previously enjoyed. This policy widely divided the population and, together with the other political movements of
the day, resulted in situations of confrontation and violence. One may well ask, then, if this parody was perhaps a
reaction to these wider events, if the accusation of the journalist did indeed hold, in this sense, some validity.
Broadly speaking, it is difficult not to see some significance in the particular moment when this parody came into
existence, namely, one in which the traditional icons of authority were under siege, unstable, and unclear. However,
before taking this any further it would be well to retrace our steps by recalling that the whole thing began in the form
of humor and that making jokes about Catholicism was and is commonplace in this culture (Brandes 1980, 177-204).
Prez Herrero and his friends were if anything representative of a particularly bohemian life-style entrenched in a
more general side of daily life that was and continues to be eminently masculine, particularly in relation to the
context of the tavern and bar. And it is within this kind of context that such humor can and does originate (Brandes
1981; Driessen 1983). Yet it is equally clear that the ensuing events were far more than just any joke. What
contributed decisively to the making of the parody and its making into a fairly cohesive entity in its own right, was
the imagination of a writer.
During the conversations I had with Prez Herrero, he talked about the romances and the personality of Genarn as
having been inspired from the literary tradition of the picaresque. Such literature

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takes as its starting point the character of the picaro, that is, the amusing vagabond or rogue, the trickster, detached
from the bonds of family and kinship, and who, in the words of Barbara Babcock (1978, 103), "seems to hang on the
fringes of the city." The picaresque novel narrates the adventures of such a character by taking him into situations
that can be understood as inversions of the accepted and seemingly immutable morality of the day (Babcock 1978, 95116). What is evidently different about the picaresque of Genarn is its theatrical quality lifting it from strictly the
context of the written word into the context of the street, thanks to the mediating role of the writer.
All this is suggestive of the particular interest in the historical and mythical figure of Genarn. However, what is of
equal significance is the wider context in which such interest was molded, namely, a powerful ritual. The kind of
humor that is manifested by this parody is a mockery of that ritual. Indeed one can understand such humor as a form
of resistance to it. However, it is a type that deserves to be considered in its context and especially the historical
context.
The ideas that went into this parody were, in their earliest form, a particular kind of discourse representing "a bit of
humor," a source of amusement among friends. That these events unfolded at a time when the Catholic church faced
a profound challenge is not insignificant but neither does it appear as having been the force of ignition. Prez Herrero
and his friends were not acting as members of a political movement but rather as bohemians and impenitents. Indeed,
there is no indication that the struggles of the period had a specific bearing on the beginnings of the parody and, if
anything, the direct and violent confrontation with the Church demonstrates a marked contrast with these beginnings.
10
What Prez Herrero and his friends saw as a good idea in their original notion to celebrate the anniversary of the
death of Genarn on the eve of the climax of Holy Week, began to carry "weight" once elaboration was added. This
elaboration gave it the "roots" of specificity and cohesion through form, continually enhancing its performance. Once
it was defined in this way it seems to have provided sufficient reason for continuance. However, such continuance
led it into a wider situation of a different kind from its commencement. This is the situation of the post-Civil War
period in which a new order had arisen upon the ruins of the last, one which finds church and state enjoined in a wellknown marriage. Throughout this period Catholicism had been appropriated and proclaimed as a force of "unity" for
the peoples of Spain. That which was taken to be or otherwise implied ''something" to the contrary of this order
represented a challenge not to be tolerated. As I understand it, this did not occur until the parody had become a

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sizeable event in its own right, one that made it visible and subject to the scrutiny, question, and pronouncements of
those who held the reins of authority. The result of the prohibition was to give the whole thing a stamp labeled
"political." Thus, the image of Genarn, the savior of prostitutes and football teams, the patron of bohemians, came to
include an epoch of the Left and vanishes in the wake of persecution. And it was such imagery and the circumstance
of the disappearance of the parody that had much to do with its reappearance at a major turning point in the political
evolution of Spain.
The Return of Genarn
In Search of a Past . . .
The reappearance of the Genarn parody began in the midst of a period of global change: the step by step
construction of a democratic system of government after the death of the dictator Francisco Franco in 1975. Indeed
the idea to start up the parody again was a reaction to and effectively became part of this period of change.
Talk of the Genarn parody began within a small theatrical group "La Fragua." The participants had been doing what
one member qualified as "subversive theater against what was the dictatorship of this country." They abandoned this
kind of theater during what is now called "the transition." They began to look for other kinds of theater, among
which was considered the idea of doing something ''purely of the Leones tradition." It was recalled that there had
once been a group of poets who used to go to the old walls and read romances about the city of Len.
Intrigued by this story and especially with the idea of doing something that belonged to a past that for many young
people was largely unknown, some members set out to find people who knew something about what had gone on.
This led them fairly quickly to an aging Prez Herrero, who once again took up the role of a mediator, by providing
the link between the past and present versions of the parody. He told them the story of Genarn, his friends, the act
they had put together, and offered them the romances.
At Holy Week in 1978, the theatrical group was ready to perform the act again. They printed and posted a "mortuary
notice" (esquela mortuoria) announcing the time and place of the performance. (See figure 13-1.)

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Figure 13-1
Some of these were torn down by the police, an indication of problems to come.
For the first two years, the performance of the parody faced much difficulty with the police. They broke up the
performance in 1978 and gave clear warnings that they would do so again. The problem with the police was that the
parody continued to hold an illegal status, which the civil authorities were prepared to enforce. At this time, the
transition from the previous regime to the present one was far from complete. By 1980 the situation changed
decisively as a result of the first democratic municipal elections. One of the elected councillors to the town hall for
the socialist P.S.O.E. party was also one of the coordinating group that arose from the theatrical group. 11 He
obtained tacit support of the town hall on the basis that the parody represented a "cultural" manifestation and not a
"political" one. However, this did not mean that the parody had become "legal" in the sense that a civil authority had
granted written, official approval. Indeed the ambiguity between the legal and prohibited status of the parody
lingered on for some time afterward and allowed for a pseudo-clandestine halo to hang over the entire event.
By the end of the 1970s, a small group had formed to organize the procedure and particular content of the
performance. Some days before Holy Thursday each year, this group would meet, discuss new ideas, and make
plans. They began to hold dinners in restaurants of the old quarter on Holy Thursday night where the romances were
recited. It was during these first dinners that certain innovations were made. The participants called themselves
"brothers" and "sisters" of the "Confraternity of Our Father Genarn." Prez Herrero was named

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"abbott", the titular head of the confraternity and the more prominent members, "apostles" and "evangelists." This
was later taken a step further when Prez Herrero was named ''pope . . . of a new religion . . . that of Genarn." The
apostles were then called "bishops" and the annual reading of the romances an "encyclical." Some of the participants
said this was going too far, that it was offensive to people with serious beliefs. Nevertheless, these ideas remained in
a relatively permanent way. It was also at this time that the act received the title "The Burial of Genarn." (See figure
13-2.)
All these examples show how the same body of ideas and acts set down prior to the prohibition were carried on into
the present-day. At the same time, one also notices how malleable this parody is. No longer is this just a parody that
focuses mostly on the Passion; it now includes the hierocracy of the Catholic church and the idea of the confraternity.
The contemporary participants interpret and add to what they see as something from their past. Such additions have
not happened without disagreement and indicate an awareness that they carried a potential for division and
confrontation. Finally, one cannot overlook a fundamental change in the status of the parody. No longer is it just "a
bit of humor" among friends. It now carries the force of a tradicin representing, as one informant put it, "a little bit
of the traditional life of Len." These kinds of continuities and changes were matched by others having to do with the
remarkable way the parody came to be enacted.
Youth Revolt and the Second Burial . . .
Almost from the start the basic idea for the performance of "The Burial of Genarn" was that of a procession that had
as its climax the stop at the wall. For the most part this idea was an attempt to keep it to its original form, that is as it
was understood to have been done by Prez Herrero and his friends. It was explained to me in the following way
(interview April 1983):
"It is a procession that has a connection with the stations of the cross. I don't know if you know what this
is. Have you ever seen the inside of churches in Spain? Well, all the churches have tiny crosses around the
whole church . . . I don't know how many falls Christ had when he was carrying the cross . . . I don't know
if there are seven or ten falls . . . anyway, there are so many stops in the procession as there are in the
station of the cross. This is the idea that one does during The Burial."

