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Lunchbox Lecture: Observing the Transcendent Other: Early Modern Christian Interpretations of a Philippine Religion


CERES-Palais, Raum "Ruhrpott" (4.13)

Lunchbox Lecture in englischer Sprache präsentiert von KHK Visiting Research Fellow Imke Rath

The presentation will relate the presenter's research on an ancient Philippine religion to the KHK concept of the transcendence/immanence-distinction (TID). It is led by the question on how to deal with descriptions of transcendent phenomena of this Philippine religion produced by observers who had a clearly different (Early Modern Catholic) idea of the TID. Based on three examples, it will be shown how this distinct TID influenced not only the descriptions in the sources, but in some cases even the current understanding of certain phenomena of this Philippine religion. In the first example, it will be discussed how the classification of various religious figures and beings as witches equalized Philippine priests with transcendent mythological beings and anthropomorphized Philippine ghosts. The second example focuses on the liminal moment of transition from immanence to transcendence by analyzing descriptions of rituals. This leads to the third example on the understanding of death and the concept of soul. In this regard, it will be demonstrated how a comparative study of Oceanic ideas of the essence of mankind and life after death inspires to a new interpretation of sources, providing an alternative view to the Christian understanding of the soul presented by the Early Modern observers.