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'The Second Coming of the Lord': Early Christianization, Episodic Time, and the Cultural Construction of Continuity in Sibog

Wolfgang Kempf
Oceania
Vol. 63, No. 1, Alienating Mirrors: Christianity, Cargo Cults and Colonialism in Melanesia (Sep., 1992), pp. 72-86
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40331319
Page Count: 15
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'The Second Coming of the Lord': Early Christianization, Episodic Time, and the Cultural Construction of Continuity in Sibog
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Abstract

The conversion to Christianity in Melanesia has often been accompanied by the expectation of an imminent millennium. The expectation of a comprehensive and almost immediate transformation could be read as an expression of a cultural concept which sees real change as an occurrence premised on discontinuity and resulting in the total transformation of society. In reconsidering a millenarian movement among the Ngaing around 1930, I suggest that, in this concept of change, a cultural schema is manifested that has durability over time. Expectations aroused and actions undertaken during early Christianization have been influenced by this concept as have Sibog reflections on these past events, with their stressing of continuity in certain cultural domains.

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