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Publication: Believing in Belfast: Charismatic Christianity after the Troubles

June 10, 2010

By Liam D. Murphy (CSU Sacramento), Carolina Academic Press, 2010, ISBN 9781594607288 1594607281, 324 pages.

Believing in Belfast: Charismatic Christianity after the Troubles explores the charismatic movement (a popular form of religious belief and expression around the world) from an anthropological vantage. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, Liam D. Murphy draws on the life histories and cultural experience of various “new” congregations and prayer-groups to paint a portrait of Belfast’s religious landscape in the wake of peace accords and political breakthroughs. The book documents the shifting fortunes, across several centuries, of charismatic practice in relation to political and ecclesiastical culture in the region. It also shows how the diverse tendrils of the contemporary charismatic movement articulate a latent ambition among Belfast’s “post-Troubles” middle and professional classes to express new forms of cultural identity. Specifically, Believing in Belfast makes the case that charismatic religion embraces the modern “globalizing” world while simultaneously retaining core elements of those same religious traditions that have contributed to Northern Ireland’s long history of social division and violence.