Can someone recommend to me a good, thorough entry-level book that gives definition to one or more of the various traditional African religions? One that doesn't send me to the dictionary every 5th word would be preferable! Big Grin

I am just looking for a basic overview and understanding of the various practices, rituals, and their meaning in the tribal way of African life.

Thanks! Smile
 
 BLACK by NATURE, PROUD by CHOICE.
Original Post
Greetings Sis. Ebonyrose

Your conditions make this difficult. Easy entry to anything spiritual is a hard one especially when the bigots have run history and philosophy for the last 500 years.

Iwa Pele- Falokun Fatunmbi

African Religions and philosophy John Mbiti

For stuff on how this translated into life for African slaves in the "new world" I love Robert Farris Thompson.

I would start with these and expand out to what resonates inside you. Have fun.
quote:
Originally posted by Fagunwa:
Greetings Sis. Ebonyrose

Your conditions make this difficult. Easy entry to anything spiritual is a hard one especially when the bigots have run history and philosophy for the last 500 years.

Iwa Pele- Falokun Fatunmbi

African Religions and philosophy John Mbiti

For stuff on how this translated into life for African slaves in the "new world" I love Robert Farris Thompson.

I would start with these and expand out to what resonates inside you. Have fun.


ER, Here is Falokun Fatumbe's website...

http://www.awostudycenter.com/welcome

My frst book was...

Black Gods- Orisa Studies, By John Mason

It is very simplistic though, Falokun Fatumbe is the best IMO.

John Mbiti comes from an outsider X-tian theologist perpective, but it is worth a read because it has a lot of good information.
Hi ER, I'm jumping in here rather late as I don't visit this area that often. I've been trying to track down an introductory book on African philosophy for absolute beginners... before I even contemplate that rich list kresge provided. (and learn French to boot dammit)

Living in Australia, I've found it very difficult to find any books on African philosophy - there is more emphasis on Eastern as an alternative to Western philosophy. I managed to track down one book - sitting gathering dust on a shelf here since 2002 (they were glad to see me obviously LOL! And, as usual, books find me Smile ) because the other books on Amazon were very exy.

I'll let you know what it's like, but here are the details: A Short History of African Philosophy by Barry Hallen. Here's a brief summary, but what encouraged me to buy it was the word accessible. Big Grin Remember I'm a novice and - shock, horror - I don't have any experience in studying philosophy.

Basically, in lieu of being able to fly to the USA and study African American studies, I am doing a home study, loosely based on what University text reading lists I can find online. Persistent if nothing else. Wink Smile

Book blurb: "...discusses major ideas, figures, and schools of thought in philosophy in the African context. While drawing out critical issues in the formation of African philosophy, Barry Hallen focuses on recent (?) scholarship and relevant debates that have made African philosophy essential to understand the rich and complex culutral heritage of the continent. Among the figures discussed are Ptah-htep, Zar'a a Ya'aqob, Anton Wilhelm Amon, Paulin Hountaondji, V. Y. Mudimbe, Oyeronke Oyewumi, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Kwasi Wiredu, Lucious Outlaw, and Lewis Gordon. Hallen also examines critical African challenges to Western conceptions of philosophy by taking on questions such as whether philosophy can exist in cultures that are significantly based on oral tradition and what may or may not constitute philosophical texts.

Hallen is Professor of Philosophy etc.... at Morehouse College and Fellow of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research at Harvard University."

Any feedback about this book or offers of help translating such would be appreciated when the need arises. Wink
.
quote:
Originally posted by EbonyRose:
Can someone recommend to me a good, thorough entry-level book that gives definition to one or more of the various traditional African religions? One that doesn't send me to the dictionary every 5th word would be preferable! Big Grin

I am just looking for a basic overview and understanding of the various practices, rituals, and their meaning in the tribal way of African life.

Thanks! Smile
Mbiti's book was a very good read for me.... as well... Smile

Peace,
Virtue
Thanks again, y'all! I did pick up a copy of John Mbiti's book, and thumbing through it, while awaiting my Dr.'s appt, it does seem like I will be able to understand it enough to gain a good working concept!! appl Now, if I can just find the time to really sit down and read it ...

art_gurl ...

