Bielo, “How Much of this is Promise?”

Bielo, James (2011) “”How Much of this is Promise?”: God as Sincere Speaker in Evangelical Bible Reading” Anthropological Quarterly 84(3):631-653

Abstract: In this article I examine how language ideology intersects with textual ideology, listening, and group identity in an American Evangelical context. The ethnographic focus is a men’s Bible study group, their extended reading of the Old Testament book of Proverbs, a schism within the group involving a Pentecostal participant, and the tensions that surface when they read biblical texts as promises from God. I argue that the model of the sincere speaker can be extended to scriptural authors, forming religious subjects as listeners. The religious listening that is created, when viewed against the backdrop of Evangelical textual assumptions and Western assumptions about the nature of promises, explains the struggles these men encounter through their collective reading of scripture.

A part of the special issue Beyond Logos: Extensions of the Language Ideology Paradigm in the Study of Global Christianity (-ies)