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AFRICAN RELIGIONS AND THE NATURE OF RELIGIOUS STUDIES

 

by

 

Irving Hexham

 

Copyright 1989

[This paper is published in Klaus K. Klostermaier and Larry W. Hurtado, Religious Studies: Issues, Prospects and Proposals, Atlanta, Scholars Press, 1991, pp 361-379]

.

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

PART ONE: THE NON-TEACHING OF AFRICAN RELIGIONS IN UNIVERSITY RELIGIOUS STUDIES DEPARTMENTS

 

            According to the Directory of Faculty of Departments and Programs of Religious Studies in North America,1 there are 34 faculty who profess to teach courses on African Religions in North America.  When these people were individually contacted only seven said they regularly taught courses on Africa and had an ongoing research interest in the area.  All the others had a vague interest usually in connection with courses on Black religion in America.

 

The situation in Britain is even worse.  In the 1960's no less than five universities offered Religious Studies courses on African religions.  Today courses on African religions are taught in one university only and at present the professor responsible for those courses is working in America.[1]

 

In Africa the situation is not much better.  While African religions are taught at a number of universities as far as can be ascertained the only place where it is possible to obtain a Ph.D is South Africa and even there only two Religious Studies departments offer the possibility of obtaining a Ph.D in African religions.  The situation in South Africa, however, is worse than this brief description may suggest because at the University of South Africa only Inus Daneel specializes in African religions and at the University of Cape Town the African religion specialist, Gabriel Setiloane, is about to retire.[2]  On the bright side G.C. Oosthuizen, who is now retired, has organized NERMIC,[3] which encourages research into African religious traditions, especially by Black scholars.

 

Overall, the future of African religions as a branch of Religious Studies is not very promising.  African religions are seriously neglected and very little is being done to remedy the situation.   The rest of this paper will survey the current state of African religions as an area of study within Religious Studies and suggest some ways in which the inclusion of African materials can enrich Religious Studies programs.

 

AFRICAN RELIGIONS IN POPULAR RELIGIOUS STUDIES TEXTBOOKS

 

When Ninian Smart published his popular The Religious Experience of Mankind[4] he devoted exactly 4 out of 576 pages to a consideration of African religion.   In his more recent text The World's Religions[5] African religions are given 19 out of 576 pages with a few additional pages allowed for short discussions of Christianity and Islam in Africa.   Examine any other popular Religious Studies textbook and you will find a similar situation.   Ludwig, The Sacred Path,[6] allows 4 pages, Neilsen et.al., Religions of the World,[7] has 9 pages, Bush et.al., The Religious World,[8] and the Carmondys', The Story of World Religions,[9] have 12 pages each, Robert S. Ellwood, in Many Peoples, Many Faiths,[10] Noss, Man's Religions,[11]and Ling, A History of Religions East and West[12] manage to avoid the discussion of African religions altogether.

 

But even when African religions are mentioned in a text the treatment they receive is often not very satisfactory.  Again Ninian Smart has a section in his text Worldviews[13] where he identifies a "worldview" he calls Black Africa about which he says precisely nothing.  Similarly in his more comprehensive Beyond Ideology[14] he has only two very short references to Africa and his recent book of readings Sacred Texts of the World: A Universal Anthology,[15] edited with Richard D. Hecht has only 5 out of 408 pages devoted to things African.  Similarly in the Lessa and Vogt Reader in Comparative Religion only 22 out of 488 pages are devoted to African religions.[16]

 

The only exceptions to this almost total boycott of African religions by Western scholars is Whitfield Foy's selection of readings for the British Open University entitled Man's Religious Quest[17] where 48 pages of readings are provided.  But even there the attention given is limited and disproportionate to that devoted to other traditions such as Zoroastrianism which receives 60 pages.

 

AFRICAN RELIGIONS IN OLDER TEXTBOOKS

 

If the study of African religions is neglected by modern scholars this is not a new phenomenon.  A quick survey of Religious Studies texts from an earlier era will show a similar disregard for African traditions.  In 1813 John Belamy devoted 15 pages of his The History of all Religions[18] to the religions of India and 2 to African religions which he describes as "paganism".[19]

 

A few years later, in 1835, Charles A. Goodrich, in Religious Ceremonies and Customs, or the Forms of Worship Practices by Several Nations of the Known World, From the Earliest Records to the Present Time,[20] allowed 10 pages of his book to "the Hindoos"[21] and 3 pages to "African Tribes".[22]  James Gardner's popular The Faiths of the World: An Account of all Religions and Religious Sects, Doctrines, Rites, Ceremonies and Customs, Compiled from the Latest and Best Authors,[23] has many references to India and Indian deities but avoids African religions altogether.  Thus by the time of the World Congress of Religions in 1893, African religions had completely disappeared from the vision of progressive scholars.  As a result the proceedings of the Congress give no attention whatsoever to African religions.[24]

 

MODERN TEXTBOOK PORTRAYALS OF AFRICAN RELIGION

 

To further illustrate the unfavorable treatment received by African religions in popular textbooks those sections dealing with Africa in Ninian Smart's recent work The World's Religions will be examined in detail.  The reason for choosing Smart's work is that he is politically liberal certainly not a racist.  Therefore, his work may be criticized without fear of suggesting his approach to African religions is motivated by racism.  As a result if his approach is judged harshly it ought to provoke us to ask deeper questions about the study of African religion rather than criticize an individual who wrote a particular book.

 

To gain some idea of how biased Smart's approach actually is compare what he says about African religions with the religions of India.  Here the aim is simply to draw attention to the relative neglect of African religions not to suggest that anything said about India is, in the correct context, incorrect or inappropriate.

 

First, we note that the diversity of religion in the Indian sub-continents is seen as something exciting and creative.  But, African diversity is dismissed because African religion "has never been a single system" which is a bad thing compared with "historical world religions".[25]

 

Second, Indians are said to direct their worship towards "a large number of gods" because "God is described...as taking many forms..." so that the numerous gods become "manifestations of the One Divine Being."  Although in Africa similar practices may be observed Africans are said to enjoy a "refracted theism" which, by implication, is "primitive".[26]

 

Third, Indians are said to possess a mythic system with "a thousand themes."  African mythology is reduced to "myths of death and disorder" to which " trickster" myths are later added as though these three themes exhaust African mythic consciousness.[27]

 

Fourth, when sacrifice is discussed in the Indian context we are told it is a "central ritual" which must be interpreted as part of a vast system of interrelated beliefs.  But in the African context ritual is said to center on sacrifice and is "as elsewhere in the world, a gesture of communication with god" (italics mine).[28]  Recognizing that it is probably not Smart's intention, it is, nevertheless, true that his use of words is unfortunate.  He tends to suggest that African rituals are really not worth much consideration because they simply duplicate things which happen more interestingly elsewhere.[29]

 

Fifth, Indian expressions of anthropomorphism are said to represent a "splendid act of imagination."  But, African societies are seen as possessing anthropomorphic religions, which by implication are rather limited.[30]

 

No doubt some people will object to these comparisons and attempt to dismiss them as trivial quibbles.  Surely, they will argue, one cannot compare African and Indian religious traditions.  African religions lack philosophic sophistication but Indian religions share a rich philosophical tradition.  Therefore, critical comments on Smart's text are inappropriate.

