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ThingsReligion and the Question of Materiality$
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Dick Houtman and Birgit Meyer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823239450

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823239450.001.0001

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“There is a spirit in that image”: Mass-Produced Jesus Pictures and Protestant-Pentecostal Animation in Ghana

“There is a spirit in that image”: Mass-Produced Jesus Pictures and Protestant-Pentecostal Animation in Ghana

Chapter:
(p.296) “There is a spirit in that image”: Mass-Produced Jesus Pictures and Protestant-Pentecostal Animation in Ghana
Source:
Things
Author(s):

Birgit Meyer

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823239450.003.0018

This chapter addresses Pentecostal ambivalence toward and contestation of Jesus pictures in southern Ghana. These are massively present in public space, entailing a “pentecostalization” of Ghana's public sphere. Misgivings about these pictures can be traced back to the anti-iconic semiotic ideology of nineteenth-century Protestant missionaries, who drew strict boundaries between subject and object, spirit and matter, attacking indigenous religion as “heathendom,” “idolatry,” and “Devil worship.” The pictures are considered harmless “symbols” for the pious, which publicly display their Christian identity, yet they are seen as liable to slip into “icons” that may be hijacked by the Devil-a radical reversal through which what is meant to display visually the outreach of Christianity may actually be subverted.

Keywords:   Public sphere, Pentecostalism, Protestant missionaries, Images, Icons, Devil, Ghana

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