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Deus in MachinaReligion, Technology, and the Things in Between$
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Jeremy Stolow

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823249800

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823249800.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 29 June 2022

The Electric Touch Machine Miracle Scam

The Electric Touch Machine Miracle Scam

Body, Technology, and the (Dis)authentication of the Pentecostal Supernatural

(p.61) The Electric Touch Machine Miracle Scam
Deus in Machina

Marleen de Witte

Fordham University Press

Starting with the case of a Ghanaian pastor in Uganda who was accused of using an “electric touch machine,” this chapter explores the nexus of the corporeal, the technological, and the spiritual in present-day African Pentecostalism. It addresses a key tension inherent in the Pentecostal use of media technology: the problem of authenticity. Through its bodily and technological mediations, Pentecostalism seeks to produce in people an experience of divine touch, while at the same time needing to authenticate such experiences as immediate and ‘real.’ The author examines some key techniques and technologies used by African Pentecostals to establish circuits of spirit flow, as well as analyzing popular concerns over ‘fakeness’ that accompany the use of such techniques and technologies. The chapter demonstrates that these Pentecostal technologically-bodily mediated ‘spiritual circuits’ are eternally unstable and subject to ongoing contestation.

Keywords:   (African) Pentecostalism, Media technology, Religion and the body, Electricity – religious uses, Authenticity, Ghana

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