 

This argument has its merits but can be questioned by comparing what Smart, or almost any other Religious Studies textbook writer, says about religious traditions which lack philosophical refinement.  Examine Smart's comments on Polynesian religion where one finds an appreciation entirely missing from his section on Africa.  Polynesian myths express "vast resources" but those of Africa simply "leave much to reflect on".[31]

 

Further, Smart feels that African religions have a particular problem in terms of their relation to "modern science" and the potential for them to produce "the philosophical basis for religious pluralism".  Contrast this pessimistic view of the spiritual resources of African societies with his positive assessment of Australia Aborigine religion.[32]

 

Writing about a fragmented society far smaller than almost any African society he comments "no doubt the Aborigines are on the verge of...[a new pan-Aboriginal religion creating an]...all-embracing reaffirmation of values, helped too by the interpretation of Aborigine religion created by writers on them, such as Mircea Eliade..."[33]  Yet, for some reason, Smart feels that African societies "are on the whole too small to be able to bear the full impact of modern social change".[34]

 

Finally, while Smart acknowledges that Christianity had "a long history" in Africa and that "dynamic" Christian movements have developed on the African continent he gives no hint that such church fathers as St. Augustine of Hippo were African and in all probability Black.  As a result the encounter between Christianity and African religion is seen as essentially a one way transaction with Africans adapting Christianity to their needs but not really influencing the outside world.

 

Yet it can be argued that the impact of Africa on Christianity is as great as the impact of Christianity on Africa and that without an appreciation of African culture one cannot really understand either classical or contemporary Christianity.[35]  Taking these considerations into account it seems clear that in Religious Studies texts, like that of Smart's, African religions get a very raw deal indeed.

 

THE PORTRAYAL OF AFRICAN RELIGIONS IN OLDER TEXTBOOKS

 

The unfavorable way in which writers of modern textbooks speak about Africa and African religions continues a tradition began in the last century.   James Clarke's Ten Great Religions[36] is typical in this respect.  Unlike modern writers Clarke does not hesitate to tell his readers "The negroes of Africa have been charged with all sorts of vices and crimes...But it must be remembered that the negroes of whom we have usually heard have been for centuries corrupted by the slave-traders...travellers who have penetrated the interior...have met with warm hospitality...They have, in short, found the rudimentary forms of the kingly and queenly virtues of truth and love, justice and mercy, united in the hearts of these benighted heathens...Such are the virtues which already appear in primitive man, rudimentary virtues, indeed..."[37]

 

Early twentieth century descriptions of African religions are equally prejudiced.   A good example of this approach is found in Edwin W. Smith in his tellingly entitled book The Religion of Lower Races: As Illustrated by the African Bantu which was published in 1923.  Here Smith describes African religion as "elementary" and "a religion of fear".[38]

 

            From these examples, and many similar ones can be provided, it becomes clear that even when African religions are discussed in textbooks the way they are portrayed is unlikely to excite students or encourage the development of Religious Studies courses in African religions.  On the contrary, if anything, they will simply confirm prejudices and lead to further neglect of Africa by anyone interested in the serious study of religion.

 

             

PART TWO: THE WESTERN INTELLECTUAL HERITAGE WHICH CREATED CONTEMPORARY ATTITUDES TOWARDS AFRICA AND AFRICAN RELIGIONS

 

AFRICA BEFORE THE ENLIGHTENMENT

 

            When European attitudes to Africa and Africans are examined one finds that prior to the Enlightenment Africans were regarded as people who had much in common with Europeans.[39]   Indeed in the eighteenth century one Ghanaian, Anton Wilhelm Amo actually gained a considerable reputation as a rationalist philosopher and in 1737 was appointed lecturer (Privatdozent) at the German University of Halle.  He had graduated from Halle in 1727 and obtained his doctorate from the University of Wittenburg in 1734.[40]

 

            Amo is but one example of a number of Blacks who were well received and respected in Europe prior to the Enlightenment.   There is also some evidence that Africans were regarded as a religious people with a deep spirituality.[41]  All of this changed with the Enlightenment.

 

THE IMPACT OF THE ENLIGHTENMENT ON EUROPEAN VIEWS OF AFRICA

 

            While it is usual to regard the Enlightenment as a period of reform and progress it was anything but progressive for Blacks.  A good case can be made that modern racism originates in the Enlightenment.[42]  Typical of Enlightenment attitudes to Black Africans is that of the archetypical Enlightenment figure David Hume.  He wrote "I suspect that negroes...be naturally inferior to the whites.   There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white...NEGRO slaves dispersed all over EUROPE, of which none ever discovered any symptoms of ingenuity, tho' low people, without education, will start up amongst us, and distinguish themselves..."[43]

 

            Similarly while Rousseau is remembered for his attack on slavery it is forgotten that he also spoke quite freely of "negroes and savages".[44]  Kant was more cautious in his essay Von den Verschiedenen Rassen der Menschen (1775), nevertheless he did appear to think that racial mixture was to be discouraged and laid a highly theoretical basis for segregation.[45]

 

            With such biased philosophical judgements behind him, Hegel had no hesitation in saying "The peculiarly African character is difficult to comprehend...In Negro life the characteristic point is the fact that consciousness has not yet attained to the realization of any substantial objective existence...The Negro, as already observed,  exhibits the natural man in his completely wild and untamed state.   We must lay aside all thought of reverence and morality...Among Negroes moral sentiments are quite weak, or  more strictly speaking, non-existent...At this point we leave Africa to mention it no more.   For it is no historical part of the World..." [46]

 

            From these examples it is clear that the leading figures of the Enlightenment and subsequent Romantic movement held a very low opinion of Africans.  It not only explains their failure to study African religion and society but also the continuing neglect of such studies by their disciples and eventually the founders of Religious Studies such as Max Muller.  But, is this the whole story?

 

EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURY EUROPEAN REACTIONS TO INDIA

 

            In light of the reaction of Enlightenment thinkers to Africa and Africans it might be expected that similar attitudes would have influenced European scholarly views of India.  And, during the early years of the nineteenth century there was considerable anti-Indian propaganda.  Popular accounts of Africa and India, written by traders and missionaries,[47] painted equally bleak pictures of both continents and their peoples.

