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Holy Hustlers, Schism, and Prophecy

Apostolic Reformation in Botswana (The Anthropology of Christianity #11)

Richard Werbner


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This book examines the charismatic Christian reformation presently underway in Botswana’s time of AIDS and the moral crisis that divides the church between the elders and the young, apostolic faith healers. Richard Werbner focuses on Eloyi, an Apostolic faith-healing church in Botswana’s capital. Werbner shows how charismatic “prophets”—holy hustlers—diagnose, hustle, and shock patients during violent and destructive exorcisms. He also shows how these healers enter into prayer and meditation and take on their patients’ pain and how their ecstatic devotions create an aesthetic in which beauty beckons God. Werbner challenges theoretical assumptions about mimesis and empathy, the power of the word, and personhood. With its accompanying DVD, Holy Hustlers, Schism, and Prophecy integrates textual and filmed ethnography and provides a fresh perspective on ritual performance and the cinematic.

Praise For Holy Hustlers, Schism, and Prophecy: Apostolic Reformation in Botswana (The Anthropology of Christianity #11)

“Extremely relevant, state of the-art portrait of contemporary African Christianity.... A fascinating read for any anthropologist, regardless of expertise.”
— Ruy Llera Blanes, University of Lisbon, London School of Economics

"Yet another outstanding book on anthropological Christianity in Africa."
— Isabel Mukonyora

"Exhilarating....  A work of great ethnographic force."
— Dominic Martin

University of California Press, 9780520268548, 268pp.

Publication Date: April 18, 2011

About the Author

Richard Werbner is Professor Emeritus in African Anthropology at the University of Manchester. He is the author of many books, including Reasonable Radicals and Citizenship in Botswana.