Good luck to you, girlfriend!! But, just the name "philosophy" gives me the shivers!! Big Grin

And I never even begin to read one of Kresge's posts without a dictionary handy!! Eek Big Grin Tackling one of his reading lists would probably make my head blow up or something! Big Grin

But, by the time I get through the basics, you'll be able to take me through the intermediate phase! Smile
quote:
Originally posted by EbonyRose:
Thanks again, y'all! I did pick up a copy of John Mbiti's book, and thumbing through it, while awaiting my Dr.'s appt, it does seem like I will be able to understand it enough to gain a good working concept!! appl Now, if I can just find the time to really sit down and read it ...

art_gurl ...

Good luck to you, girlfriend!! But, just the name "philosophy" gives me the shivers!! Big Grin

And I never even begin to read one of Kresge's posts without a dictionary handy!! Eek Big Grin Tackling one of his reading lists would probably make my head blow up or something! Big Grin

But, by the time I get through the basics, you'll be able to take me through the intermediate phase! Smile

Sorry ER,
Just a follow up to OA's comments about Mbiti. In my opinion, as she notes, his training is as a Christian theologian, and thus he imposes Christian categories (salvation, atonement, sin, redemption, etc.) on the African traditions. As long as one keeps such in mind, I think it can serve as a good introduction.
quote:
Originally posted by kresge:
Sorry ER,
Just a follow up to OA's comments about Mbiti. In my opinion, as she notes, his training is as a Christian theologian, and thus he imposes Christian categories (salvation, atonement, sin, redemption, etc.) on the African traditions. As long as one keeps such in mind, I think it can serve as a good introduction.


It's okay, Kresge ... you and Merriam-Webster's "Word for the Day" are my vocabulary builders! For a transcriptionist, this is priceless! Big Grin

And perhaps that will be what gives me the basic understanding I'm looking for. I'm in no way highly educated in the Christian categories, but seeing as how I was raised Methodist (read: went to church) until about the age of 7 or 8, those are the only kind of references I know, I guess. If you're saying he makes somewhat of a correlation between the two, then I think I will be able to relate, in the little I know of African ways, those things he's making reference to!

But your suggestion will help! Smile
The Holy Bible is traditional for believers from Africa. The people are described with black skin and wooly hair. We are told if they didn't follow God's commandments, he would not continue to bless them. Their enemies would take them into slavery. Of course we are warned some deception would creep in to lead believers astray to other gods.

Black History - beginning to end.
quote:
Originally posted by DivineJoy:
The Holy Bible is traditional for believers from Africa. The people are described with black skin and wooly hair. We are told if they didn't follow God's commandments, he would not continue to bless them. Their enemies would take them into slavery. Of course we are warned some deception would creep in to lead believers astray to other gods.

Black History - beginning to end.


Divine Joy,

The Holy Bible may be traditional to Africa, but it is not as old as the people of Africa If the people of Africa have always been a spiritual people, then what of the religion that was practiced before the Bible? Confused
quote:
Originally posted by EbonyRose:
quote:
Originally posted by DivineJoy:
The Holy Bible is traditional for believers from Africa. The people are described with black skin and wooly hair. We are told if they didn't follow God's commandments, he would not continue to bless them. Their enemies would take them into slavery. Of course we are warned some deception would creep in to lead believers astray to other gods.

Black History - beginning to end.


Divine Joy,

The Holy Bible may be traditional to Africa, but it is not as old as the people of Africa If the people of Africa have always been a spiritual people, then what of the religion that was practiced before the Bible? Confused


The belief system was always in place. It was recorded to continue and guide God's chosen people after they were spread across the globe. Don't limit it to a few years. The story begins at creation.
quote:
Originally posted by DivineJoy:
We are told if they didn't follow God's commandments, he would not continue to bless them. Their enemies would take them into slavery.

So, slavery was our fault, huh? It was our penance for disobeying God's law?

This is what has always confused me about Black Christians. There are so many of them that always end up apologizing for living.

quote:
Of course we are warned some deception would creep in to lead believers astray to other gods.

What other gods? The Bible only speaks of one God. How can deception lead believers to other gods, when there are no other gods?
quote:
Originally posted by Black Viking:
quote:
Originally posted by DivineJoy:
We are told if they didn't follow God's commandments, he would not continue to bless them. Their enemies would take them into slavery.

