© 2017

New Directions in Spiritual Kinship

Sacred Ties across the Abrahamic Religions

  • Todne Thomas
  • Asiya Malik
  • Rose Wellman

Part of the Contemporary Anthropology of Religion book series (CAR)

About this book


This volume examines the significance of spiritual kinship—or kinship reckoned in relation to the divine—in creating myriad forms of affiliations among Christians, Jews, and Muslims.  Rather than confining the study of spiritual kinship to Christian godparenthood or presuming its disappearance in light of secularism, the authors investigate how religious practitioners create and contest sacred solidarities through ritual, discursive, and ethical practices across social domains, networks, and transnational collectives.  This book’s theoretical conversations and rich case studies hold value for scholars of anthropology, kinship, and religion. 


Religious communities Spirituality Kinship Semitic religions Comparative religion Friendship Social Islam Judaism Christianity

Editors and affiliations

  • Todne Thomas
    • 1
  • Asiya Malik
    • 2
  • Rose Wellman
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of ReligionUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Independent ResearcherTorontoCanada
  3. 3.The Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf StudiesPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA

About the editors

Todne Thomas is Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of Vermont, USA.

Asiya Malik is an anthropologist and independent researcher in Canada.

Rose Wellman is an anthropologist and postdoctoral researcher at Princeton University, USA. 

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title New Directions in Spiritual Kinship
  • Book Subtitle Sacred Ties across the Abrahamic Religions
  • Editors Todne Thomas
    Asiya Malik
    Rose Wellman
  • Series Title Contemporary Anthropology of Religion
  • Series Abbreviated Title Contemporary Anthropology of Religion
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-48422-8
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-83939-4
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-48423-5
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XXI, 273
  • Number of Illustrations 3 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Social Anthropology
    Religion and Society
    Sociology of Religion
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“This is an impressive collection that sets out a vital new approach to the study of the intersection between religion and kinship.  Moving far beyond longstanding discussions of godparenthood to consider the many diverse ways the sacred shapes notions of relatedness both between persons and between people and the divine across the Abrahamic traditions, the volume breaks new ground in several fields and will interest a wide range of scholars in the social sciences and humanities.” (Joel Robbins, Sigrid Rausing Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge, UK)

“This work is a fresh, timely, and original intervention; a series of rich essays which deftly show the intrinsic connections between kinship and religion. At the same time, it offers a productive framework for comparing the quarrelsome family of traditions descended from ‘father’ Abraham.” (Michael Lambek, Professor of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Canada)