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The 'mortuary notice' of 1978


Figure 13-2

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As it turned out the number of stops actually made varied from year to year but followed a fairly consistent route.
Usually, there had been a stop at a narrow street next to the bishop's residence, then another before the cathedral, a
third at the wall, a fourth in the Plaza Mayor, and the last at one of the oldest plazas of the city. The entire route
moves through the central parts of the old quarter, along the outer side of part of its walled boundary very near to a
former portal of the city, and then back into another part of the old quarter. However, this is not to suggest that the
participants marched along to a particular point, stopped to listen to a poetry recital, and then continued on to the
next one. Each year there were more participants and it became increasingly difficult to hear the romances. This was
not because of the size of the crowd but rather because of the noise and continuous interruptions that came from
some of the participants. A clear example of this situation is provided by a member of the theatrical group who
describes the first time she participated (interview April 1983):
"Poems were given out that were to be read by the people from the group. They gave me one or two which
I was to read in a place on the route. I didn't know how it was, it was my first experience of' Genarn.' I was
going to do my job seriously, read some poems that I had been preparing. As it turned out, I found myself
with a mass of people, around 500 or so, who were drunk and to whom the poetry didn't matter. As well,
they didn't really hear me. I was reading and they interrupted continually and I got really angry. Over the
years we have been getting used to them annoying us and boycotting the poetry and the whole act, and now
it doesn't matter to us. This year [1983] we got to the point where we stopped reading as nobody paid any
attention."
In a very short period of time, a remarkable development had occurred in which the crowd had come to hold a role
on par with if not greater than that of the coordinators. The conscious attempt to hold a theatrical-like presentation of
"The Burial of Genarn" in which parts were assigned to a sequence-oriented presentation broke down in many ways.
The idea to hold the act within a more or less intimate setting among friends, who wanted to listen to the romances,
and associated stories gave way to a bigger, noisier, and rowdier scenario. Quite unexpectedly another "Burial" had
emerged in the midst of the first.
This situation brought about much disagreement among the coordinators. Some were annoyed by the drunkenness
and rowdiness

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that they saw was a violation of the "original" and "authentic" form of the act. They wanted to find ways of
controlling the crowd. Others were against this and argued that the event should run its course, that this was its
''spontaneity." Each year this issue was debated back and forth and became a source of division and bad temper.
A further division arose out of the publication of a book in 1981 under the title El Entierro de Genarn (Llamazares
1981; 1984). The book is written as a humorous narrative about the Genarn character and is heavily based on the
romances and associated stories of Prez Herrero. The appearance of the book had two results. First it served to
promote the act in an unprecedented way and second, it opened up a deep division of factions among the
coordinators.
Much controversy arose over the way the book had been written and presented. It was widely objected that the book
did not credit Prez Herrero as the real author of most of the romances, associated stories, and the commemorative
act itself. Moreover, it was strongly felt that the book misrepresented the actual history of the event by rendering to it
a pseudo-biblical form that could lead the wider public to believe as having some sense of validity, historical or
otherwise, of Genarn what in fact had been invented in his name.
In this dispute it is seen that the literary element of the act, once a key source of inspiration and esteem, had become
one of its most damaging sides. This together with the issue of "control" and "disorder" of the crowd led a number of
the first participants to quit "The Burial" either temporarily or permanently, and resulted in controversies in the local
press. 12 Yet these divisions did not curtail the performance as I soon learned the first time I participated in 1982.
The Struggle for "Order" and "Disorder"
The first thing that needs to be given is some idea of who and how many people participate in "The Burial of
Genarn." The size of the crowd is something that is not entirely clear. This is partly because the number of
participants has been rising in substantial proportions since 1978 when there were well under 100. The coordinators
have made doubtful claims of between six and ten thousand participants for the years 1982-1984. For each year they
have also claimed there were more participants than the previous one. (This was also my impression.) A more
conservative and admittedly rough estimation puts the figure at two and three thousand for 1982 and 1983. (In 1984,
the crowd was much larger and there may have been as many as eight thousand although it is more likely that it was
closer to six thousand.)

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Exactly how many people participate is something that may never be known, because the act takes place in the dead
of night and everyone is constantly moving around, making it very difficult to obtain precise figures.
The year 1984 is of particular significance because on Palm Sunday (April 15) an article appeared in the weekend
magazine of the national daily El Pais about "The Burial of Genarn." It is probably no coincidence that four days
later on Holy Thursday a large front page article appeared in El Diario de Len about Prez Herrero and the act. The
next day, Holy Friday, another front page articel in La Hora Leonesa, the other city newspaper. Additionally, by this
year "The Burial of Genarn" had been talked about on local, regional and national radio programs. Ail this media
coverage erased once and for all any lingering doubts as to the pseudo-clandestine character of the act and probably
contributed to the huge size of the crowd in that year. 13
The great majority of the participants share one thing in common. They are by and large young people between the
ages of eighteen and thirty. It is probable that there are more men than women, as parents are not inclined to permit
their daughters to leave home at night. Nevertheless, I was not able to make a clear judgment in this respect and
many of the photographs I have show numerous female participants. It would be misleading to assume from this that
the participating group is exclusive to a particular class or occupation even though there are many students involved.
Anyone can participate although it is undoubtedly "youth" (juventud) that predominates.
My initial participation in 1982 was virtually by accident. I had been observing the processions of Holy Week as well
as the intense socialization that is central to them. It was then approaching eleven o'clock at night on Holy Thursday.
I and a few others, having had dinner, were on the point of going out for a drink when the brother of one of the latter
suggested that we go along to the cathedral to hear some poetry. He said that a bottle of orujo was the thing to take
and drink while listening to the poetry. We were unable to get any orujo on short notice and so this man gave us a
bottle of grain alcohol from his bar. The people I was with knew little of what we were going to see except it was
"something new" and "a lot of fun." One of them later recalled that a book had recently been published about it and
so would lend me a copy if I so desired. When we arrived at the indicated streets, we found ourselves caught up in
the midst of a large, noisy crowd of mostly young and highly animated men and women. The narrow side streets
were so packed with people that, at points, it was virtually

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impossible to move except when one was almost literally carried along by the movement of the crowd. There was a
great deal of shouting, chanting, clapping, and much laughter.
My first impression was one of utter amazement because what I was seeing represented such a complete contrast not
only to the solemnity and seriousness of the processions, but also to the relatively reserved day-to-day life that one
becomes very quickly accustomed to in Len. I estimated that there were hundreds of people jammed up together at
that moment, although shortly afterward I found there were many more as we spilled into larger plazas and streets
that were filled to capacity. Indeed, the first and most striking thing about the manifestation of "The Burial of
Genarn" was what hits one in the face from the start: the activity of the crowd.
The most prevalent characteristic of the crowd is found in the noise that goes on from the start to finish of the entire
event. At certain moments the noise is so overwhelming that it is impossible to hold a normal conversation. It
consists of combinations of shouting, hooting, chanting, cheering, singing, clapping, and whistling in addition to
animated conversation among the participants. What is striking about the noise is that it is not, for the most part,
coordinated or orchestrated. For example, someone may start up a particular chant or simply shout out repeatedly the
name "Genarn!" This is then frequently, if momentarily, taken up by others and sometimes "ripples" back and forth
through a good part of the crowd at hand which, when it dies out, is followed by clapping, cheers, and laughter. This
is not to say that this happens in a unitary way. Rather, the kinds of noises that I have listed above happen
simultaneoulsy in different parts of the crowd. Generally speaking, this is why the noise is so overwhelming. Indeed,
it is such overwhelmingness that the coordinators and participants alike returned to time and again in interviews. For
the coordinators, the revelry of the crowd has not only limited their preconceived plans in a current year but very
often has thwarted them entirely.
The relationship between the crowd and the coordinators is analogous to the motion of a seesaw. On the one hand
there are repeated attempts by the coordinators to bring order to the crowd. This happens at stops along the
procession route when they try to recite romances, lead a chant or a song. They are never entirely successful, much to
their dismay. The participants repeatedly challenge them by, for example, shouting back or indirectly, by not paying
attention. In an effort to overcome this situation, the coordinators have used public address systems to speak over the
crowds. These have been mounted variously on a cart (1982), a van (1983), and a lorry (1984).