So, slavery was our fault, huh? It was our penance for disobeying God's law?

This is what has always confused me about Black Christians. There are so many of them that always end up apologizing for living.

quote:
Of course we are warned some deception would creep in to lead believers astray to other gods.

What other gods? The Bible only speaks of one God. How can deception lead believers to other gods, when there are no other gods?

Black Viking,
Actually, the Bible does speak of other gods. Baal, El, etc. YHWH is first understood as a tribal god among many other gods among the ancient Hebrews. This God eventually is held to be greater than all other Gods (henotheism), and finally, after millenia, do we have monotheism.
quote:
Originally posted by kresge:
Black Viking,
Actually, the Bible does speak of other gods. Baal, El, etc. YHWH is first understood as a tribal god among many other gods among the ancient Hebrews. This God eventually is held to be greater than all other Gods (henotheism), and finally, after millenia, do we have monotheism.

My understanding was, "I am the one true God. Thou shalt not place false gods before me".

What then, is the definition of the word false?
quote:
Originally posted by Black Viking:
So, slavery was our fault, huh? It was our penance for disobeying God's law?

This is what has always confused me about Black Christians. There are so many of them that always end up apologizing for living.

You reap what you sow...
quote:
What other gods? The Bible only speaks of one God. How can deception lead believers to other gods, when there are no other gods?

The Holy Bible speaks of Baal and other false gods, wack traditions the heathens follow and warns us what not to do.
Translation of Dicine posts...

Stay away from those heathen African spiritual systems! You know the only valid spiritual system is the one our commen oppressors forced on us! Until the white man came we were savage heathens! Creation is dated back to the White man! The White man is God!
quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:
Translation of Dicine posts...

Stay away from those heathen African spiritual systems! You know the only valid spiritual system is the one our commen oppressors forced on us! Until the white man came we were savage heathens! Creation is dated back to the White man! The White man is God!


spank

:: Backing as far away from OA as I can get 'cause the lightening is surely not far behind!! :: Big Grin
quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:
Translation of Dicine posts...

Stay away from those heathen African spiritual systems! You know the only valid spiritual system is the one our commen oppressors forced on us! Until the white man came we were savage heathens! Creation is dated back to the White man! The White man is God!

OA,
DivineJoy's theological posture is more along the lines of Black Hebrews or Black Israelites, although her scriptural hermeneutic does seem to be more consistent with fundamentalist Christianity. Frown
quote:
Originally posted by kresge:
quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:
Translation of Dicine posts...

Stay away from those heathen African spiritual systems! You know the only valid spiritual system is the one our commen oppressors forced on us! Until the white man came we were savage heathens! Creation is dated back to the White man! The White man is God!

OA,
DivineJoy's theological posture is more along the lines of Black Hebrews or Black Israelites, although her scriptural hermeneutic does seem to be more consistent with fundamentalist Christianity. Frown


Interestingly strange.

ER,

Another book I suggest is...

The Handbook of Yoruba Religious Concepts by Baba Ifa Karade
Oshun, a new addition to my reading list is:
Flash Of The Spirit by Robert Farris Thompson... who is an art historian - any thoughts on him? - who looks at Yoruba, Kongo, Ejagham, Mande and Cross River cultures and the influence of their social and metaphysical traditons, architecture, religion and idiogrammatic writing, on Cuba, Haiti, Trinidad, Mexico, Brazil, the US and other places. I'm a few weeks away from reading it though.
.
quote:
Originally posted by FireFly:
Oshun, a new addition to my reading list is:
Flash Of The Spirit by Robert Farris Thompson... who is an art historian - any thoughts on him? - who looks at Yoruba, Kongo, Ejagham, Mande and Cross River cultures and the influence of their social and metaphysical traditons, architecture, religion and idiogrammatic writing, on Cuba, Haiti, Trinidad, Mexico, Brazil, the US and other places. I'm a few weeks away from reading it though.
.


Never heard of him, so I can't comment. I may be able to check out the book one day though.

Here is another suggested book for ER,

Yoruba Culture: A Philosophical account By Kola Abimbola.

Don't be scared off by the term philosophical, his writing style is easy to understand, it is as if someone is talking to you.
Thanks, Oshun Auset!!

