Abstracts | Beyond the Veil
The Dividing Wall of Hostility (Eph 2.14)
Deconstructing a Symbol of Alienation
The Syriac Orthodox sanctuary veil problematically obstructs the sight of the altar and divides the worshipping assembly. This presentation will argue that one can find a symbolic resolution of this problem in the permeability and dynamic use of the iconostasis throughout the liturgy, especially at the distribution of communion. A motif of “overcoming divide” is latent in this synchronic pattern of use, one which deconstructs the veil’s vocabulary of division.
The Cult of the “Spirits-letters” and the Spreading of a New Religious Movement across States’ Borders
(Sora tribe, central eastern India)
In India, where Christian missionaries introduced the roman alphabet in tribal villages at the end of the 19thcentury, many graphic systems have been created by indigenous charismatic leaders. In the 1930ies, among the Sora, a group from the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border, a teacher founded a religious movement and designed an alphabet whose letters materialize deities. Nowadays, these “spirits-letters” are worshipped in many Sora villages. I shall analyse the issues raised by the spreading of this script used by Sora from different states. While at the national level, the cult of the divine alphabet creates unification among its worshippers divided across states borders, at the local level, it produces division and generates conflicts inside the group.
The Divided Subject
“The King’s Speech” and Beethoven’s Performance
In Tom Hooper’s film “The King’s Speech,” Beethoven’s music is used to accompany the George VI’s declaration of war. This division between the speech and the music is a veil that discloses the inner sanctum of the subject and how Beethoven’s music is still used as a model of modern subjectivity.
From Temple Gates to Holy of Holies
“Praise and Worship” Music and Liturgy as Agents of Pentecostal-Charismatic Globalization
A range of participatory musical practices have crossed geographical and cultural barriers to become hallmarks of pentecostal-charismatic spirituality. Despite music’s importance within global pentecostal-charismatic worship, its role in facilitating these multiple boundary crossings has gone largely unexamined. This paper theorizes how distinctive musical practices–and theological understandings of these practices–may be contributing to Pentecostalism’s global spread. My presentation focuses on the widespread pentecostal-charismatic song genre known as “praise and worship music” and the binary liturgical structure in which it is embedded. Recent ethnographic studies of pentecostal groups across five continents reveal that particularities of the pentecostal “praise and worship” structure allows both local styles and globalized musical forms to flourish. The study contributes to recent work considering music’s role in religious globalization; further, it suggests the importance of musical liturgies to understanding how contemporary religious musical practices cross boundaries of region, nation, and ethnicity.