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Book Book Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The listening ebony: moral knowledge, religion, and power among the Uduk of Sudan
Author:James, WendyISNI
City of publisher:Oxford
Publisher:Clarendon Press
Geographic term:Sudan
Subjects:African religions
Abstract:Notions of the person and of the foundations of bodily and moral experience lie at the heart of this study of the Uduk-speaking people, a marginal people of the Sudan-Ethiopian border. The first part of the book discusses enduring elements of personal knowledge against the heritage of a hunter's world view. The second part gives an account of how alien religious discourse has confronted the Uduk in the course of the region's political history. The impact and partial assimilation of fundamentalist Christianity, Islam and Nilotic theocentric cults is described. The third section tells the story of the contemporaneous rise of a new diviners' movement, in part an antithetical response drawing upon the older archive of moral knowledge. The key act of the diviners is oracular consultation of the burning ebony wood: through the ebony, personal healing is sought and the foreign gods are kept at bay. This book abandons the relativist paradigm of the timeless, integrated tribal culture. In drawing upon general moral philosophy, historical writing and literary criticism, it offers a modern analysis of a Sudanese people's experience with implications for the crosscultural study of religion.