 

            John Mill, Lord Macaulay, and a host of other "experts" considered Indian civilization degenerate and described it in terms very similar to contemporary descriptions of African life.[48]  Similarly, philosophers such as Hegel had little use for India or Indian religions.  For example the following extended extract from Hegel's Philosophy of History is worse in its attack on Hindu society and religion than any  similar contemporary account of Africa.  Hegel writes:

 

            "Absolute Being is presented here in the ecstatic state of a dreaming condition...The Character of Spirit in a state of Dream, is the generic principle of the Hindoo Nature...The Indian view of things is a universal Pantheism...The dreaming Unity of Spirit and Nature, which involves a monstrous bewilderment in regard to all phenomena and relations, we have already recognized as the principle of the Hindoo Spirit.   The Hindoo Mythology is therefore only a wild extravagance of Fancy...In all the pagodas, therefore, prostitutes and dancing girls are kept, whom the Brahmins instruct most carefully...Theological doctrine--relation of religion to morality--is here altogether out of the question...Objects of worship are thus either disgusting forms produced by art, or those presented by Nature...they have not the Spiritual as the import of their consciousness...Deceit and cunning are the fundamental characteristics of the Hindoo.   Cheating, stealing robbing, murdering are with him habitual...their whole life and ideas are one unbroken superstition, because among them all is revery and consequent enslavement."[49]

 

INDIA REVALUED

 

            Yet by the mid-nineteenth century the outlook of many Europeans had changed and India began to benefit from a growing appreciation of its religious and cultural heritage.  Clearly the similarity between Kantian philosophy, Hegelian dialectics and other forms of idealism affected western scholarly views of Indian religions.  Hegel was hostile to Indian religions[50] but his disciples[51] and other thinkers, such as Schopenhauer, who detested Hegel, were enthusiastic about Indian thought.[52]

 

AFRICA ABANDONED

 

            But no parallel appreciation of African values developed.  In fact, if anything the descriptions given by European writers of Africa and Africans sank lower and lower on the scale of humanity.[53]  Once again it would be easy to explain this devaluation of African life in terms of its "primitive" state as compared to the "richness" of Indian culture, especially Indian philosophy.  Such an explanation overlooks the fact that the American Indian and other similar groups did not suffer the same negative reactions as the African.[54]  Therefore it is increasingly difficult not to see an element of racism in the neglect of African religions.[55]  The truth is that the more one probes the treatment of Blacks, and Black religions, by western scholars the more grounds for grievance emerge.[56]

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF SACRED TEXTS

 

            One reason why an appreciation of African religion similar to the growing sympathy for Indian religion did not develop is possibly that while the "essence" of Indian beliefs could be "discovered" in translations of Eastern literature, especially the Upanishads, no similar compendium of African beliefs was available.  Indeed, often all that western scholars knew about African religions were sensational accounts of "primitive" practices by traders and missionaries.

 

            That Africa could have its own epics which might rival the Mahabarata[57] or that apparently irrational behavior, such as witchcraft, could have a logical basis simply did not occur to nineteenth century scholars.[58]  The result seems to have been that while John Mill could see Indian religions as essentially barbaric superstitions scholars studying Indian beliefs began to recognize an underlying order behind the rituals.  Indologists therefore began to attribute meaning to apparently meaningless acts thus weakening Mill's arguments.[59]  Later intellectual movements like Vedanta and, at a more popular level, Theosophy allowed even the crudest ritual acts to be re-interpreted in sophisticated ways giving Indian religions a respectability never achieved by African faiths.[60]

 

            But this is not all.  The very fact of interpretation led to further refinement and produced schools of apologists who saw in Indian religions a spiritual alternative to the bankrupt West [61]   That the Buddhism of Mrs. Rees-Davids is far removed from Buddhism as actually practiced by traditional Buddhists is unimportant.[62]  To rephrase Barth's famous comment on Harnack, in the nineteenth century western orientalists looked deep and long into the well of Indian spirituality and saw their own reflection.

 

            One result of all this academic activity was the development of what we now know as Religious Studies which grew to appreciate India while almost totally disregarding Africa.

 

PART THREE: THE POTENTIAL CONTRIBUTION OF AFRICAN RELIGIONS TO RELIGIOUS STUDIES

 

AFRICA AND THE WORLD

 

            In terms of land area Africa is far larger than India.  In fact the whole of the Indian sub-continent could easily fit into the African state of Zaire.   Yet more attention is paid to Tibet with a population of less than 6 million than to Africa with its 600 million people.  Clearly neither the size of the continent nor its population disqualify African religions from serious consideration.

 

            Therefore, if African religions should continue to be neglected by Religious Studies departments it would become hard to avoid the thought that this is because Africa is economically insignificant whereas India and Japan are perceived as important trading partners by western governments.   If this is so surely we ought to admit that our curriculum is governed by commercial considerations and abandon all claims to intellectual freedom by turning our universities into trade schools for exporters.[63]

           

GETTING ONE'S HANDS DIRTY

 

            Religious Studies as we know it today is essentially a textual exercise.  Thus if a student studies the New Testament in a university course it is highly unlikely that he or she will gain any insight into the actual operations of local churches in the town where he or she lives.[64]  In fact a vast gulf exists between the way New Testament scholars exegete the text and the way the Bible is used in churches.   This gulf leads to considerable frustration.  Biblical scholars fume at "narrow minded fundamentalists"[65] while students complain about the "unbelief" of professors who "destroy faith".[66]

 

            Similarly the experience of students who study Indian religions and then visit India can be disillusioning.[67]   In many courses neat, highly philosophical, accounts of Indian religious traditions are given illustrated by beautiful pictures of Hindu temples.  But visits to such temples often reveal grime, stench and the existence of "superstitious magical practices" which the textbooks never mentioned.[68]   Should a traditional priest be present he is likely to answer any questions by saying: "If you give me a donation I'll perform a ritual and you will have good luck..."[69]

 

            To make matters worse even highly educated believers or North American converts to the various eastern religions seem delighted with such answers.  As one such convert told a Religious Studies class at the University of Calgary: "I joined Sokka Gakki because it enabled me to pass a crucial exam in graduate school...,"[70] while a highly educated Indian lawyer in Durban boasted about the way Krishna enabled him to buy a house in a "white" area.[71]

 

            Such reactions are a far cry from Smart's Doctrine and Argument in Indian Philosophy[72] or even Edward Conze's Buddhism Its Essence and Development.[73]   Nevertheless they represent a reality often ignored in Religious Studies courses.  To make this observation is not to diminish the worth of Smart's or Conze's scholarship but rather to place the study of African religion in a comparative perspective and to plead for the study of living as well as textbook religions.

 

            The fact of the matter is that a vast gulf usually exists between the refined religion of scholars and the reality of life in the street.  But, because African religions lack recognized written traditions they present a very different picture.  Therefore, although it is possible to romanticize Africa,[74] the lack of an established textual tradition makes it much more difficult to persist in analysis divorced from observation of actual practices.

