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before Orsi wrote this book, there were roughly two primary camps in the academic study of religion -- confessional exploration of religious communities and belief systems by insiders and critical, safe study of religion by outsiders. the latter camp evolved out of the academy's adoption of a "domesticated Protestantism" -- essentially that publicly acceptable version of Protestantism distilled to exclude personal devotion, interpersonal interaction with the divine, the wondrous and miraculous,
Raises lots of interesting methodological questions for students of religious studies (and theology, to a lesser extent), plus fun stuff on mid-20th-century American Catholicism and the very nature of modernity. A great read whether you agree with his approaches or not.
A brilliantly written study of Catholic community in the contemporary US. This man is my current favorite in modern theories of religion. Combines graceful and engaging prose with captivating autobiography (the Prof comes from an Italian-American Catholic community in the Bronx)and profound theoretical reflections on "doing" comparative religion today.
This book should be required reading for anyone in a Religious Studies major as it addresses the inherent contradictions in the field, and the specific difficulties ethnographers face.
An excellent book; describes, prescribes, and enacts. Loved it.
Occasionally a book both enlightens me and turns me into a forthright opponent of the author's thesis. Between Heaven and Earth is a loosely connected set of essays about religious experience among mid-twentieth-century, working-class Italian-American Catholics, which the author uses to develop the rubbery notion that religion is really about interconnections of worshipers with family members as well as with the objects of their worship. Therefore, concludes Orsi, scholars of religion ought to r...
By the end of this book, Orsi has some thought-provoking things to say about the nature of "religious studies" as an academic discipline and how academics may be misunderstanding the real nature of "religion" by imposing upon religion their own dichotomous view between 'good religion' and 'bad religion' (i.e. good = mainline Protestantism that is rationally understandable; bad = pretty much everything else). Orsi's approach in this book is to seek to understand 'presence'--devotees' relationship...
Between Heaven and Earth (2005) is the most autobiographical of Robert Orsi’s books. He uses stories of the religious beliefs and practices of his family to explore American Catholicism in the mid-twentieth century. Having such intimate knowledge of his subjects allows Orsi to present them in all their humanity, and he makes an effort to emphasize complexity and paradox rather than making simple arguments. In compelling prose, Orsi tells the story of his uncle, Sal Cavallaro, who was crippled by...
Read Chapter 5, "'Have You Ever Prayed to Saint Jude?' Reflections on Fieldwork in Catholic Chicago" for Theories & Methods. I really want to read the rest of the book sometime in the future."The consequences of all this for our work is that unless we recognize first the elemental fascination and power of religious goings-on and then all the things we want to do with them--share them, control them, mute their power over us and over our memories--our writing about religion will become an exercise...
Through Catholic experiences of the world, Orsi provides a new perspetive about methodological questions of the study of religion. He examines the place of the scholar in their studies and suggets that scholars begin to recognize their place in the web of interhuman relations and take responsibilty for the repercussions of their study. Orsi's braided narrative style is refreshing compared to the typical absent authors.
I loved this not so much for the stories, but for the approach that Orsi has taken in writing it. Perhaps the first book I have read by an academic that is written to appeal to not just academics, but those also outside the academia world. Just as the title suggests, this is more about the consequences that come with choosing to follow faith, rather than the faith itself.
Provoking and unorthodox for the field, this books seems far less concerned with discoursing analysis or merely reporting truth claims (never daring to evaluate one), and instead focuses on how humans relate and experience something sacred.