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However, each successive attempt failed to achieve the desired ends. AH the vehicles were rocked back and forth
and very nearly turned over; bottles were thrown before the wheels of the van. Above all, the noise of the crowd was
never drowned out by the PA system. Indeed, it is nearly impossible to hear what is being said over the PA system
unless one is next to the vehicle. At the same time, many people at the outer parts of the crowd are only haft listening
because they are talking, drinking, or whatever amongst themselves. The only moment when there is a sort of unison
between the crowd and the coordinators is at the climax when the man carrying the wreath and the orujo is climbing
the wall. Most everyone watches this with intense anticipation. When he reaches the top and places the wreath and
the orujo, there is a huge roar of approval from the crowd and everyone goes on watching until he is safely on the
ground again. Then the boisterousness of the crowd amidst calls from the coordinators begins anew.
All this may leave the impression that it is the crowd that has the upper hand. This is not exactly so. The role of the
coordinators through the act is one of a focal point. For all the rowdiness that comes from the crowd, it nevertheless
moves in response to the movements of the coordinators. Moreover, the coordinators manage to achieve partial
success in their efforts to direct the act. For example, in 1984, the coordinators started out by singing what they
called "the hymn of the year." This was given a trial practice by the coordinators who sang it with the crowd at hand.
By the end of the act, the participants were singing it at times among themselves and at times in unison with the
coordinators. As well the cheers and chants initiated by the coordinators nearly always get a partial response from the
crowd. What the coordinators fail to achieve is silence, which they would like to have in order to recite the romances.
When they yell themselves hoarse trying to get it the reaction of the crowd is frequently one of making more noise
than before. In other words, there is an ongoing "tug of war" taking place between the coordinators and the crowd. In
a general way, the crowd effectively prevents the coordinators from taking charge in a complete way. This does not
stop them entirely from reciting romances in the midst of the din or carrying out other aspects of the act. In many
ways, this back and forth between crowd and coordinators is an essential feature of the contemporary version of "The
Burial of Genarn."
Much of the preceding description already implies a great deal about the general atmosphere that appears during the
act, one which can be understood as a form of license. Indeed one of the coordinators once referred to "The Burial of
Genarn" as "a night of wildness" (una noche de desfreno). There is undoubtedly some validity to this remark

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especially in the way the whole event contrasts with the wider Holy Week. However, some care needs to be taken
here because "the wildness" of this act is not upon observation as unlimited as the word might imply. 14 In order to
make this somewhat clearer I would like to briefly go into the kind of emotional expression that appears during "The
Burial of Genarn."
The atmosphere of "The Burial of Genarn" can be understood as composed of two features. On the one hand there is
much hilarity and merriness: broad smiles are found on the faces of many of the participants, and there is a great deal
of laughter throughout. There is also a degree of amiability and commensality among the participants. Salutations are
open and familiar. I observed bottles of orujo and wine passed among people who did not know each other. I myself
was approached on a number of occasions by people I did not know or indeed ever saw again. They offered me orujo
and tobacco and struck up friendly conversations usually inquiring about the camera and the tape recorder I was
carrying. It was striking the way the people jumped into dramatic and exaggerated poses when they saw I was about
to take a photograph. More examples could be added; this shows the kind of good-naturedness and fun that is
manifested.
At the same time, an element of antagonism is found to be present. This is most clearly seen in the ongoing
"struggle" between the coordinators and the participants. There is also the example of the forceful way empty bottles
are continually smashed on the pavement. In this there is a certain destructiveness at work which, on one occasion,
focused on the attempt to puncture the tires of the van used by the coordinators. There have also been two examples
of open confrontation when direct protest was manifested. The first and most serious occurred in 1982 when a
handful of participants separated themselves from the movement of the crowd and chanted angrily at Bishop
Sebastian Aguilar beneath a window of his residence.15 The second happened in 1983 when one of the coordinators,
acting individually, introduced explicit references to a current political issue at the climax of the act.16
All these examples show another side of the event, which holds qualities of ambiguity and uncertainty. It is this
uneasy balance that has had much to do with the overall ambience of the event, one that is imbued with effervescence
and vitality. This is partly possible as a result of the open ended nature of participation, and the looseness in the way
the act is organized and especially how it happens. Such features are telling about the way this act holds a position
that is flexible and unstable. The flexibility represents a potential for change and/or modification in a number of
possible directions. As it stands

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there is a content and a clear form to the event without which it would be simply indiscernible and amorphous. The
contemporary "wildness" of "The Burial of Genarn" comes from what is implied by the content of the act, within the
wider context of Holy Week and especially the historical context of the present-day. Such "wildness" is not,
however, unlimited and the same potential that allows its existence could alter its form. This is to say that the
ongoing manifestation of ''The Burial of Genarn" is one that is in the process of being defined.
The principal developments since 1984 have been of further elaboration and a tendency toward stabilization. 17 The
theatrical group has incorporated fireworks and large puppets very similar to the "bigheads" that appear in parades at
annual fiestas (cf. Brandes 1980, 17-36; Fernandez 1984). These puppets represent Genarn and "La Moncha," the
latter depicting the prostitute inspired from the biblical scenario of Mary Magdalene. They have also incorporated a
paso holding a large barrel representing orujo as well as a wreath, oranges, and candles. The paso is carried by young
men wearing hoods and is accompanied by drums. Thus, the procession has adopted the imagery and practices
identical to those of the wider Holy Week processions. Of further note in this respect is the way the crowd opened a
path to let the procession through, although shortly afterward, this orderliness dissolved into the same kind of
"chaos" that predominated in earlier years. The death of Prez Herrero in June of 1986 had little impact on the
continuance of "The Burial" although he is missed by many.
What is happening today with "The Burial of Genarn" is a result of a number of earlier historical situations that I
have attempted to outline. Each of these situations has something unique to itself but in each one enough is added or
given to it so that it is carried or taken into the next. It commences at a significant historical moment in a relatively
unremarkable way as "a bit of humor" among a handful of friends. Gradually it takes on a more particular shape in
relation to a powerful ritual through the role of a writer. This adds elaboration, the "roots" of specificity, cohesion,
and autonomy of form. However, it is carried into a sharply altered historical situation that eventually leads to its
end. At this moment, however, a condition is set for its reappearance when it is linked by and with powerful political
forces. It materializes again in the movement between two major historical periods and is brought there by "youth"
who discover in it a "tradition." In all these moments and particularly in the present there is a considerable and
remarkable degree of malleability that allows this license to be shaped and reshaped. Indeed today such malleability
seems almost to be the central issue. Thus far the energetic efforts of the

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"youth" have prevented it from becoming an institution. For these participants "The Burial" continues to carry a
certain notion of charisma that joins a particular past with the present, namely, "liberty" (libertad). Thus, the image
of Genarn is given another piece of clothing, that of the emissary of a new era. 18
Notes
This essay is based on fieldwork, that began at the end of 1981 and lasted until early in 1983. Return visits were
made from 1983 until the summer of 1987. I am very grateful to the Central Research Fund, the Social Sciences and
Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation For Anthropological Research for grants
that made the first stages of this research possible. I would like to thank the organizers and participants of the
conference on "Religious Regimes and State-Formation" for their comments and the opportunity to present an earlier
version of this essay. I would also like to thank Malcolm Blincow, Maurice Bloch, William A. Christian Jr., Joan
Frigol, Lori Fritz, Jonathan Parry, and Ricardo Sanmartin for their comments and suggestions on this material.
1. This figure is approximate and incorporates the population of the municipality of the city of Len and the
dependent villages and settlements of the surrounding area. In 1981 the municipality had a population of just over
131,000 and had risen to just under 138,000 by 1986 (Padrn municipal 1981; Instituto Nacional de Eastadistica
1981; Lpez Trigal 1987, 24-30).
2. For a thorough discussion of this concept see Babcock (1978, 13-36) as well as the essays in the same volume.
3. Portions of this paper have appeared in a shorter version in Spanish (Tate 1986).
4. I use the English "romance" here for the purpose of consistency in the text. However, informants also used the
words "poem" and "verses."
5. Examples of these romances can be found in Prez Herrero (1961) and have been reproduced in Julio Llamazares
(1981; 1984).
6. These miracles were recounted to me by Prez Herrero. They have been reproduced in Julio Llamazares (1981,
133-149; 1984, 97-106).
7. This citation refers to a valuable statement by Prez Herrero of how he and his friends began the Genarn parody
up to the prohibition.
8. It is said that it was the aristocrat who paid for the dinners and orujo (cf. Llamazares 1984, 59).