 

            All of this means that the student of African religions must look at religion in the raw.  Any study of African religion which goes beyond the most elementary reading involves reference to monographs based upon fieldwork and/or direct observation of religious practices.  Thus the student of African religion is forced to look at what people do as well as what they say.

 

            Thus while it is perfectly possible to study African religions from the works of anthropologists and other writers the lack of a large corpus of textual literature has the effect of limiting serious scholarship to those who are prepared to study African religions in the field.  In other words the study of African religions forces the researcher to "get his or her hands dirty".[75]  The great disadvantage of this is that it significantly raises the cost of research.  On the other hand the researcher is forced to come to terms with religion as it is lived.

 

            Once the researcher becomes the teacher a similar situation is encountered.  Students cannot easily be referred to received texts.  For anything other than the most elementary courses students must wade through anthropological monographs, historical narratives and similar works which locate the study of African religion within the context of African society generally.  While some may see this a disadvantage it seems to me to be one of the great advantages of including the study of African religions within Religious Studies courses.

 

THE MORAL IMPERATIVE

 

            Shortly after the completion of the film Zulu Zion a number of prominent figures in the Nazareth Baptist Church known as the amaNazarites were stoned to death by female members of the church.  Two reasons were given for this act.  The press reported that the women were "outraged" by the death of the church's prophet Johannes Galilee Shembe and that the women stoned their bishops because they believed they had murdered Shembe through the use of witchcraft.  The other, and more probable, explanation given by members of the church itself was that the bishops had been "dispatched" to join Shembe in the afterlife.

           

            Whichever explanation is accepted both provoke a moral response from the observer moving him or her beyond the Star Trek mentality of many Religious Studies courses.  It may be acceptable for Captain Kirk to avoid making moral judgements about strange cultures and we may feel that this is an ideal which avoids ethnocentrism, but, when one is face to face with ritual murder such intellectual abstractions in themselves appear immoral.

           

            Students of Indian religion can, of course, discuss the ritual aspects of human sacrifice in the Vedic age with impunity.  But Africanists cannot discuss the work of an African inyanga, or sorcerer, with such detachment.  Neither can one study Africa's white tribe, the Afrikaners, without being forced to make moral judgements about apartheid.

 

            Consequently, the study of African religions forces Religious Studies students to take the moral dimension of religious life seriously and to reflect on their own ethical commitments.  In this sense African religions take up themes found in the work of Reinhold Niebuhr which are often relegated to specialist "ethics" courses.  Lamentably such an attitude effectively creates an academic apartheid which divorces them from the mainstream of Religious Studies.[76]

 

HOLISM AND EXPERIENCE

 

            Today it is popular to talk about "holism" and claim that a particular religious tradition offers a "holistic" approach to life.  Therefore, to speak of African religions as holistic may appear superficial.  But this is not so because the term "holism" was first coined by an African, Jan Smuts,[77] to describe his own religious development.   African religions are holistic and by their very nature force the student to view religions in their totality.   In African religions, the sacred and the secular cannot be separated in a Durkheimian manner.[78]

 

            African holism forces us to ask important questions  about the nature of the sacred and compartmentalized western understandings of "religion".  Should religion be seen as a separate realm rigidly isolated from the "secular"?  Or can the whole of life be seen as an expression of religion?  In the process academic definitions of religion are challenged and we are forced to consider ways of thinking which take us far from the familiar traditions of Aristotle, Thomas, the Upanishads and Sankara.[79]

 

            Following such an approach students quickly discover the experiential aspect of African religions and are forced to reflect on the role of experience in religion generally.  Such reflection removes religion from an isolated intellectualism to the realm of the emotions and the totality of human life.

 

Religion and Healing

 

            Recognizing the role of experience in African religions quickly leads to a consideration of healing and an appreciation of the close relationship between religion and healing.[80]

 

            Once again the Indo-European intellectual tradition of examining religion in the abstract is reversed and a new way of seeing emerges which leads to the realization that African religions present a perspective on life remarkably adaptable to the modern world.  African religions have been remarkably successful in confronting modernity.  They are highly creative and contain elements which appeal to many people in modern society.[81]

 

IN CONCLUSION

 

            Today the study of African religion and religions is a neglected aspect of Religious Studies.  Many reasons contribute to this state of affairs yet it is hard to avoid the conclusion that prejudice and the lack of classical literary texts are important factors.  Clearly the Enlightenment played an important role in shaping contemporary attitudes.  Therefore, in a post-Enlightenment age the time has come to correct a gap in the curriculum by including the study of African religions in Religious Studies courses.

 

            The study of African religions will strengthen the field by supplying new perspectives and re-focusing current research towards living traditions which will, in turn, provide fresh insights into interpretations of the past.   Finally, religious development did not end in 1137, 1274, 1283, 1546, or even 1971.  It is an ongoing process and should be taught as such.  The introduction of courses on African religions offers an important means of recognizing this fact.

 

References

 

1 Watson E. Mills, ed, Directory of Faculty of Departments and Programs of Religious Studies in North America, Council of Societies for the Study of Religion, Macon, 1988.

2 This is the University of Leeds where Adrian Hastings teaches African religions but he is presently in America and may well not return to Britain.

3 As a result Luke Pato of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of the Transkei is having to write his thesis on traditional Xhosa religion with David Chidester.   Dr. Chidester is a gifted writer and able academic but he has done little or no work in the area of African religions.   No doubt this will change but the fact that Pato had to work with Chidester is significant.

4 NERMIC stands for the New Religious Movements and Independent/Indigenous Churches and is a Research Unit of the South African Human Sciences Research Council.

5 Ninian Smart, The Religious Experience of Mankind, Charles Scribner's Sons, N*New York, 1969.

6 Ninian Smart, The World's Religions, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, 1989, pp. 297-310 and 514-531.

7 Theodore M. Ludwig, The Sacred Paths, Macmillan, New York, 1989, pp. 51-52 & 55-56.

8 Niels C. Nielsen, Norvin Hein, Frank E. Reynolds, Alan         L. Miller, Samuel E. Karff, Alice C. Cochran and Paul McLean, eds., Religions of the World, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1983, pp. 24-32.

9 Richard . Bush, Joseph F. Byrnes, Hyla S. Converse, Kenneth Dollarhide, Azim, Najji, Robert F. Weir, and Kyle M. Yates, Jr., eds., The Religious World,             Macmillan, New York, 1988, pp. 32-51.

10 Denise Lardner Carmody and John Carmody, The Story of World Religions, Mayfield Publishing, Mountain View, California, 1988, pp.32-45.

