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African Traditional Religions in Contemporary Society

Jacob K. Olupona

204 pages
Paragon House

Once relegated to the realm of "primitive" and stigmatized as "pagan," today there is a new acknowledgment of the importance of African traditional religions, especially in its stress on folk practices, communal values, and personal relationships.

This volume of fourteen chapters examines the nature, structure, and significance of African traditional religion(s) as dynamic, changing tradition(s). It analyzes and interprets several significant aspects of African religions and explores their possible contributions to national development and the modernization process. It also examines the impact of social change on African religion today. The contributors are scholars from several disciplines (anthropology, sociology, history of religions, theology, literature and the arts); yet, in analysis and interpretation of their data, they all take transcendence and the sacred in African thought very seriously. The newness of this approach is in treating African traditional religion not as a fossil but rather as one of the most important building blocks of modern African life.

Author Bio
Jacob K. Olupona is Professor of African Religious Traditions and Chair of the Committee on African studies at the Harvard Divinity School with a joint appointment as Professor of African and African American Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University.