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Leprosy of a deadlier kind: Christian conceptions of aids in the south african Lowveld

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses more directly upon the manner in which Christianspecifically Zionistdiscourses contribute to the conception and labelling of AIDS as a social phenomenon in itself. It explains why Christian churches at large, and Zionist churches in particular, do so little to dispel the association of AIDS with death. Central to the survival of the stigma of death among Zionist Christians is the identification of AIDS with Biblical leprosy. While the observer might expect Christian teachings to make closeness to death more palatable, in fact Christians tend to conceptualise AIDS as a new, deadlier kind of leprosy with all its overtones of divine punishment and horror.

Keywords: AIDS; Biblical leprosy; Christian churches; South African Lowveld; Zionist churches



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