11 Robert S. Ellwood,Many Peoples, Many Faiths, Prentice-Hall, Engelwood Cliffs, 1982.

12 John B. Noss and David S. Noss, Man's Religions, Macmillan, New York, 1984.

13 Trevor Ling, A History of Religion East and West, Macmillan, London, 1979.

14 Ninian Smart, Worldviews, Charles Scribner, New York, 1983, pp. 46-47.

15 Ninian Smart, Beyond Ideology: Religion nd the Future of Western Civilization, Harper and Row, San Francisco 1981.   Given the title Smart's omission of African religions is a major flaw.   Certainly in terms of sheer numbers far more people living in western society are influenced by the ethos of African spirituality  than by Buddhism to which he devotes the bulk of his argument.

16 Ninian Smart & Richard D. Hecht, Sacred Texts of the World A Universal Anthology, Crossroad, New York, 1982.

17 William A. Lessa and Evan Z. Vogt, Reader in Comparative Religion, Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1979, pp. 243-258, 362-366, and 393-399.

18 Whiffield Foy, ed., Man's Religious Quest, Croom Helm, London, 1978.

19 John Bellamy, The History of All Religions, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orm and Brown, London, 1813.

20 ibid p. 156-157.

21 Charles A. Goodrich, Goodrich, in Religious Ceremonies and Customs, or the Forms of Worship Practices by Several Nations of the Known World, From the Earliest Records to the Present Time, Hutchinson and Dwler,         Hartford, 1835.

22 ibid, p. 546-556.

23 ibid, p. 566-569.

24 James Gardner, The Faiths of the World: An Account of all Religions and Religious Sects, Doctrines, Rites, Ceremonies and Customs, Compiled from the Latest and Best Authors, A. Fullarton, Edinburgh, n.d.

25 J. W. Hanson, ed, The World's Congress of Religions.The Addresses and Papers Delivered Before the Parliament and an Abstract of the Congresses, Mammoth Publishing Co., Chicago, 1984.

26 Ninian Smart, The Religions of the World, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, 1989, cf. pp. 42 & 310

27 ibid, cf. pp. 45-47 & 300.

28 ibid, cf. pp. 47 & 300-301.

29 ibid, cf. pp. 54 & 302.

30 If this interpretation seems harsh it should be noted that a small and very unscientific survey was carried out  among some students at the University of Calgary who were asked to read a the appropriate sections in Smart's book and then report how they reacted to African religions.   Without exception they said that Smart's comments "turned them off".   As one students commented "Reading Smart convinced me that it is a waste of time to study African religions."

31 ibid, cf. pp. 299 & 54.

32 ibid, cf. pp. 166 & 531.

33 ibid, cf. pp. 529-531 & 494-495.

34 ibid, p. 495.

35 ibid p. 529.

36 ibid, cf. pp. 297, 517-520, & 523-531.

37 James Freeman Clarke, Ten Great Religions, Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1883.

38 ibid pp. 293-294.

39 Edwin W. Smith, The Religion of Lower Races: As Illustrated by the African Bantu, Macmillan, New York, 1923, pp. 2-3 & 66.

40 Cf. Hans Werner Debrunner, Presence and Prestige: Africans in Europe.   A History of Africans in Europe Before 1918, Basler Africa Bibliographien, Basel, 1979.

41 ibid p. 107.

42 ibid, pp. 35-36, cf. Graham W. Irwin, Africans Abroad:     a Documentary History of the Black Diaspora in Asia, Latin American and the Caribbean During the Age of Slavery, Columbia University Press, New York, 1977, pp. 34-35.

43 George L. Mosse, Toward the Final Solution: A History of European Racism, Howard Fertig, New York, 1978, pp. 1-7 & 19-20, cf. David Brion Davis, The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture, Cornell University Press, New York, 1966, pp. 391-421.

44 David Hume, Essays, Routledge and Sons, London, 1906, pp. 152-153.

45 Jean Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract, Everyman's Library, New York, 1966, p 165, cf. Mercer Cook, "Jean-            Jacques Rousseau and the Negro",  Journal of Negro History, vol. XXI, July 1936.

47 Immanuel Kant, Immanuel Kants Werke, Band II, Vorkritische Schriften, Bruno Cassirer, Berlin, 1922, pp. 445-460.

48 Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, The Philosophy of History, Willey Book Co., New York, 1944, pp. 93 & 99.

49 Cf. Kenneth Ingham, Reformers in India, Octagon Books, New York, 1973, pp. 1-54.

50 Cf. James Mill, The History of British India, abridged by William Thomas, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1975, pp. 137-189; Raghavan Iyer, ed., The Glass Curtain Between Asia and Europe, Oxford University Press, London, 1965, p. 211; M.E. Chamberlain, Britain and Indian: The Interaction of Two Peoples, David & Charles, Newton Abbot, 1974, 52, 68-74.

51 Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, The Philosophy of History, Willey Book Co., New York, 1944, pp. 139-141, 155, 157-158, 167.

52 Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, The Philosophy of History, Willey Book Co., New York, 1944, pp. 139-181.

53 Joachim Deppert, ed., India and the West, Manohar, New             Delhi, 1983, pp. 221-235.

54 Cf. Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, Dover Books, New York, 1969, where one finds repeated favorable references to Indian ideas and religions.   In North America Emmerson expressed a similar appreciation for Indian thought.   Cf. Carl T. Jackson, The Oriental Religions and American Thought: Nineteenth Century Explorations, Greenwood Press, Westport, 1981, pp. 45-62.

55 Cf. Christine Bolt, Victorian Attitudes to Race, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1971, pp. 109-156; and Phillip D. Curtin, The Image of Africa, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 1964, pp. 377-386.

56 Cf. Joseph R. Washington, Jr., Anti-Blackness in    English Religion: 1500-1800, Edwin Mellen Press, New York, 1984, p. 24 & 349; Christine Bolt & Seymour Drescher, eds, Anti-Slavery, Religion and Reform, Dawson, Archon, 1980, pp. 234-243.

57 This case is made in a strong attack on Western attitudes by the Kenyan writer Okot P'Bitek in his African Religions in Western Scholarship, East African       Literature Bureau, Nairobi, 1970.

58 For a dissuasion of the history of Religious Studies see: Louis Henry Jordan, Comparative Religion: Its Genesis and Growth, T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1905 and Eric J. Sharpe, Comparative Religion A History, Duckworth, London, 1975, neither of which discuss the contribution of African religions to the development of         Religious Studies.   In fact the only writer to           acknowledge that African religions did play a role in the development of the discipline appears to be Max Müller in his 1892 Gifford Lectures Anthropological Religion, Longmans, Green and Co., London, 1898, pp. 286-290.

59 In making this point I am not arguing that African epics are better or worse than Indian ones simply that in the nineteenth century nobody, in Europe at least, took African oral traditions seriously.   Cf.  Isidore Okpewho, The Epic in Africa: Toward a Poetic of the Oral Performance, Columbia University Press, New York, 1979; Elizabeth Gunner, "Forgotten men: Zulu bards and praising at the time of the Zulu kings", African Languages/Langues Africaines, Vol 2, 1976, pp. 71-89; and D.K. Rycroft & A.B. Ngcobo, eds., The Praises of Dingana: Izibongo zikaDingana, Natal University Press,Pietermaritzburg, 1988.

