Changing Concepts of Embodiment and Illness among the Western Arrernte at Hermannsburg Mission

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Abstract

This paper argues that the interaction between Lutheran missionaries and Arrernte people at Hermannsburg mission was shaped by different body practices and discourses. Notions of sickness, causation and healing were central to the ideas of the body. Both missionaries and Arrernte paid attention to these somatic states in their social interactions. Lutherans attempted to reinforce an individualistic notion of the body, while Arrernte people continued to believe in the fundamental interconnectedness of the person with ancestors and kin. In the new social environment of the missions, the indigenous socio-somatic view of a person remained flexible enough to accommodate aspects of Christian ontology and ritual.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-347
JournalJournal of Religious History
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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