Loustau, “Belief Beyond the Bugbear”

Loustau, Marc Roscoe. (2019) “Belief Beyond the Bugbear: Propositional Theology and Intellectual Authority in a Transylvanian Catholic Ethnographic Memoir.”聽Ethnos. DOI:聽10.1080/00141844.2019.1640262.

Abstract:聽By overlooking the history of Catholic thought, anthropologists have made contemporary processes for negotiating intellectual authority in the Catholic Church into a lacuna in the anthropology of Christianity. I develop this claim by examining an ethnographic memoir called The Secret of Cs铆ksomly贸 by 脕rp谩d Dacz贸, a widely known contemporary Transylvanian Hungarian Catholic intellectual. Dacz贸 blends autobiography and ethnography to argue that the Hungarian Virgin Mary is a Christianized pagan moon goddess. Halfway through, Dacz贸 switches genres to propositional theology and defends himself to the magisterium, the Church’s institutional guarantor of orthodoxy. I situate Dacz贸’s effort to anticipate his critics in the history of Catholic-Protestant theological polemics, which helped make propositional theology into the Catholic Church’s privileged language for investigating heresy. By placing Dacz贸’s use of propositional theology against the backdrop of contemporary Catholic theologians鈥 debates about the magisterium’s authority, I challenge anthropological assumptions about the social significance of propositional belief.