60 Cf. E.E. Evans-Pritchard, Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic Among the Azande, Oxford University Press, London, 1937.

61 The acceptance of Indian religions began in the seventeenth century with such writers as Sir William Jones and Charles Wilkins.    Mill considered these men     "romantics" who distorted Indian realities.   Cf. Chaimberlain, 1974, p. 68.

62 Cf. Sir R. Radhakrishnan's essay "Hinduism and the West" in L.S.S. O'Malley's Modern India and the West, Oxford University Press, London, 1941, pp. 338-353, for both an explanation and example of this type of argument.   See also Campbell, Ancient Wisdom Revived: A History of the Theosophical Movement, California University Press, Berkeley, 1980.

63 Cf. Jackson, 1981, op. cit.

64 Cf. Edward Conze, Buddhism its Essence and Development,

66  Bruno Cassirer, Oxford, 1957, p. 27.

66 Like so many popular beliefs this one is completely false.   In 1986 Canada's total exports to the India were only $275,000,000  while $852,000,000 worth of exports went to Africa.   Morocco alone takes $202,000,000 worth of Canadian exports making it, in fact, almost as important a trading partner as India.   And even with sanctions Canada does $116,000,000 trade with South Africa.   The situation with imports is similar.   Canada only imports $171,000,000 worth of Indian goods.   Yet Canadian imports from Nigeria come to $252,000,000.   Clearly, if we are to become trade schools for the import-export trade courses on Africa are more important than courses on India!

67 Cf John Filion, ed., The Canadian World Almanac & Book of Facts, Global Press, Toronto, 1989, pp. 431-432.

68 It is equally unlikely that in courses dealing with the early church the type of magical practices discussed by Peter Brown in The Cult of the Saints, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1982, will be discussed, although it should be observed that there is a growing trend to take magic in New Testament times seriously.

69 An expression of such frustration is to be found in James Barr, Fundamentalism, SCM Press, London, 1981.

70 For an articulate expression of this attitude see: John Warwick Montgomery, The Suicide of Christian Theology, Bethany Fellowship, Minneapolis, 1970.

71 This comment is based on actual student reactions.

72 My own experience of this is based on visits to Indian temples in Natal, South Africa.

73 Thus in Natal blessing cars is a flourishing trade enabling the drivers to drive like demons once the ceremony for "protection" is complete.   I also found that almost every priest I met wanted to "sell" me "good luck".   Indian friends in Natal who have spent extended visits to India say they experienced no difference there.

74 The speaker was in fact a highly successful American diplomat.

75 For obvious reasons I cannot give details of this case save to say professor G.C. Oosthuizen introduced me to          the man in 1987.

76 Ninian Smart, Doctrine and Argument in Indian Philosophy, Allen & Unwin, London, 1964.  For a very different perspective compare Sudhir Kakar's Shamans, Mystics and Doctors, Beacon Press, Boston, 1982.

77 Edward Conze, Buddhism Its Essence and Development, Bruno Cassirer, Oxford, 1951.  Similar comments could also be made about the academic treatment of Japanese religion by religious studies specialists: cf. Joseph M. Kitagawa,            Religion in Japanese History, Columbia University Press, New York, 1966, with Winston Davis, Dojo: Magic and Exorcism in Modern Japan, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1980.

78 As was done by Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen) whose book Out of Africa became a highly romantacized film.

79 I owe this terminology to Fred Welbourn whose enthusiasm for the study of African religions kindled my own interest.

80 For a discussion of the centrality of the ethical in Niebuhr's work see: Gordon Harland, The Thought of Reinhold Niebuhr, Oxford University Press, New York, 1960.

81 This is acknowledged by at least one contemporary guru of "holistic" thinking, Marilyn Ferguson in her book The Aquarian Conspiracy, J.P. Tarcher, Los Angelse, 1980, p. 48-49; and J.C. Smuts, Holism and Evolution,  N & S Press, Cape Town, 1987, first published 1926.

82 It is worth observing that not only does Durkheim's work not fit African realities but Rudolf Otto's work also seems inappropriate.

83 Cf. F.B. Welbourn, "Towards a Definition of Religion" Makerere Journal, 1960; and The Idea of a High-God in Three African Societies", Institute of African Studies Research Paper, University of Ife, 1964.

84 For an extended discussion of this topic see:G.C. Oosthuizen, S.D. Edwards, W.H. Wessels and I. Hexham, eds., Afro-Christian Religion and Healing in Southern Africa, Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, 1989.

85 Once it is realized that close links between pentecostalism, the charismatic movement, and African traditional religions exist then the question of the adaptability of African religions can be viewed in a broad historical and geographic context.   Cf. Karla Poewe, "Links and Parallels Between Black and White Charismatic Churches in South Africa and the States", Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, Vol. 10, No. 2, Fall, 1988; see also N>A> Scotch, "Magic, Sorcery and Football Among Urban Zulu: A Case of Re-interpretation Under Acculturation", Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1961.



1     Watson E. Mills, ed, Directory of Faculty of                      Departments and Programs of Religious Studies in North    America, Council of Societies for the Study of                   Religion, Macon, 1988.

[1]     This is the University of Leeds where Adrian Hastings                   teaches African religions but he is presently in                      America and may well not return to Britain.

[2]     As a result Luke Pato of the Department of Religious

      Studies at the University of the Transkei is having

      to write his thesis on traditional Xhosa religion with

      David Chidester.   Dr. Chidester is a gifted writer and

      able academic but he has done little or no work in the

      area of African religions.   No doubt this will change

      but the fact that Pato had to work with Chidester                 is significant.

[3]     NERMIC stands for the New Religious Movements and                 Independent/Indigenous Churches and is a Research Unit

      of the South African Human Sciences Research Council.

[4]     Ninian Smart, The Religious Experience of Mankind,                Charles Scribner's Sons, N*New York, 1969.

[5]     Ninian Smart, The World's Religions, Prentice Hall,               Englewood Cliffs, 1989, pp. 297-310 and 514-531.

[6]     Theodore M. Ludwig, The Sacred Paths, Macmillan, New              York, 1989, pp. 51-52 & 55-56.

[7]     Niels C. Nielsen, Norvin Hein, Frank E. Reynolds, Alan      L. Miller, Samuel E. Karff, Alice C. Cochran and Paul                 McLean, eds., Religions of the World, St. Martin's                   Press, New York, 1983, pp. 24-32.

[8]     Richard . Bush, Joseph F. Byrnes, Hyla S. Converse,               Kenneth Dollarhide, Azim, Najji, Robert F. Weir, and                Kyle M. Yates, Jr., eds., The Religious World,                         Macmillan, New York, 1988, pp. 32-51.