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9. The full text of the article is reprinted in Llamazares 1981, 86, 106-108.
10. For an example of the confrontation with the Church at this time see Bruce Lincoln (1985).
11. Partido Socialista Obrere Espaol (a national political party).
12. This refers to a pointed critique of the book (Garca 1984).
13. Until 1984 the local newspapers had made only minimal mention of "The Burial" although a short article
appeared in 1977 by Manuel A. Nicolas (Consejo 1977).
14. This refers especially to the fact that not everyone is drinking and not everyone who drinks gets drunk.
15. This happened in association with a confraternity event which coincided with "The Burial of Genarn." It resulted
in the brief detention of one of the coordinators and strong warnings to the others. It also solidified widespread
although not absolute opposition to "The Burial of Genarn" among the confraternities and the clergy.
16. The issue was whether the region of Len would receive a political autonomy in its own right or would be joined
with Castile.
17. This paragraph is based on observations in 1986 and in 1987.
18. Byway of a concluding note, I would like to mention that toward the end of the period of research, I began to
hear of parallel developments in the Basque Country and Cuenca. I can say little of these except that they are
associated with images of Christ and the Virgin, Holy Thursday night, and Holy Friday, "youth" and drinking. In
view of the way events have unfolded in Len, I believe such developments merit further inquiry.
References
Babcock, Barbara. 1987. "Introduction." In The Reversible World, edited by Barbara Babcock. London: Gornell
University Press.
. 1978. "Liberty's a Whore: Inversions, Marginalia and the Picaresque Narrative." In The Reversible World, edited by
Barbara Babcock. London: Gornell University Press.
Brandes, Stanley, 1980. Metaphors of Masculinity. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

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. 1981. "Like Wounded Stags: Male Sexual Ideology in an Andalusian Town." In Sexual Meanings: The Cultural
Construction of Gender and Sexuality, edited by Sherrey B. Ortner & H. Whitehead. Cambridge: University Press.
Christian, William A., Jr. 1976. "De los Santos a Maria: Panorama de las Devociones a Santuarios Espanoles Desde
el Principio de La Edad Media Hasta Nuestros Dias." In Temas de Antropologa Espaola, edited by C. Lison
Tolosana. Madrid: Akal.
.1978. Religiosidad Popular. Madrid: Editoral Tecnos.
Davis, Natalie Zemon. 1978. "Women on top: Symbolic Sexual Inversion and Political Disorder in Early Modern
Europe." In The Reversible World, edited by Barbara Babcock. London: Cornell University Press.
.1979. "The Reasons of Misrule." In Society and Culture in Early Modern France. Stanford, California: University
Press.
Driessen, Henk. 1983. "Male Sociability and Rituals of Masculinity in Rural Andalusia." Anthropological Quarterly
56 (3):125-133.
Fernandez, James W. 1984. "Convivial Attitudes: The Ironic Play of Tropes in an International Kayak Festival in
Northern Spain." In Text, Play and Story: The Construction and Reconstruction of Self and Society, edited by E. M.
Brunner. Washington: The American Ethnological Society.
Garca, Santiago. 1984. "Del Entierro de Genarn." Len Quincenal 4-19:2.
Gilmore, David D. 1975. "'Carneval' in Fuenmayer: Class Conflict and Social Cohesion in an Andalusian Town."
Journal of Anthropological Research 31:331-349.
Le Roy Ladurie, Emmanuel. 1981. Carnival in Romans. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books Ltd.
Lincoln, Bruce. 1985. "Revolutionary Exhumations in Spain, July 1936." Comparative Studies in Society and History
27 (2):241-260.
Llamazares, Julio. 1981. El Entierro de Genarn. Len: Ediciones del Teleno.
.1984. El Entierro de Genarn. 2d ed. Madrid: Editorial Ayuso.
Lpez Trigal, Lorenzo. 1987 La Ciudad de Len y su alfoz. Len: Graficas Celarayn.
Martinez Garca, Francisco. 1982. Historia de la Literatura Leonesa. Len: Editorial Everest.
Nicolas, Manuel A. 1977. "Orujo y Poesia en una Fiesta de Locos." Consejo 4:31-33.

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Prez Herrero, Francisco P. 1961. Retablo Leones. 2d ed. Len: Graficas Lancia/Ediciones Fragua.
Silverman, Sydel. 1975. Three Bells of Civilization. New York: Columbia University Press.
Tate, Mark. 1986. "Tradicin y Humorismo en la Semana Santa de la Ciudad de Len." In Etnologia y Folklore en
Castilla y Len, edited by L. Diaz Viana. Salamanca: Europa Artes Graficas/Junta de Castilla Y Len.
Turner, Victor. 1974. Dramas, Field and Metaphors. Cornell: University Press.
Newspapers Consulted
1.El Diario de Len: March 30 1929; April 19 1984.
2.La Hora Leonesa: April 20 1984.
3.El Pals: April 15 1984.
4.La Proa: Spring 1957.

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List Contributors
Professor Mart Bax is attached to the Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics of the Vrije Universiteit,
Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Dr. William A. Christian Jr. is a free-lance anthropologist.
Dr. Tom Inglis is attached to the National Association of Adult Education in Dublin, Ireland.
Professor David I. Kertzer is attached to the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of Bowdoin College,
Brunswick, Maine.
Dr. Adrianus Koster is attached to the Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics of the Vrije Universiteit,
Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Dr. Peter Loizos is attached to the Department of Anthropology of the London School of Economics and Political
Science, London, United Kingdom.
Dr. Daniel Meijers is attached to the Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics of the Vrije Universiteit,
Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Dr. Susan P. Pattie is attached to the Department of Anthropology of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor,
Michigan.
Professor Jane Schneider is attached to the Ph.D. program in Anthropology of the Graduate School and University
Center of the City University of New York, New York.
Dr. Mark Tare is attached to the Department of Anthropology of the Memorial University of Newfoundland, St.
John's, Newfoundland, Canada.
Professor Alex Weingrod is attached to the Department of Behavioral Sciences of the Ben Gurion University of the
Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel.
Professor Eric IL Wolf is attached to the Department of Anthropology of the Herbert H. Lehman College of the City
University of New York, New York

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Index
A
Abouhatzeira, Rabbi Israel, 80, 81
Adami, Dr. Eddie Fenech, 117
Adoration, of the Magi, The (Botticelli), 233
Agrarian modernization, 18
Alone of All Her Sex: the Myth and Cult of the Virgin Mary (Warner): organization of, 221-224
Ami, Ben, 76, 78, 79
Ancestor worship. See Prior inhabitants, reverence for
Anderson, Benedict, 158
Animism, European peasant: and human and natural resources, 182, 195;
earth and ancestral spirits and, 181, 184, 185-188, 189-203;
in contrast to salvationist religions, 182, 188, 191, 205, 210;
the conciliatory nature of, 185-188;
the early-modern witch-hunt as final solution to, 206-210. See also Equity, the animistic ethics of
Annales school, 182
Anthropology, one-sidedness as regards religion in, 7, 23, 56, 134
Anticlericalism: among the Dutch Brabantian lay elite, 17;
in Republican Spain, 268
Anti-tradition: the making of an, 261-262;
becoming tradition, 272, 281
Apostasy and conversion: in Spanish North African enclaves, 246, 250-253
Apparitions, Marian, 36-37, 38, 43;
and clerical rivalry, 19-20, 22-23;
and clerical rivalry in Bosnia-Hercegovina, 29-30, 40-41, 45-47, 50n.18, 50-51n.21, 51n.21, 51n.24
Armenian Apostolic church, the: as nation-saving vehicle, 153-161
Armenian national identity, and religion, 153-161
Asad, Talal, 23

