Old Ship of Zion: The Afro-Baptist Ritual in the African Diaspora / Edition 1

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Overview

This book retraces the African origins of African-American forms of worship. During a five-year period in the field, Pitts played the piano at and recorded numerous worship services in black Baptist churches throughout rural Texas. His historical comparisons and linguistic analyses of this material uncover striking parallels between "Afro-Baptist" services and the religious rituals of Western and Central Africa, as well as other African-derived rituals in the United States Sea Islands, the Caribbean, and Brazil. Pitts demonstrates that African and African-American worship share an underlying binary ritual frame: the somber melancholy of the first frame and the high emotion of the second frame. Pitts's revealing perspective on this often misunderstood aspect of African-American religion provides an investigative model for the study of diaspora cultural practices and the residual influence of their African sources.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A marvelous groundbreaking study....A delight to read...Highly recommended for...students and scholars of religious studies, cultural anthropology, ethnomusicology, and African American studies."—Choice

"Undoubtedly, this is the best book in print on African American worship....It should be required reading....I am confident that all students of African American religion will be greatly indebted to Professor Pitts."—Theology Today

"A fascinating and well-written book....Gives great insight into the religious life of Blacks in the South....An excellent example of how to study non-liturgical churches from a human sciences perspective."—Expository Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195111453
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/28/1996
  • Series: Religion in America Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 216
  • Lexile: 1590L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

former Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Louisiana State University
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Table of Contents

Foreword
Introduction 3
1 "Magnificence, Beauty, Poetry, and Color": The Afro-Baptist Church, Its Ritual and Frames 11
2 "We Free!" History of the Afro-Baptist Church 34
3 "I Want to Be at the Meeting": A History of Afro-Baptist Speech and Hymnody 59
4 "Kabiesile Shango!" A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Ritual Frames 91
5 "Nothing New under the Sun": The Variation of Speech and Song in the Afro-Baptist Ritual 132
6 "Like a Ship": Afro-Baptist Ritual Process 155
References 177
Audiography 189
Index 191
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