This book has opened the internal communication system of so-called Spirit-filled churches for academic scrutiny. We can w begin to ask how and why are the Holy Spirit and internal communication becoming the principal tools for control, domination, or democracy in them. * Pneuma For those interested in the social life of the bible and other written materials, this book is sure to surprise...The surprise value of Kirsch's work lies in the broad sweep from fine-grained descriptions of individuals' bibles to far-reaching theoretical critiques of the anthropology of literary practices and bureaucracy. * Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale From relative obscurity, the study of Christianity has grown into a major academic field, to which this book makes an important and timely contribution. It is the first book-length study of literacy practices among African Christians. * JRAI Developing new theoretical perspectives out of sensitive historical and ethgraphic research on practices of reading and writing in the Spirit Apostolic Church, this well written and accessible study offers anthropology at its best. Cautioning against simplistic understandings of literacy and textuality that still underpin much work on Christianity, his work offers a substantial intervention into broader debates about religion, media and materiality. * Birgit Meyer, Faculty of Social Sciences, Vrije Universiteit the primary aim of the author lies...in challenging the presuppositions made in the study of African religion - and in this he has admirably succeeded * H-Net Reviews ...Kirsch...provides an excellent introduction, contextualizing his material and his aim of explaining the relationship between 'charisma' and 'institution' in the Spirit Apostolic Church. * Choice The examination of literacy practices presented in this book enables - and hopefully will engender - much thought in a variety of ethgraphic domains. * Ethos [The author] demonstrates in this book an extraordinary command of several scholarly literatures and takes up questions that have vexed the social sciences since at least the time of Max Weber. In particular, Kirsch wishes to understand how something as fundamental to the 'religions of the Book' as literacy could be so often overlooked in current anthropological discussions of Christianity in favor of electronic and other media. Kirsch has produced an impressive mograph here, one that ought to be read by Africanist anthropologists, religious studies scholars and by others interested in understanding the meaningful qualities of literacy for all 'peoples of the Book'. * Journal of Religion in Africa
Thomas G. Kirsch is professor for Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Konstanz. He received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder) in 2002 and taught at the Department of Anthropology and Philosophy in Halle (Saale) and at the Department of Anthropology at Goldsmiths College, University of London, before coming to the University of Konstanz in 2009. Between 1993 and 2001, he conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Zambia. He has published a book on African Christianity in Zambia and articles in some of the major refereed journals for anthropology and sociology in Germany. Other articles were published in the journals American Anthropologist (2004), Visual Anthropology (2006) and American Ethnologist (2007). Since 2003, he has also conducted fieldwork and published on issues of human safety, security and crime prevention in South Africa.