[9]     Denise Lardner Carmody and John Carmody, The Story

      of World Religions, Mayfield Publishing, Mountain View,

      California, 1988, pp.32-45.

[10]     Robert S. Ellwood,Many Peoples, Many Faiths, Prentice-                  Hall, Engelwood Cliffs, 1982.    

[11]     John B. Noss and David S. Noss, Man's Religions,                        Macmillan, New York, 1984.

[12]     Trevor Ling, A History of Religion East and West,                 Macmillan, London, 1979.

[13]     Ninian Smart, Worldviews, Charles Scribner, New York,                   1983, pp. 46-47.

[14]     Ninian Smart, Beyond Ideology: Religion nd the Future                   of Western Civilization, Harper and Row, San Francisco,

      1981.   Given the title Smart's omission of African

      religions is a major flaw.   Certainly in terms of

      sheer numbers far more people living in western society

      are influenced by the ethos of African spirituality

      than by Buddhism to which he devotes the bulk of his

      argument.

[15]     Ninian Smart & Richard D. Hecht, Sacred Texts of the

      World A Universal Anthology, Crossroad, New York, 1982.

[16]     William A. Lessa and Evan Z. Vogt, Reader in Comparative Religion, Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1979, pp. 243-258, 362-366, and 393-399.

[17]     Whiffield Foy, ed., Man's Religious Quest, Croom Helm,      London, 1978.

[18]     John Bellamy, The History of All Religions, Longman,              Hurst, Rees, Orm and Brown, London, 1813.

[19]     ibid p. 156-157.

[20]     Charles A. Goodrich, Goodrich, in Religious Ceremonies      and Customs, or the Forms of Worship Practices by                Several Nations of the Known World, From the Earliest                   Records to the Present Time, Hutchinson and Dwler,                Hartford, 1835,

[21]     ibid, p. 546-556.

[22]     ibid, p. 566-569.

[23]     James Gardner, The Faiths of the World: An Account of                   all Religions and Religious Sects, Doctrines, Rites,              Ceremonies and Customs, Compiled from the Latest and              Best Authors, A. Fullarton, Edinburgh, n.d.

[24]     J. W. Hanson, ed, The World's Congress of Religions.        The Addresses and Papers Delivered Before the   

      Parliament and an Abstract of the Congresses, Mammoth                   Publishing Co., Chicago, 1984.

21    Ninian Smart, The Religions of the World, Prentice                Hall, Englewood Cliffs, 1989, cf. pp. 42 & 310

[26]     ibid, cf. pp. 45-47 & 300.

[27]     ibid, cf. pp. 47 & 300-301.

[28]     ibid, cf. pp. 54 & 302.

[29]     If this interpretation seems harsh it should be noted                   that a small and very unscientific survey was carried                  out  among some students at the University of Calgary               who were asked to read a the appropriate sections in             Smart's book and then report how they reacted to                        African religions.   Without exception they said that               Smart's comments "turned them off".   As one students               commented "Reading Smart convinced me that it is a                waste of time to study African religions."

[30]     ibid, cf. pp. 299 & 54.

[31]     ibid, cf. pp. 166 & 531.

[32]     ibid, cf. pp. 529-531 & 494-495.

[33]     ibid, p. 495.

[34]     ibid p. 529.

[35]     ibid, cf. pp. 297, 517-520, & 523-531.

[36]     James Freeman Clarke, Ten Great Religions, Houghton               Mifflin Co., Boston, 1883.

[37]     ibid pp. 293-294.

[38]     Edwin W. Smith, The Religion of Lower Races: As                         Illustrated by the African Bantu, Macmillan, New York,   1923, pp. 2-3 & 66.    

[39]     Cf. Hans Werner Debrunner, Presence and Prestige:                 Africans in Europe.   A History of Africans in Europe                   Before 1918, Basler Africa Bibliographien, Basel, 1979.

[40]     ibid p. 107.

[41]     ibid, pp. 35-36, cf. Graham W. Irwin, Africans Abroad:      a Documentary History of the Black Diaspora in Asia,                   Latin American and the Caribbean During the Age of                   Slavery, Columbia University Press, New York, 1977, pp.     34-35.

[42]     George L. Mosse, Toward the Final Solution: A History                   of European Racism, Howard Fertig, New York, 1978, pp.      1-7 & 19-20, cf. David Brion Davis, The Problem of                Slavery in Western Culture, Cornell University Press,                   New York, 1966, pp. 391-421.

[43]     David Hume, Essays, Routledge and Sons, London, 1906,                   pp. 152-153.

[44]     Jean Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract, Everyman's      Library, New York, 1966, p 165, cf. Mercer Cook, "Jean-  Jacques Rousseau and the Negro",  Journal of Negro                History, vol. XXI, July 1936.

[45]     Immanuel Kant, Immanuel Kants Werke, Band II,                     Vorkritische Schriften, Bruno Cassirer, Berlin, 1922,                   pp. 445-460.

[46]     Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, The Philosophy of                        History, Willey Book Co., New York, 1944, pp. 93 & 99.

[47]     Cf. Kenneth Ingham, Reformers in India, Octagon Books,      New York, 1973, pp. 1-54.

[48]     Cf. James Mill, The History of British India, abridged      by William Thomas, University of Chicago Press,                         Chicago, 1975, pp. 137-189; Raghavan Iyer, ed., The                   Glass Curtain Between Asia and Europe, Oxford                     University Press, London, 1965, p. 211; M.E.                     Chamberlain, Britain and Indian: The Interaction of Two      Peoples, David & Charles, Newton Abbot, 1974, 52, 68-             74.        

[49]     Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, The Philosophy of                        History, Willey Book Co., New York, 1944, pp. 139-141,    155, 157-158, 167. 

[50]     Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, The Philosophy of                        History, Willey Book Co., New York, 1944, pp. 139-181.

[51]     Joachim Deppert, ed., India and the West, Manohar, New      Delhi, 1983, pp. 221-235.

[52]     Cf. Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and                    Representation, Dover Books, New York, 1969, where one    finds repeated favorable references to Indian ideas and       religions.   In North America Emmerson expressed a                similar appreciation for Indian thought.   Cf. Carl T.   Jackson, The Oriental Religions and American Thought:                   Nineteenth Century Explorations, Greenwood Press,                 Westport, 1981, pp. 45-62.

[53]     Cf. Christine Bolt, Victorian Attitudes to Race,                        Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1971, pp. 109-156; and      Phillip D. Curtin, The Image of Africa, University of                   Wisconsin Press, Madison, 1964, pp. 377-386.

[54]     Cf. Joseph R. Washington, Jr., Anti-Blackness in                        English Religion: 1500-1800, Edwin Mellen Press, New              York, 1984, p. 24 & 349; Christine Bolt & Seymour                 Drescher, eds, Anti-Slavery, Religion and Reform,                 Dawson, Archon, 1980, pp. 234-243.

