R S Devotion As World Religion

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As the twenty-first century begins, tens of millions of people participate in devotions to the spirits called Òrìsà. This book explores the emergence of Òrìsà devotion as a world religion, one of the most remarkable and compelling developments in the history of the human religious quest. Originating among the Yorùbá people of West Africa, the varied traditions that comprise Òrìsà devotion are today found in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Australia.
    The African spirit proved remarkably resilient in the face of the transatlantic slave trade, inspiring the perseverance of African religion wherever its adherents settled in the New World. Among the most significant manifestations of this spirit, Yorùbá religious culture persisted, adapted, and even flourished in the Americas, especially in Brazil and Cuba, where it thrives as Candomblé and Lukumi/Santería, respectively. After the end of slavery in the Americas, the free migrations of Latin American and African practitioners has further spread the religion to places like New York City and Miami. Thousands of African Americans have turned to the religion of their ancestors, as have many other spiritual seekers who are not themselves of African descent. 
    Ifá divination in Nigeria, Candomblé funerary chants in Brazil, the role of music in Yorùbá revivalism in the United States, gender and representational authority in Yorùbá religious culture—these are among the many subjects discussed here by experts from around the world. Approaching Òrìsà devotion from diverse vantage points, their collective effort makes this one of the most authoritative texts on Yorùbá religion and a groundbreaking book that heralds this rich, complex, and variegated tradition as one of the world’s great religions.   

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Shaped by the transatlantic slave trade, Christianity, Islam, colonialism, and, now, globalization, Yorùbá religious culture remains dynamic and inspirational. This volume goes beyond the usual tendency in Diaspora studies to focus on cultural retention. It is a significant contribution.”— Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okome, Brooklyn College, City University of New York

“Contributes to a deeper and more sympathetic understanding of Yorùbá culture and religion and will be the definitive text for students, teachers, and practitioners of Òrìsà tradition for a long time.”—Akintunde E. Akinade, High Point University, North Carolina

“The editors have assembled contributions from great minds […] Highly recommended.”—Choice

“A tome of this size, bringing together studies by twenty-eight authors from four continents, around a set of contentious religious issues can only do justice to its subject matter by presenting a set of diverse and often conflicting viewpoints. What emerges is not a Nicene Creed but a portrait of a fractious, global, and growing religious tradition. Its leaders struggle for legitimacy, authenticity, and the authority to tell their history in ways that will help them reproduce their ritual communities. This book will be of interest to those immersed in these debates, but no reader should expect to agree with everything they find in its pages.”—Brian Brazeal, New West Indian Guide

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299224646
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 624
  • Sales rank: 1,406,162
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Jacob K. Olupona is professor of African religious traditions at Harvard Divinity School and professor of African and African American studies in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University. He is the author and editor of many books, including African Spirituality, Beyond Primitivism, and African Traditional Religions in Contemporary Society. Terry Rey is associate professor of religion at Temple University. He is the author of Our Lady of Class Struggle: The Cult of the Virgin Mary in Haiti and Bourdieu on Religion.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     xi
Introduction   Jacob K. Olupona   Terry Rey     3
Yoruba Religious Culture in Africa
The Tolerant Gods   Wole Soyinka     31
Who Was the First to Speak? Insights from Ifa Orature and Sculptural Repertoire   Rowland Abiodun     51
In What Tongue?   Olasope O. Oyelaran     70
Orisa: A Prolegomenon to a Philosophy of Yoruba Religion   Olufemi Taiwo     84
Associated Place-Names and Sacred Icons of Seven Yoruba Deities   Cornelius O. Adepegba     106
Twice-Told Tales: Yoruba Religious and Cultural Hegemony in Benin, Nigeria   Flora Edouwaye S. Kaplan     128
Meta-Cultural Processes and Ritual Realities in the Precolonial History of the Lagos Region   Sandra T. Barnes     164
The Pathways of Osun as Cultural Synergy   Diedre L. Badejo     191
Religious Encounter in Southwestern Nigeria: The Domestication of Islam among the Yoruba   H. O. Danmole     202
Yoruba Moral Epistemology as the Basis for a Cross-Cultural Ethics   Barry Hallen     222
Yoruba Religious Culture beyond Africa
Yoruba Religion and Globalization: Some Reflections   Olabiyi Babalola Yai     233
Clearing New Paths into an Old Forest: AladuraChristianity in Europe   Afe Adogame     247
Globalization and the Evolution of Haitian Vodou   Laennec Hurbon   Terry Rey     263
Historicizing Ifa Culture in Oyotunji African Village   Ikulomi Djisovi Eason     278
Ritual Change and the Changing Canon: Divinatory Legitimization of Yoruba Ancestral Roots in Oyotunji African Village   Kamari Maxine Clarke     286
The Dynamic Influence of Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and African Americans in the Growth of Ocha in New York City   Marta Moreno Vega     320
From Cuban Santeria to African Yoruba: Evolutions in African American Orisa History, 1959-1970   Tracey E. Hucks     337
Santeria in the Twenty-first Century   Mercedes Cros Sandoval     355
La Santeria: An Integrating, Mythological Worldview in a Disintegrating Society   Juan J. Sosa     372
Myth, Memory, and History: Brazil's Sacred Music of Shango   Jose Flavio Pessoa de Barros$dTranslated by Maria P. Junqueira     400
Yoruba Sacred Songs in the New World   Jose Jorge de Carvalho     416
Axexe Funeral Rites in Brazil's Orisa Religion: Constitution, Significance, and Tendencies   Reginaldo Prandi$dTranslated by Maria P. Junqueira     437
From Oral to Digital: Rethinking the Transmission of Tradition in Yoruba Religion    George Edward Brandon     448
Orisa Traditions and the Internet Diaspora   Joseph M. Murphy     470
Gender, Politics, and Hybridism in the Transnationalization of Yoruba Culture   Rita Laura Segato$dTranslated by Ernesto Ignacio de Carvalho     485
Is There Gender in Yoruba Culture?   J. Lorand Matory     513
Postscript   John Pemberton III     559
Glossary     573
Contributors     581
Index     589

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