The charismatic gift


Deptartment of Anthropology 43 Old Elvet, University of Durham, Durham DH1 3HN.


Drawing on ethnographic analysis of a Swedish-based body of conservative Protestants known as the ‘Word of Life’, this article argues that certain forms of charismatic giving are orientated towards extending aspects of the ‘inner’ self beyond cultural and physical boundaries. The notion of a ‘charismatic gift’ in the Christian (and Weberian) sense of a quality of authoritative inspiration is linked to a Maussian concept of the gift as breaking down distinctions between persons as well as between persons and objects.