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From Culture to People: Thinking Anthropologically with Jesus and Paul

Johannes Merz


The culture concept has been crucial to anthropology. Yet, I argue against its use. I examine how Jesus and Paul interacted with, and focused on, people and contend that we shift our attention from culture to people. Human diversity and difference should no longer be categorized into different cultures as relative, bounded and divisive units. Rather, we should view it as an integral part of humanity’s commonality. Shifting our attention to people as cultural beings also means a move beyond a preoccupation with knowledge by embracing practical, reflexive, and ontological engagements with others. It is only when we try to understand specific people’s diverse perspectives and the way they see themselves and the world, that we can take them seriously. This opens up anthropology, both at a theoretical level and by collaborating with other disciplines, including theology. 


humanity, anthropology, theology, culture, diversity, relativism, ontology

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Copyright (c) 2021 Johannes Merz

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