Cover image for African spirituality : forms, meanings, and expressions
African spirituality : forms, meanings, and expressions
Olupona, Jacob K. (Jacob Kẹhinde), 1951-
Publication Information:
New York : Crossroad, [2000]

Physical Description:
xxxvi, 476 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
General Note:
"A Herder and Herder book."

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BL2462.5 .A375 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



As Africa moves into the 21st century it faces new spiritual, social, and economic challenges.

Author Notes

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."

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

With contributions from African and non-African scholars, editor Olupona (African Traditional Religion in Contemporary Society) provides a comprehensive analysis of African spirituality. The book is divided into four parts: "Cosmologies and Sacred Knowledge," "Authority, Agencies, and Performance," "Africans' Encounters with Other Religions," and "African Spirituality in the Americas." The discussions range from a general analysis of African spirituality through a description and evaluation of religious symbols and traditions to an examination of the impact of Islam and Christianity on indigenous African traditions. Common to all the writings is an attempt to bring Western rationality to bear while remaining sensitive to the peculiarly African nature of the phenomena addressed. The intellectual depth is commendable in this rare collection of valuable writings on a complex subject. Highly recommended for libraries with religion and/ or social science collections.DEdward K. Owusu-Ansah, Murray State Univ. Lib., KY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This volume is the third in a proposed 25-volume series on "World Spirituality" meant to provide "an encyclopedic history of the religious quest." (Volume 16, Christian Spirituality: Origins to the Twelfth Century, appeared first, CH May'86, and only 14 have yet been published). Like festschriften, this random assortment of 20 essays by 21 contributors, though lacking neither profundity nor interest, simply does not exhaust the entitled topic. As the contributor of "Art and Spirituality" noted incidentally, "unfortunate omissions and unreliable generalizations are inevitable." Editor Olupona's introduction tries to integrate the disparate contributions into some coherence and identifies the volume's initiator as Charles Long, an outstanding African American historian of religions, who provides a foreword. The essays are divided into four parts: cosmologies and sacred knowledge (1-4); authority, agencies, and performance (5-11); Africans' encounter with other religions (12-17--uniqu ely no.13 considers medieval Islam; no.16, ancient Latin Christianity); and African spirituality in the Americas (18-20). They are of uneven length (7-34 pages), though each concludes with a reference bibliography of varying quantity (5-53 titles), usually including work by the contributor. While this volume might stand alone, significance is best seen when used within the series. Upper-division undergraduate through faculty and researchers; general readers and professionals. C. C. Smith emeritus, University of Wisconsin--River Falls