The Christians of Kerala: History, Belief and Ritual Among the Yakoba
This elegantly written book explores the practice of Christianity among the Yakoba in the small region of Kerala. Susan Viswanathan uses the categories of time, space, architecture, and the body as a means of identifying the ways in which Hindu, Christian, and Syrian strands have been woven together to form a rich cultural tapestry in the region. The Yakoba, on which this study is based, are divided into two distinct groups--the Orthodox Syrians and the Jacobite Syrians. Viswanathan relates their on-going quarrel over ecclesiastical jurisdiction and the ways in which this quarrel affects Syrian Christian life and experience as a whole. She argues that people's interpretations of Christianity are a very powerful mode of cultural expression and societal flexibility.