[55]     This case is made in a strong attack on Western                         attitudes by the Kenyan writer Okot P'Bitek in his               African Religions in Western Scholarship, East African     Literature Bureau, Nairobi, 1970.

[56]     For a dissuasion of the history of Religious Studies              see: Louis Henry Jordan, Comparative Religion: Its               Genesis and Growth, T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1905 and    Eric J. Sharpe, Comparative Religion A History,                         Duckworth, London, 1975, neither of which discuss the                  contribution of African religions to the development of   Religious Studies.   In fact the only writer to                         acknowledge that African religions did play a role in                   the development of the discipline appears to be Max                   Muller in his 1892 Gifford Lectures Anthropological               Religion, Longmans, Green and Co., London, 1898, pp.              286-290.

[57]     In making this point I am not arguing that African                epics are better or worse than Indian ones simply that in the nineteenth century nobody, in Europe at least,                   took African oral traditions seriously.   Cf.  Isidore      Okpewho, The Epic in Africa: Toward a Poetic of the               Oral Performance, Columbia University Press, New York,   1979; Elizabeth Gunner, "Forgotten men: Zulu bards and      praising at the time of the Zulu kings", African                        Languages/Langues Africaines, Vol 2, 1976, pp. 71-89;                  and D.K. Rycroft & A.B. Ngcobo, eds., The Praises of              Dingana: Izibongo zikaDingana, Natal University Press,      Pietermaritzburg, 1988.

[58]     Cf. E.E. Evans-Pritchard, Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic     Among the Azande, Oxford University Press, London,                 1937.

[59]     The acceptance of Indian religions began in the                         seventeenth century with such writers as Sir William              Jones and Charles Wilkins.    Mill considered these men    "romantics" who distorted Indian realities.   Cf.                 Chaimberlain, 1974, p. 68.

[60]     Cf. Sir R. Radhakrishnan's essay "Hinduism and the                West" in L.S.S. O'Malley's Modern India and the West,                 Oxford University Press, London, 1941, pp. 338-353, for both an explanation and example of this type of                         argument.   See also Campbell, Ancient Wisdom Revived:      A History of the Theosophical Movement, California                University Press, Berkeley, 1980.

[61]     Cf. Jackson, 1981, op. cit.

[62]     Cf. Edward Conze, Buddhism its Essence and Development,

      Bruno Cassirer, Oxford, 1957, p. 27.

[63]     Like so many popular beliefs this one is completely               false.   In 1986 Canada's total exports to the India                   were only $275,000,000  while $852,000,000

      worth of exports went to Africa.   Morocco alone takes      $202,000,000 worth of Canadian exports making it, in                  fact, almost as important a trading partner as India.      And even with sanctions Canada does $116,000,000 trade      with South Africa.   The situation with imports is

      similar.   Canada only imports $171,000,000 worth

      of Indian goods.   Yet Canadian imports from Nigeria

      come to $252,000,000.   Clearly, if we are to become

      trade schools for the import-export trade courses on

      Africa are more important than courses on India!   Cf.

      John Filion, ed., The Canadian World Almanac & Book

      of Facts, Global Press, Toronto, 1989, pp. 431-432.

[64]     It is equally unlikely that in courses dealing with the     early church the type of magical practices discussed by      Peter Brown in The Cult of the Saints, University of             Chicago Press, Chicago, 1982, will be discussed,                        although it should be observed that there is a growing      trend to take magic in New Testament times seriously.

[65]     An expression of such frustration is to be found in               James Barr, Fundamentalism, SCM Press, London, 1981.

[66]     For an articulate expression of this attitude see: John     Warwick Montgomery, The Suicide of Christian Theology,      Bethany Fellowship, Minneapolis, 1970.

[67]     This comment is based on actual student reactions.

[68]     My own experience of this is based on visits to Indian      temples in Natal, South Africa.

[69]     Thus in Natal blessing cars is a flourishing trade                enabling the drivers to drive like demons once the                ceremony for "protection" is complete.   I also found                   that almost every priest I met wanted to "sell" me                "good luck".   Indian friends in Natal who have spent                   extended visits to India say they experienced no                       difference there.

[70]     The speaker was in fact a highly successful American              diplomat.

[71]     For obvious reasons I cannot give details of this case      save to say professor G.C. Oosthuizen introduced me to   the man in 1987.

[72]     Ninian Smart, Doctrine and Argument in Indian Philosophy, Allen & Unwin, London, 1964.  For a very different perspective compare Sudhir Kakar's Shamans, Mystics and Doctors, Beacon Press, Boston, 1982.

[73]     Edward Conze, Buddhism Its Essence and Development, Bruno Cassirer, Oxford, 1951.  Similar comments could also be made about the academic treatment of Japanese religion by religious studies specialists: cf. Joseph M. Kitagawa,      Religion in Japanese History, Columbia University Press, New York, 1966, with Winston Davis, Dojo: Magic and Exorcism in Modern Japan, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1980.

[74]     As was done by Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen) whose book Out of Africa became a highly romantacized film.

[75]     I owe this terminology to Fred Welbourn whose                     enthusiasm for the study of African religions kindled              my own interest.

[76]     For a discussion of the centrality of the ethical in              Niebuhr's work see: Gordon Harland, The Thought of                  Reinhold Niebuhr, Oxford University Press, New York,                   1960.

[77]     This is acknowledged by at least one contemporary guru      of "holistic" thinking, Marilyn Ferguson in her book              The Aquarian Conspiracy, J.P. Tarcher, Los Angelse,                   1980, p. 48-49; and J.C. Smuts, Holism and Evolution,

      N & S Press, Cape Town, 1987, first published 1926.

[78]     It is worth observing that not only does Durkheim's               work not fit African realities but Rudolf Otto's work                also seems inappropriate.

[79]     Cf. F.B. Welbourn, "Towards a Definition of Religion"

      Makerere Journal, 1960; and The Idea of a High-God in

      Three African Societies", Institute of African Studies

      Research Paper, University of Ife, 1964.

[80]     For an extended discussion of this topic see:

      G.C. Oosthuizen, S.D. Edwards, W.H. Wessels and I.                Hexham, eds., Afro-Christian Religion and Healing in

      Southern Africa, Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, 1989.

[81]     Once it is realized that close links between

      pentecostalism, the charismatic movement, and African

      traditional religions exist then the question of the

      adaptability of African religions can be viewed in

      a broad historical and geographic context.   Cf. Karla

      Poewe, "Links and Parallels Between Black and White

      Charismatic Churches in South Africa and the States",

      Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, Vol.              10, No. 2, Fall, 1988; see also N>A> Scotch, "Magic,

      Sorcery and Football Among Urban Zulu: A Case of

      Re-interpretation Under Acculturation", Journal of

      Conflict Resolution, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1961.

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