Asceticism, Jewish, 144


Ataturk, Mustafa Kemal, 87
Authentication (of a devotion), 176
Autonomy, the relative: of religious processes, 9
B
Ba'al Shem Tov, Rabbi Israel, 140-141, 144, 145
Baba Sali, the. See Abouhatzeira, Rabbi Israel
Babcock, Barbara, 269
Bad and good: as twin set of cosmic principles, 189
Badone, Ellen, 200
Baraka (Islamic supernatural power), 241-242
Barbarism versus civilization, 237, 256
Barbary Corsairs: and Spanish expansion, 238, 239
Barthes, Roland, 223
Bax, Mart: on religious regimes and state-formation, 73, 99, 106, 122, 126n.27, 134-135, 146, 183
Beauvoir, Simone de, 232

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Becket, Saint Thomas , 22


Beidelman, T. O., 185
Beersheba (Israel): pilgrimage site in, 74, 79
Belief, official (learned) versus popular (folk): and power relations between religious regimes, 20;
and the rise of capitalism, 181-183, 197, 198, 200, 203, 210
Benandanti ("good walkers"; early modern Italian animistic specialists), 206-207
Bossy, John, 196-197, 203-204
Botticelli, Sandro, 233
Bourgeoisie, the: and the civilizing process in Ireland, 63, 64, 66, 68;
lacking in Poland, 136-137, 148n.4
Branko, Father, pseudonym for the parish priest of Medjugorje), 35-37
Braudel, Fernand, 237, 240
Bribes: as payments to secular authorities, 51n.21
Brgger, Jan, 185
Bruno, Giordano, 98
Buhagiar, Mario (Maltese informant), 127n.35
Bultmann, Rudolf, 160
C
Cabala (Jewish mysticism), 140, 147n.1
Campin, Robert, 232-233
Canon Law, 107, 113;
and the Medjugorje devotion, 34, 38, 39, 41, 50n.16
Canonization process, the: becoming centrally controlled, 13, 202;
lay devotion and, 177
Capital, disciplining, 211-212
Capitalism: the rise of, and the Christian reform, 181, 195, 210-211;
and the doctrine of Purgatory, 199;
disenchantment and the rise of, 183;
the spirit of, 184

Capuchins, the, 170, 243


Casaroli, Msgr. Agostino, 114, 124n.15
Cassirer, Ernst, 86, 90
Catholicism. See Roman Catholic church, the; Vatican, the
Chippewa bear ceremonialism, 186
Chmielnicki, Bogdan (Cossack hetman): pogroms led by, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143
Chouri, Rabbi Chayim, 74-75, 78-81. See also Hillula; Zaddik
Christ: as a model for men, 225-227;
being pacific, 13;
in the Sermon on the Mount, 193
Christian doctrine: contradictory aspects of, 194-195. See also Love, the Christian concept of brotherly
Christianity: and gender, 231-232;
and Marxism, 33;
as the most radical salvationist religion, 192-195;
versus Muslims in the Mediterranean area, 237, 238, 240, 241, 248, 251-253, 256
Christian reform: and lay spirituality, 196, 197;
and spiritual danger for the living, 203-205;
and the dissolution of European peasant animism, 181, 210;
and the ethics of equity, 195, 202, 210;
and witch-hunting, 205-210;
continuity in, 183, 196-197, 200, 202;
of pre-Protestant spiritual movements, 195
Christian, William A., Jr., 20, 25n., 45, 226, 227, 231
Church and state, 12-14, 23;
in Communist Yugoslavia, 30, 32, 33, 37-39, 45, 48n.6, 49n.7;
in Ireland, 58-63, 67;
in Italy, 92-100;
in Malta, 106-123;
in Spain, 268, 270
Church attendance: in Spain, 169, 170;
of Armenians in London, 156

Civilization versus barbarism, 237, 256


Civilizing process: and Ireland, 63-66, 68-69;
and religion, 9
Civilizing Process, The (Elias), 8-9, 14

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Clergy, secular versus regular, 13, 25n.5, 47-48n.2, 243;


in Bosnia-Hercegovina, 29-31, 32, 33-34, 38-39, 45-47;
in Dutch Brabant, 15-20
Cohen, Abner, 73
Cohn, Norman, 206, 226
Collier, Jane F., 188
Communal living: looking like a game, 133
Communist authorities, Yugoslav: and the countryside, 39, 49n.8;
and the Roman Catholic church, 30, 31, 32, 37-39, 48n.6, 49n.7
Communitas: through Christianity, 193
Competition and monopolization, 14-15, 16, 18
Concordat, the: between Mussolini and the Vatican, 99;
between Napoleon and the Vatican, 93
Conditioning, mutual: of processes of meaning and power, 7
Configurations: religious, 9;
social, 17
Constitution, the: of Ireland, 55;
of Malta, 111-112, 122;
of the Netherlands, 16
Cossacks, pogroms by, 135, 139, 143
Counter-Reformation, the: continuity with Protestant reform, 183, 196-197, 200, 202
Counter-regimes, religious: Protestant churches as, 12;
within the Roman Catholic church, 22
Cucchiari, Salvatore, 197
Cult of the Saints, The, (Brown), 233
Cultural codes: religious regimes and worldly conformation to, 22
Cultural determinist view on religion, the, 56
Culture and politics: interplay between, 74, 82
Cyprus: the Armenian community in, 153-161

D
Davis, John, 230, 232, 234
De Cadiz, Diego Jose, 177
De Porres, Saint Martin, 170, 175
Deghatsi (Armenian native in Cyprus), 154, 156
Delumeau, Jean, 196-197, 200
Demonologies: and the subjugation of animism, 207-209
Deng, Francis Mading, 186-187
Deshen, Shlomo, 78
Devil, the. See Satan
Devotional activity of service class, 170
Devotional center, 43-44
Devotional publications as propagational means, 51n.23, 175-176
Devotional regime, 36-45
Devotions: and clerical rivalry, 19, 38-41, 175-178;
and secular rulers, 30, 37-39;
needing religious specialists, 46;
supporting a saint's case, 177
Dinka, the, 186-187
Diocesanization process: 31, 33-35, 45, 46, 48n.2
Diocesan versus monastic regimes, 13;
in Bosnia-Hercegovina, 30-31, 32, 33-34, 38-39, 45-47;
in Dutch Brabant, 15-20. See also Clergy, secular versus regular; Regimes, religious
Disenchantment: and Purgatory, 198-200;
and the dissolution of animism, 181, 183-184;
and the rise of capitalism, 183
Divine chastisement, 176
Divine sparks, the doctrine of the, 145
Djinn, 190
Doctors, 171-174
Dominant versus dominated regimes, 11, 22-23, 134-135, 140-146, 148n.5

Douglas, Mary, 23, 87


Dragons, contrasting ideas about, 187
Durkheim, Emile, 86, 89
E
Education: and Armenian national

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identity, 155, 156, 157, 161;


controlling, 62, 115-123, 125n.22, 126nn. 27-28, 127-30nn. 33-46, 130nn. 48-50;
Jewish orthodox emphasis on, 135, 136, 137-138, 143, 145, 148n.7
Egalitarianism versus exploitation, 194-195
Elias, Norbert, 8-9, 14-15, 18, 64, 134
Emancipation: as clerical strategy, 21;
of Dutch Catholics, 16, 17;
of Irish Catholics, 55;
of women, 221-222, 225, 228-232
English state, the: and the Irish society, 58-63, 65, 67;
and the Maltese society, 106-107, 111
Enlightenment, the Age of: linked to Christian reformism against animism, 181, 206
Entierro de Genarn, El (Llamazares), 275
Equity the animistic ethics of: and spirit bifurcation, 189-190;
as social and cosmic system of reciprocity, 182, 184-188;
the suppression of, 195, 209-211
Established versus subordinate regime. See Dominant versus dominated regime
Eucharistic Mass, the, 203-204
Evil eye, the, 185
Expansion: and contraction, 20, 21;
and the consolidation of regimes, 12, 19, 21, 30;
commercial and urban, 195, 210;
tendencies of, 11;
the sociogenetic explanation of the strive toward, 14-15
Exploitation: and Christian reform, 182, 195, 211
F
Fairies, 200, 203
Family, the: as civilizing agent, 66
Feelings: as crux for religious regimes and states, 180

