The Corpse in the Grave: A Theological-Ethical Study of the Ma’nene Tradition in the Torajan Context

Kristanto Kristanto, Yavuz Özkizmaz, Markus Deli Girik Allo, Yonathan Mangolo


The underlying concept behind this research is that the ma'nene or corpse preservation tradition is one of the ancestral legacies of the Toraja people who adhere to Aluk To Dolo or Torajan ancestral belief and is still practised by some Christian communities in North Toraja. The ma’nene, or corpse preservation tradition, has been the subject of debate and tension within the Christian faith. Some Christian Toraja people agree with it, while others disagree with its practice among Christians. Therefore, this research aims to examine the ma’nene or corpse preservation tradition from the perspective of the Christian faith to find common ground between the noble values of the ma'nene tradition and Christian theology regarding the deceased. The qualitative research aims to analyze and describe the phenomena of belief attitudes, social activities, events, perspectives, and thoughts of the Christian community in Baruppu’ and Rindingallo district regarding the ma’nene tradition. The results of this study affirm that the contemporary ma'nene tradition does not conflict with the Christian faith if the purpose of the ma’nene tradition is not intended to worship ancestors, communicate with them, and expect blessings from them but rather as an ethical act that respects the body as part being created in the image of God. It is also carried out based on the belief in eternal life and the resurrection of the body that will be experienced upon the coming of Christ.


Christian faith; ma'nene'; deceased; preserved corpse; Toraja

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