By J.D.Y. Peel
The Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria are extraordinary for the copresence between them of 3 spiritual traditions: Islam, Christianity, and the indigenous oriṣa faith. during this comparative examine, without delay old and anthropological, Peel explores the intertwined personality of the 3 religions and the dense imbrication of faith in all facets of Yoruba background as much as the current. For over four hundred years, the Yoruba have straddled geocultural spheres: one attaining north over the Sahara to the area of Islam, the opposite linking them to the Euro-American international through the Atlantic. those exterior spheres have been the resource of contrasting cultural impacts, particularly these emanating from the area religions. besides the fact that, the Yoruba not just imported Islam and Christianity but additionally exported their very own oriṣa faith to the hot international. earlier than the voluntary smooth diaspora that has introduced many Yoruba to Europe and the Americas, tens of hundreds of thousands have been bought as slaves within the New global, bringing with them the worship of the oriṣa. Peel deals deep perception into very important modern topics corresponding to spiritual conversion, new spiritual events, kinfolk among global religions, the stipulations of non secular violence, the transnational flows of latest faith, and the interaction among culture and the calls for of an ever-changing current. within the method, he makes an important theoretical contribution to the anthropology of global religions.
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Extra info for Christianity, Islam, and Oriṣa Religion: Three Traditions in Comparison and Interaction
The case of Asante shows this most clearly. C. Lloyd expressed a once common view when he grouped the Asante with most of the Yoruba in one category (open representative government), while Benin and Dahomey were placed in another (government by political association). In the first of these, chiefs are selected as lineage representatives, an arrangement that expresses the coherence and importance of the lineages in society at large. The latter category, indicated by nonlineage titles, close succession in the royal house, and so forth, is more centralized.
In the next generation this universalist ambition was sustained above all by Meyer Fortes. 24 History, Culture, Comparative Method 23 The conditions for finding generalizations applying to “all human societies, past, present and future”25 were better met when Lévi-Strauss displaced the subject matter of anthropology upward, from social relations to cultural forms such as myths, and explanation was sought in terms of laws of the mind, not of society. Rodney Needham’s book Exemplars, written very consciously as comparativist, shows the clear outcome of Mode III.
Asante society was not religiously static; but the world religions could not be subjected to local chiefly control as other imported cults were. The Asante knew their political community as founded by human agreement, though also given spiritual sanction by the Golden Stool. ”84 The Yoruba perception of themselves and their situation was rather different. Again it is instructive to look back from their response to the world religions. Though conversion brought both conflict and persecution, the fact remains that the Yoruba were much more open to religious change.