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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Aspects of Contemporary Religious Change among the Dinka
Author:Nikkel, Marc R.
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa
Geographic term:Sudan
Subjects:religious conversion
Anglican Church
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/1580785.pdf
Abstract:Both Catholic and Protestant missionaries have found the land of the Dinka of Sudan exceedingly poor soil for planting European forms of Christianity. Today, however, in the midst of famine, civil war, and displacement, rural populations are shifting their spiritual allegiances in unprecedented numbers. This paper explores some of the motivations and dynamics behind present religious change, with particular interest in the manner in which Dinka Christians interpret their experience. Material for this paper, though drawn largely from Bor area, is representative of contemporary patterns throughout the former sphere of the Anglican Church Missionary Society (CMS) among Dinka in Upper Nile and Bahr el Ghazal. Numerous accounts are given which, for Christians in Bor area, provide empirical proof of the danger and diminishing returns of the 'jak', the local, mediating 'powers'. In contrast to the losses suffered in relation to the 'jak', accounts circulate of miraculous healing under the communal ministries of the Church. As the authority of the 'jak' and their keepers diminishes it seems that boundaries between clans and ethnic groups which they have helped to define, are blurred through the displacement and the impact of war. For the present, at least, it appears that the Church provides the basis for a more broadly based identity, uniting various Dinka groups together with their neighbours in southern Sudan. Notes, ref.