I did make it through Mbiti's book! Very interesting ... and I think I got it, but it's all kind of rumbling around in my head right now! Smile And created a lot of questions. sck I figured I'll probably end up reading it again ... but, I think I'll try another of your suggestions and see if that fills in some blanks, maybe! Big Grin
quote:
Originally posted by EbonyRose:
Thanks, Oshun Auset!!

I did make it through Mbiti's book! Very interesting ... and I think I got it, but it's all kind of rumbling around in my head right now! Smile And created a lot of questions. sck I figured I'll probably end up reading it again ... but, I think I'll try another of your suggestions and see if that fills in some blanks, maybe! Big Grin



No problem, when I remember more titles I'll post them.

I suggest reading one of the other books rather than rereading Mbiti. When I flipped through Mbiti a little while ago(I hadn't read it for quite some time0 his bias was overwhelming. It actually prevents the absorbtion of the information in the book.(at least for me, that kind of stuff is highly distracting) Plus his biased analysis makes for major mistakes in his interpretation of Traditional African spiritual systems. on a lot of stuff he 'just didn't get it'.
quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:
quote:
Originally posted by EbonyRose:
Thanks, Oshun Auset!!

I did make it through Mbiti's book! Very interesting ... and I think I got it, but it's all kind of rumbling around in my head right now! Smile And created a lot of questions. sck I figured I'll probably end up reading it again ... but, I think I'll try another of your suggestions and see if that fills in some blanks, maybe! Big Grin



No problem, when I remember more titles I'll post them.

I suggest reading one of the other books rather than rereading Mbiti. When I flipped through Mbiti a little while ago(I hadn't read it for quite some time0 his bias was overwhelming. It actually prevents the absorbtion of the information in the book.(at least for me, that kind of stuff is highly distracting) Plus his biased analysis makes for major mistakes in his interpretation of Traditional African spiritual systems. on a lot of stuff he 'just didn't get it'.



OA I've been looking for the book by Baba Ifa. my yaya told me to pick it up.....Some other good books are Olodumare: God in Yourba Belief by E. Bolaylldowu B.D PH.D and Finding Soul on the Path of Orisa by Tobe Melora Correal
quote:
Originally posted by pandora:
quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:
quote:
Originally posted by EbonyRose:
Thanks, Oshun Auset!!

I did make it through Mbiti's book! Very interesting ... and I think I got it, but it's all kind of rumbling around in my head right now! Smile And created a lot of questions. sck I figured I'll probably end up reading it again ... but, I think I'll try another of your suggestions and see if that fills in some blanks, maybe! Big Grin



No problem, when I remember more titles I'll post them.

I suggest reading one of the other books rather than rereading Mbiti. When I flipped through Mbiti a little while ago(I hadn't read it for quite some time0 his bias was overwhelming. It actually prevents the absorbtion of the information in the book.(at least for me, that kind of stuff is highly distracting) Plus his biased analysis makes for major mistakes in his interpretation of Traditional African spiritual systems. on a lot of stuff he 'just didn't get it'.



OA I've been looking for the book by Baba Ifa. my yaya told me to pick it up.....Some other good books are Olodumare: God in Yourba Belief by E. Bolaylldowu B.D PH.D and Finding Soul on the Path of Orisa by Tobe Melora Correal


Thanks for adding to the list. I keep running into Baba Ifa Karade's books at botanicas when I go for supplies rather than Black book stores. For some reason the Mexican/Cuban/Puerto Rican botanicas where I live always carry him.

The Handbook of Yoruba Religious Concepts can be purchased online but some of his pamphlets devoted to each Orisa are hard to find online but are always in the botanicas.

Hope that helps.
quote:
Originally posted by FireFly:
Oshun, a new addition to my reading list is:
Flash Of The Spirit by Robert Farris Thompson... who is an art historian - any thoughts on him? - who looks at Yoruba, Kongo, Ejagham, Mande and Cross River cultures and the influence of their social and metaphysical traditons, architecture, religion and idiogrammatic writing, on Cuba, Haiti, Trinidad, Mexico, Brazil, the US and other places. I'm a few weeks away from reading it though.
.


I love R.F.Thompson!! He gets it by that I mean he gets how africa is retained in the spiritual memory of the slave decendants(sic).

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