Feminism: and Marianism, 221-222, 225, 232


Firth, Raymond, 191
Folk healers, 173, 180
Franciscan Family, the, 40, 45
Franciscan regime, the Yugoslav: and diocesanization, 31, 33-34, 45;
and the Medjugorje devotion, 29, 38-45, 46-47;
establishment and dominance of, 31-33, 48nn. 3, 4, 5
Frazer, Sir James George, 186
G
Gaboudikian, Sylva, (Armenian poet), 155
Garibaldi, Giuseppe, 96, 97, 99
Geertz, Clifford, 23, 160, 186
Gellner, Ernest, 159-160, 161
Gema, Saint, 170
Genarn, the Burial of: as anti-tradition and pseudo-religion, 261-262, 265-266, 268, 269, 272-274;
as witnessed by Tate, 277-279;
political dimensions of, 267-270, 281;
recent development of, 270-281;
the origin and making of, 262-266
Gender relations in southern Europe: and Marianism, 227-230
Ginzburg, Carlo, 198, 206-207
Gnostic Gospels, The (Pagels), 223
God: different qualities of, 191, 193, 224
Goldberg, Harvey, 75
Golden Bough, The (Frazer), 186
Good and bad: as twin set of cosmic principles; 189
Goody, Jack, 194
Gonzi, Msgr. Sir Michael (Archbishop of Malta), 107, 108, 109, 111, 112, 113
Gospa, the ("Our Lady" for Hercegovinians). See Mary, the Virgin
Gramsci, Antonio, 85
Granada, the Nasrid emirate of, 238

Green movements: and an animistic world view, 212

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Guinefort, the legend of Saint: 202-203


Guroian, Viguen, 159
H
Hadorim (Hasidic schools), 144
Hal Tad (the Armenian cause), 159
Halakhists, (jewish rationalists), 147n.1
Hallowell, A. Irving, 185
Harding, Susan, 160
Harrison Smith, D., 124n.6
Hasidism: 134-135, 143-146, 148n.6, 149n.11
Haskala (Jewish equivalent of the Age of Enlightenment), 149n.10
Hauschild, Thomas, 184-185, 206
Healings, miraculous, 40
Hegemony: over means of orientation, 21, 99;
the Gramscian concept of, 85
Henningsen, Gustav, 211
Heresies: linked to later Christian reform, 195-196
Herrero, Prez (main author of Genarn tales), 264, 265, 266, 268, 270, 272, 275, 280
Heschel, Abraham, 192-193
Hess, Andrew, 237
hillula (Jewish pilgrimage; plural hilluloth): and Israeli society, 74-76, 78-81
Hispano-African frontier, the: as one society, 256;
as the defensive frontier of Christianity, 237, 238, 239, 245;
the fixation of, 240;
the permeability of, 237, 245, 255
History: as mythical charter for Armenians, 158
Hobart, Mark, 205
Holy See, the. See Vatican, the
Holy Week, the ritual of the, in Len, Spain, 261, 262, 264, 267, 268, 276, 279, 280

Honi Hameagel (a Talmudic sage), 80


Hubert, Henri, 192
Humility: as clerical power source, 22
I
Illness: religious and secular interventions during, 164, 166, 168, 179
Immaculate Conception, the devotion of the, 243
Inquisitorial interference, 196, 205, 206, 207, 208
Integration: ritual reinforcing sociopolitical, 87-88
Interdependencies: antagonistic, between religious regimes and states, 10-11;
networks and constellations of, 8, 9
Interdict, the (on voting for the Maltese Labour Party), 109-110
Interplay: between cultural content and structural form of religion, 10;
between culture and politics, 73;
between intra- and inter-state competition, 15
Iqar'ayen (Rifian tribe), 241, 242
Ireland: the civilizing process and, 63-66, 68-69;
the Constitution of, 55;
the English state and, 58-63, 65, 67
Israel: and North African Jews, 76-79;
new saints and shrines in, 80-82
Italy: creating the state of, 92-100
J
Jackson, Michael, 190
Jansenism, 68
Jaruzelski, Wojciech, 7-8, 10
Javanese peasants: and prior inhabitants, 186
Jermag Chart (''white massacre"; Armenian cultural death), 157
Jesuits, the: and Christian reform, 196, 200
Jews: and saintly revival, 78-82;
Ashkenazi, 77;

Eastern European, 134-146;


North African, 74-81
Jimnez de Cisneros, Fray Francisco, 239
John Paul II, Pope, 7-8, 22, 42, 118
John, Saint: reforming the fires of, 200

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Judaism, orthodox: dominant versus dominated regimes in, 134-135, 140-146, 148n.5;
rationalists versus mystics in, 135, 146, 147n.1, 148n.5;
showing parallels with the Roman Catholic church, 134, 146
K
Kahal (local administrative body of Eastern European Jews), 136, 139-42. See also Va'ad
Kaguru, the, 185
Kenny, Michael, 230
Kinship loyalty: and Christian brotherly love, 193-94
Klaniczay, Gabor, 201
Kramer, Heinrich (Dominican Inquisitor), 205, 207
Krizari ("Crusaders"; Hercegovinian devotees), 44, 51n.29
Kuranko, the, 190
L
La Barre, Weston, 187
Language: and the Armenian national identity, 155, 156, 161
Larkin, Emit, 61
Laurentin, Ren, 40, 50n.13, 51n.22
Lay, the: and Christian reform, 196, 197;
as clientele, 15, 46;
elites of, 12, 17-18;
incorporated in a devotional regime, 40
Leach, Edmund, 225
legitimation: ritual as means of, 87-89
Le Goff, Jacques, 198, 199
Len, Spain: and the Burial of Genarn, 261, 263-264, 267, 270, 271, 274, 277, 281n.1
Leon XIII, Pope, 97-98
Leopoldo, Fray, 170, 176
Lison-Tolosana, Carmelo, 229-230
Lithuania: Jews in, 136-137, 138-139, 142-143

Little people (fairies, dwarfs, green men, and trolls). See fairies
Litvak ("Lithuanian"; opposant of Hasidism), 143
London: the Armenian community in, 156-161
Louis XIV, 87
Love: the Christian concept of brotherly, 192-194, 195, 205, 210
M
MacFarlane, Alan, 204
Maghribian coast, the: Spanish conquests on, 238, 239
Maine, Sir Henry, 182
Makhosini, Prince (prime minister of Swaziland), 91-92
Malleus Maleficarum ("Witch's Hammer"; Kramer's and Sprenger's encyclopedia on peasant witchcraft, 1486), 205,
207
Mallia, Michael (Maltese informant), 125n.26, 126nn. 27-28, 127nn. 33, 35, 36, 128nn. 37-40, 129nn. 41-44, 130nn.
46, 48-50
Malta: church versus state in, 106-123;
controlling education in, 115-123, 125n.22, 126nn. 27-28, 127-130nn. 33-46, 130nn. 48-50;
the Labour Party (MLP) in, 107-112;
the Nationalist Party (PN) in, 107-112, 113-115, 117-119, 122, 124n.8;
the Republican Constitution of (1974), 111-112, 122
Maraboutism, 75-76, 241
Marianism: and feminism, 221-222, 225, 232;
and gender relations in southern Europe, 227-230;
as ecclesiastic escape from misogyny, 230-231
Markovic, Msgr. Ciro (pseudonym for the Bishop of Mostar, Yugoslavia), 34, 38-39, 50n.15
Marxist view on religion, 56, 57, 226
Mary, the Virgin: apparitions of, 19-20, 22-23, 29-30, 36-37, 40-42, 43, 50-51n.21, 51n.24;
as Maria Santissima de la Victoria, patron of Melilla, 242, 243-244;
as patron of the separate Canary Islands, 174-175, 177;
as the Gospa

