The Faces of the Gods: Vodou and Roman Catholicism in Haiti / Edition 1

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Overview

Desmangles analyzes the mythology and rituals of Vodou, the folk religion of Haiti and a by-product of the contact between Roman Catholicism and African and Amerindian traditional religions. Focusing on the inclusion of West African and European elements in Vodouisants' beliefs and practices, Desmangles shows that Vodou is not merely a grafting of European religious traditions onto African stock, but a true creole phenomenon.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
With this book Desmangles has made a significant contribution to providing a scholarly understanding of Vodou.

Sociology of Religion

An accessible, comprehensive overview of the folk religion of Haiti known as Vodou. . . . Highly recommended.

Choice

Likely to be the authoritative study on this topic for years to come.

Stephen D. Glazier, University of Nebraska at Kearney

Library Journal
Vodou is an integral part of life for Haitians, providing a system of beliefs and practices that give meaning to life. The author (religion and area studies, Trinity Coll., Hartford) offers a historical perspective to Vodou in Haiti that shows the blending of Vodou with European and African religious traditions to create a religion indigenous to Haiti. Desmangles details four periods within Haitian history during which the process of ``symbiosis'' has allowed various religions to coexist without becoming one religon. He illustrates this point through the conceptual use of mythology in which Vodou deities are compared with Roman Catholic saints. Thus Haitians are able to attend Catholic Mass to talk about God and attend a Vodou ceremony to honor one of its deities. Recommended for more specialized collections.-- L. Kriz, Sioux City P.L., Ia.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807843932
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 12/14/1992
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,011,616
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Leslie G. Desmangles is professor of religion and international studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 Cultural Setting: Religious Paradox or Symbiosis 1
2 Historical Setting: The Shaping of Two Religions in Symbiosis 17
Religion in the Colony: 1492-1790 17
Religion and the Revolts for Independence: 1790-1804 28
Religion and the Shaping of the Republic: 1804-1860 38
Religion in Haitian Life: 1860-present 47
3 The Faces of Myth: Symbiosis and the Changing Self 60
Participation: The Communal Self 64
Rites of Passage: The Transfigured Self 68
4 The Faces of the Cosmic Gods 92
The Nanchons: Classifications of the Lwas 94
Vodou Cosmology 99
The Cosmic Lwas 108
5 The Faces of the Gods and Public Life 131
The Lwas of Public Life 131
6 Conclusion 170
Vodou and Catholicism 174
Glossary 183
Notes 191
Bibliography 199
Index 211
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