Paper short abstract:
How does one grasp the 'mysteries of faith'?
Paper long abstract:
This paper explores pedagogies of prayer among St. Thomas Christians in South India describing shifts in their epistemic stance and their effect on social learning. More than other religious traditions Orthodoxy is centered on 'mysteries' and the claim that meaning is beyond human grasp. Compared to ritual performance where deference and causal opacity dominate, Sunday school teaching is centered on explanation and text-based learning. Looking at the contexts and types of explanation it provides, I suggest that rather than inviting a form of Socratic learning this exegetical explanation is meant to reproduce the 'mystery' at the core of religious knowledge.
Pedagogy: ethnographic and cognitive engagements