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From a theological point of view, the categorization of Pentecostalism as “charismatic” follows logically from its emphasis on the “gifts of the Holy Spirit” (charismata). From a sociological point of view, however, an overly systematic association with the Weberian ideal type of charismatic legitimacy, especially as commonly defined by sociologists of religion, leads to a series of complications when it comes to understanding the actual forms of authority in Pentecostal contexts. In particular, this model of legitimacy fails to take into account the transformations of regimes of authority linked to the rise, since the 1990s, of a global economy of charismatic “ministries.” Based on an ethnography of the types of authority within small charismatic groups on the island of Moorea (French Polynesia) and the analysis of two “prophets”’ itineraries, this article proposes to put the notion of charismatic authority to the test of ethnographic fieldwork.

  • Charisma
  • Pentecostalism
  • Prophet
  • Authority
  • French Polynesia
Yannick Fer
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