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Title:Divine justice: Cosmology, ritual, and Protestant missionization in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia
Author(s):Aragon, Lorraine Victoria
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Lehman, Frederic K.
Department / Program:Anthropology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Religion, History of
Anthropology, Cultural
History, Asia, Australia and Oceania
Abstract:This dissertation contains an examination of the process and consequences of Protestant missionization in highland Central Sulawesi. Most particularly, it concerns the Tobaku people, a regionally united group of Uma speakers who reside in the southwestern part of the Kulawi subdistrict. The shifting agriculturalist communities of this area were first contacted by the Dutch in the early twentieth-century and proselytized by the Salvation Army beginning in 1918. Although the Tobaku people, like most indigenous Central Sulawesi highlanders, are now almost 100% Protestant--some even refer to themselves as fanatic Christians, their religious concepts and practices are not completely orthodox from the point of view of Western missionaries. This study looks at changing Tobaku religious concepts and practices as a process of negotiation and argumentation based on indigenous moral principles and empirical precedents.
Insofar as the Bible, like all texts, requires interpretation, the Tobaku are able to incorporate certain concepts of traditional spirit and ancestor behavior into their understandings of the Protestant God, Jesus, and Satan. Moreover, their rituals, while more Protestant than traditional in format, are invoked according to rationales based largely on moral and religious concerns derived from the indigenous cosmology. Philosophical concerns regarding the causes of human suffering, which were answered traditionally by rationales centering on ritual error and transgression, are now reinterpreted as divine justice in light of God's biblical rules. Rituals and animal sacrifices that were necessary to ensure community health and prosperity are revised to suit Salvation Army requirements.
Part I is an introductory section raising theoretical issues and providing ethnographic background on the peoples discussed. Part II is historical, focusing on the political and economic circumstances of Dutch colonial intervention and conversion efforts by Protestant missionaries. Part III describes aspects of the indigenous cosmology and rituals and examines their transformation and reinterpretation following Christian conversion. Rather than concentrating solely on how the influences of Protestant missionaries and Indonesian government policies affect traditional religious ideas and practices, this dissertation concentrates on how Christianity becomes indigenized by Central Sulawesi highlanders so that Protestant doctrines and rituals speak to their philosophical and religious concerns about divine justice.
Issue Date:1992
Rights Information:Copyright 1992 Aragon, Lorraine Victoria
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9236392
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9236392

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