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("Our Lady" for Hercegovinians), 36;


as the human closest to the divine, 231-232;
compared to Jesus as a model, 225-227;
devotion for, 35, 45, 234;
in propaganda products, 51n.23;
instructions from, 36, 40-41, 49n.11;
Marina Warner on, 222-224, 230, 232-233;
presentation of, as a model, 223-225;
viewed as mother, 222, 232-233
Mauss, Marcel, 192
Meaning: processes of, and of power, 8, 237;
religion as systems of, 7, 9, 23
Medical knowledge, access to, 163, 171-172, 173
Medical specialists. See Doctors
Mediterranean area, the: and the use of captives in bargains, 246;
as the defensive frontier of Christianity, 237, 238, 239, 245;
becoming peripheral, 240;
unity and diversity of, 237. See also Hispano-African frontier, the
Medjugorje: the controversial devotion of, 29-31, 35, 38-47
Meeks, Wayne A., 193-194
Melilla, the presidio of: and dealings between Muslims and Christians, 253-255;
apostasy and conversion in, 246, 250-253;
desertion from, 246-251;
establishment and increasing isolation of, 238, 239, 240;
Muslim raids on, 242, 244;
religious life in, 243-245;
staging raids on Rifian hamlets, 240-241, 243
Mendicant orders, the, 196, 199
Menocchio (the miller in Ginzburg's The Cheese and the Worms), 198

Mercieca, Msgr. Giuseppe (Archbishop of Malta), 116, 118, 119, 120


Messages, supernatural: regarding devotion, 19, 22, 30, 36, 40-47, 49n.11, 51n.25
Messianism, Jewish, 140, 148n.6
Microstoria, the school of, 182
Midelfort, H. C. Erik, 208-209
Mifsud Bonnici, Dr. Karmenu (also as Dr. K. M. B.), 119, 126n.32, 128n.37
Mintoff, Dom, 107, 109, 110, 117-119, 122, 126n.27, 129n.44, 130n.46
Mission, the Roman Catholic: and clerical rivalry, 17
Monastic orders. See Religious orders
Monastic versus diocesan regimes. See Diocesan versus monastic regimes; Clergy, secular versus regular; Regimes,
religious Monopolization: and competition, 14-15, 16, 18;
of means of orientation, 21;
of morality, 56, 58, 66;
of parochial administration, 16;
of power sources, 11;
of spheres of life, 20
Moore, Sally E, 88
Morality: as clerical power source, 21-23, 24;
monopolization of, in Ireland, 56, 58, 66
Moriscos (converted Muslims in Spain), 239
Morocco: Jews in, 75-76;
maraboutism in, 75-76;
Spanish enclaves in, 238, 241, 246, 247, 254, 255
Mostar, the Yugoslav diocese of: and diocesanization, 31, 33, 45;
opposing the Medjugorje devotion, 29, 38-39
Muchembled, Robert, 210
Muhammad ben Alal (Moroccan marabout), 242
Muscovites, Greek Catholic, 137, 138
Muslims: and North African Jews, 75-76;
as Spanish minority, 239;
versus Christians in the Mediterranean area, 237, 238, 240, 241, 248, 251-253, 256
Mussolini, Benito, 99, 100

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Mystics and rationalists: in Jewish orthodoxy, 135, 146, 147n.1, 148n.5


N
Napoleon Bonaparte: and Italy, 93-95
Nationalism: Armenian, 153, 156, 158-159;
Yugoslav, 39, 49n.8
Nationalist Party. See Malta
Nation-building: and counter-regimes, 12;
and religious regimes, 11, 49n.7;
stateless, 153, 161
Nativity, The (Campin), 232-233
Netherlands, The: and Roman Catholics, 15, 16
New Roman Catholic Charismatic movement, the, 35
Nicosia, the Armenian community in, 154-155
Niebuhr, H. Richard, 158-159, 160
Night Battles, The, (Ginzburg), 206
North Brabant, the Dutch province of: Roman Catholicism in, 15-20
O
Ong, Aihwa, 187
Orujo (Spanish alcoholic beverage): as part of the Genarn anti-tradition, 264, 265, 266, 276, 278, 279
Over-stepping (certain bounds), 184-185, 203
P
Pacification: and domestication through Christianity, 10;
of the Irish masses, 58-63
Pagels, Elaine, 223
Panowie, the (Polish noble lords), 138, 139
Papacy, the: and kinship loyalties, 194;
controlling beautification and canonization, 202;
incorporating heretical reforms, 196. See also Vatican, the
Papal states, the, 13, 92, 94, 96, 100

Parity as opposed to dominance, 188


Passion, a pardoy of the, 261, 268, 269, 272-274
Patristic tradition, the: on women, 223
Paul, Saint: on congregational life, 193-194
Peasantry, European, the: and the ethics of equity, 182, 205, 210-211;
romantic and ridiculous view of, 181
Penal laws, the English, in Ireland, 59, 61, 62, 67-68
Petitions. See Prayers
Picaresque, the literary tradition of the, 269
Pilgrimage: as a result of apparitions, 19, 22, 29-30, 38, 40, 42-45. See also Hillula
Pius VII, Pope, 93
Pius IX, Pope, 96, 97
Pocock, David, 185, 189
Pogroms, 135, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143
Poland: Jews in eighteenth-century, 135-145;
lacking a bourgeoisie, 136-137, 148n.4;
papal visit to (1983), 7-8, 22;
the Cossack rebellion in, 139;
the divisions of, 142;
the Panowie in, 138, 139
Politics: and culture, 74, 82;
and religion, 8, 14, 82;
and ritual, 86-92
Pope, the: the infallibility of, 14, 95
Potter, Jack, 187-188
Power: and civility, 63;
and intra-religious relations, 30, 31;
and religious rhetorics, 14;
and ritual, 86-87;
medical, 173-174;
neglected as regards religion, 23;

religious regimes as forms of, 56-57;


processes of, and of meaning, 8, 237;
worldly versus spiritual, 7, 20-22, 67
Prayer groups, 35, 41, 44
Prayers: as religious negotiations, 166-168, 171
Predestination, the Calvinist doctrine of, 200
Presidios (Spanish North African

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strongholds), 239, 245, 246, 254. See also Melilla, the presidio of
Prior inhabitants, reverence for: discouraging capitalist exploitation, 185-188, 189, 190, 207
Privilegium fori, the (in Malta), 107, 113
Promises to the supernatural, 166-168, 171, 176, 179
Prophecies: about Medjugorje, 35
Protection money: as payments to secular authorities, 12, 15, 31
Protestant ascendancy, the English, in Ireland, 60, 61, 64
Protestant ethic, the (Weber), 149n.11, 182-183, 210
Protestantism: being confused with the civilizing process, 64;
linked to late medieval heresies and the Counter-Reformation, 183, 196-197, 200, 202
Pseudo-religion, 261, 265-266, 272-274
Purgatory: and the process of disenchantment, 198-200
R
Raids, Spanish and Rifian, 240-243, 244, 254
Rationalists and mystics: in Jewish orthodoxy, 135, 146, 147n.1, 148n.5
Redemption, individual: in an after-life, 191
Reformation, the Protestant: and continuity in Christian reform, 183, 196-197, 200, 202;
and the rise of capitalism, 181,
Reform, ecclesiastical: and the dynamics of religious regimes, 12-14. See also Christian reform
Regimes, religious: and state-formation, 10-11, 45, 90;
competing with states, 22;
defined, 9-10, 56-57, 134;
dominant and dominated, 11, 22-23, 134-135, 140-146, 148n.5;
feelings being crucial for, 180;
monastic versus diocesan, 13, 15-20, 30-31, 32, 33-34, 38-39, 45-47;
the dynamics of, 10, 11, 134;
the power sources of, 11, 85;
striving for expansion and consolidation, 12, 19, 21, 30
Reinach, Solomon, 199

