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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Oral sources in the study of African indigenous religion
Author:Ejizu, Christopher I.ISNI
Periodical:Cahiers des religions africaines
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:African religions
oral traditions
Abstract:From the mid-1970s onwards, the recognition of the vital importance of oral materials as a primary source of data has been on the decline among scholars in the field of African indigenous religion. Ironically, the trend to rely more on written than on oral sources in the study of African traditional religion, which has resulted in the frequent peddling of stereotypes, set in just as greater numbers of indigenous scholars were entering the field. Many of these assumed that personal acquaintance with the traditional beliefs and practices of their respective communities was sufficiently representative of the entire language group. The Christian background of the first generation of indigenous scholars of African traditional religion is equally significant in appreciating their general attitude towards fieldwork and the use of oral sources. However, as the author underlines, oral sources are of crucial significance in the systematic study of African indigenous religion because of the nature of the subject itself, since African religion is essentially an oral and pervasive religion. In conclusion, he discusses the implications for the development of a viable methodology for the study of African religion. Notes, ref.