Religion: and Armenian national identity, 153-161;


and civilizing and state-formation processes, 9, 237;
and the risk of reductionism, 56, 57, 133, 180;
as system of meaning, 7, 9, 23;
as the touchstone of identity and citizenship, 239, 246, 250-251, 253;
learned (official) versus popular (folk), 20, 181, 182, 183, 197, 198, 200, 203, 210;
seen as separate sphere from politics, 8, 14;
supported by rituals and symbols, 23. See also Regimes, religious
Religious liberty: attracting orders to the Netherlands, 16
Religious orders: and Dutch religious liberty, 16;
and Maltese education, 115-118, 122, 125n.24;
and Roman Catholic expansion, 12, 13;
and saint veneration in Spain, 175-178. See also Clergy, secular versus regular; Diocesan versus monastic
regimes
Religious specialists: and devotional regimes, 43;
and religious regimes, 9;
and the laity, 12, 13;
fighting European peasant animism, 182, 183;
significance of, for visionary movements, 46;
two competing types of Roman Catholic, 13, 25n.2, 32, 45-47, 47-48n.2
Rif, the, 241, 248, 254
Rigorism, 68
Risorgimento, the, 92, 93, 95, 97
Rita, Saint, 170, 175
Rites. See Rituals
Rituals: and politics, 86-92;
and state-formation, 87, 90-100;
Durkheim on, 86;
of contrition, 188;
of propitiation, 186, 187;

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supporting religion, 23
Roman Catholic church, the, 7;
and the persecution of Jews, 135, 138, 141, 142, 147n.3;
as a civilizing agent in Ireland, 64-66, 68-69;
as a complex constellation of rival religious regimes, 12-14, 19, 30;
as a power bloc in Ireland, 57-58, 62, 67;
monopolizing morality in Ireland, 56, 58, 66;
mystical versus scholastic hegemonies within, 183;
on Mary and the roles of the sexes, 221-227, 228, 230-231, 233-234;
orthodox Judaism showing parallels with, 134, 146;
the binary leadership structure of, 25n.5, 45, 47-48n.2. See also Vatican, the
Rome: controlling the city of, 94-99. See also Vatican, the
Roots of our Ecolagical Crisis, The (White), 186
Rosaldo, Michelle Z., 188
S
Sabean, David, 204
Sacrifices: Christian transformation of, 192, 193;
petitionary, 166, 167, 168, 169
Saints: addressed during illness, 166-172;
canonization of, 13, 176, 202;
compared to doctors, 171-172;
competition of, and their keepers, 174-178, 179;
the creation of new, in Israel, 78-82
Salvationist religions: and abstention as spiritualization of the serf, 191;
and general aspirations, 192;
creating a spiritual elite, 191;
departing from equity-consciousness, 182, 188, 191, 192, 210
Sant, Msgr. Carmel (Maltese informant), 125nn. 20, 22, 128n.37
Santiguado, the rite of, 180

Satan: as distillation of evil, 191, 207


Schmitt, Jean-Claude, 202-203
Scholem, Gershon, 140
Scribner, R. W., 201
Secularization, the process of, 18, 169
Secular rulers and religious specialists, 12, 21-22;
and diocesanization, 45, 48n.2;
in Ireland, 58-63, 67;
in Malta, 106-123;
in Yugoslavia, 30, 32, 33, 37-39, 47-48nn.2, 6, 49n.7
Seers. See visionaries
Self, the spiritualization of the, 191
Sermon on the Mount, the, 193
Shrines: in Spain, 167, 170, 174-175;
new Israeli, 78-82;
on the Rif, 241, 242-243
Sidamo, the, 185
Sidi Wariach, the Rifian shrine of, 242
Sin, original, 192-193
Snakes, contrasting ideas about, 186-187, 202-203
Sobhuza II, King, (of Swaziland), 91-92
Socialists: suppressing equity-consciouness, 211-212. See also Malta
Socialization and orientation: controlling the means of, 21
South Africa, 88
Southern, R. W., 24n.
Soviet Armenia: and Armenia identity, 154, 155, 157, 158
Spain: and its North-African enclaves, 238, 239, 240, 245, 247, 254, 255;
church and shrine attendance in, 169, 170;
democratization in, 270;
Muslims in, 238, 239, 253;
religious orders and their saints in, 175-178;

the Francoist church-state alliance in, 169, 267, 270;


the Health Service of, 172-174
Spanish Tapestry, A (Kenny), 230
Spanish-Turkish truce, the (1580), 240
Spirits: and capitalism, 184;
and

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concern with the cosmos, 181;


and conciliatory animism, 185-188;
bifurcated, and hierarchical chiefdoms and kingdoms, 189-190;
of the dead, 189-200;
of the earth, 200-203;
sharing human ethical ambivalence, 189;
the devil and, 207. See also: Animism; Equity, the animistic ethics of
Spiritual danger for the living, 203-205
Spring tale, the Ba'al Shem Tov's, 145-146
Sprenger, Jacob (Dominican Inquisitor), 205, 207
Sri Lanka, 89
State and church. See Church and state
State-formation: and religion, 9;
and ritual, 87, 90-100;
competition and monopolization during, 14-15, 18;
in Communist Yugoslavia, 31, 45, 49nn. 7, 8;
the process of European, 13, 134, 143
State monopoly on violence, 11, 85
Strickland, Lord, 107
Subordinate versus established regimes. See Dominant versus dominated regimes
Swaziland, the independence ceremonies of, 91-92
Symbols: and Armenian national identity, 155, 158;
and politics, 87-92, 96-98;
as power source, 7, 244;
inverted, 261;
supporting religion, 23
T
Tactics and strategies, excessive concentration on, 179
Talmudic knowledge: acquisition of, as orthodox ideal, 135, 136, 143, 145, 147n.1, 148n.7

Tanzania, 88
Tartars, the, 141
Taxes, 11, 15, 38, 50n.14, 101n.10;
Polish Jewry and, 136, 137, 138, 139, 142, 143
Tehran, American hostages in, 90-91
Thomas, Keith, 182
Tillich, Paul, 159
Torah, the study of the, 143, 148n.7. See also Talmudic knowledge
Transformation, religious linked to worldly, 188-189
Trent, the Council of (1545-1563), 14, 196, 223
Tridentine reform in Ireland, 61
Turkey: and Spanish North Africa, 239;
and the massacre of Armenians, 154, 157;
dominating Bosnia-Hercegovina, 31;
invading Cyprus, 155
Turner, Ethel, 25n.
Turner, Victor W., 22, 25n.
U
Ukraine, 139
U'Mushe, Rabbi David, 80
V
Va'ad (national administrative body of Eastern European Jews), 136, 139-140, 142. See also Kahal
Vaillancourt, J. G., 24n.2
Vartanants (traditional Armenian martyr's day), 158
Vatican, the: and Ireland, 58, 61;
and Maltese church-state relations, 108-111, 113-116, 118, 119, 120-122, 124n.6;
and the Franciscans in Bosnia-Hercegovina, 31-32;
and the Italian Unification, 92-100;
and the Medjugorje devotion, 30, 39, 42, 45-47;
and the Yugoslav government, 33

Vatican I (1869-1870), 14, 95


Verdery, Katherine, 194
Victor Emmanuel II, 97
Violence, physical: as power source, 7, 11, 12, 13;
as prerogative of the state, 11, 85;
religious regimes lacking access to, 20, 22, 23, 24n.2
Visionaries, 22-23, 30, 36, 37, 42-43, 45-47
Vladec, Msgr. Janco (pseudonym for the Bishop of Mostar, Yugoslavia),

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33-34, 40, 49n.7


Votive offerings, 174, 178
Vows. See Promises
W
Warner, Marina: and Loizos's "disquiet," 222, 224, 225, 227, 229, 230, 232, 233;
Alone of All Her Sex, 221-224
Weber, Max: on religion, 56;
on the creation of a spiritual elite, 191-192;
on the Protestant ethic, 149n.11, 182-183, 210;
on the social ethic of reciprocity, 184;
theories of, 82
White, Lynn, 186, 195
Wilde, Sir William, 64
Witch-hunt, the early modern European: as "final solution" to animism, 205-210
Wolf, Eric R., 211
Women: the religious and nurturing specialization of, 170-171;
the emancipation of, 221-222, 225, 228-232;
victimization of older, 208-209
Y
Yochai, Rabbi Shimon Bar, 80
Yoruba, the, 190
Yugoslavia: and countryside nationalism, 39, 49n.8;
general church-state tensions in, 48n.6, 49n.7;
secular authorities in, and the Medjugorje devotion, 30, 32, 33, 37-39, 45;
the Conference of Bishops in, 38, 46, 50n.16, 50n.17
Z
Zaddik (Jewish saint; plural zaddikim): and Israeli society, 74-76, 78-82
Zuesse, Evan, 185, 188

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