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03 Nov 2006
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£62.00
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9781403974808
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DescriptionReviewsContentsAuthors

The Nigerian diaspora is now world-wide, and when Yoruba travel, they take with them their religious organizations. As a member of the Cherubim and Seraphim church in London for over thirty years, anthropologist Hermione Harris explores a world of prayer, spirit possession, and divination through dreams and visions.


Description

The Nigerian diaspora is now world-wide, and when Yoruba travel, they take with them their religious organizations. As a member of the Cherubim and Seraphim church in London for over thirty years, anthropologist Hermione Harris explores a world of prayer, spirit possession, and divination through dreams and visions.


Reviews

"The Yoruba community in London was one of the largest African groups, already substantial when Harris began her fieldwork in 1969, and is now an established and significant ‘ethnic minority.’ Her account is based on extensive participant observation, interviews, and written records kept by the church members at her request. The narrative is lively, and enriched with a number of fascinating descriptions ofAládùúrà services, and illuminating testimonies, reminiscences, and comments by the worshippers. It is clear that Harris was an excellent field worker, endowed with both resilience and empathy, and the material she presents is full and detailed. As a study of religious change, this book is important for its documentation of a substantial but neglected topic: the nature of Aládùúrà churches in Britain. Extensive and important work has been done on the Aládùúrà churches in Nigeria by Harold Turner, J. D. Y. Peel, and others, but very little on the variants found among Yoruba communities in Britain. It explores the interaction of traditional and Christian spiritual repertoires in commendable depth. As a study of the religious dimension of a particular community - Yoruba labor/educational migrants in late-twentieth century London-it is a pioneering piece of work which will find a readership in several academic disciplines." - Karin Barber, University of Birmingham, England

"Deeply researched, beautifully written, and informed by a lively sympathy for its subjects, Hermione Harris's book is by far the richest study that has yet been done of an African Christian church in the Diaspora. Reaching back to the first big wave of Nigerian settlement in London over forty years ago, Harris's subtle analysis shows how indigenous Yoruba notions of spiritual power fuse with Bible interpretation to shape the life-worlds of Nigerian students and workers, and underpin the rituals of prayer and revelation that answer to their practical and existential needs. This will surely prove a benchmark study for anyone interested in the religious life of the African Diaspora for many years to come." - J. D. Y. Peel, SOAS (London)
"At a time when contemporary anthropological and sociological scholarship on African Christianity has concentrated on multifaceted processes of globalizing Pentecostalism, Hermione Harris's new book is an important reminder that a fresh understanding of the so-called African Initiated (or Indpendent/Instituted) Churches (AICs) is necessary in putting African Pentecostalism in proper (global) perspective... Scholars and students of African religions/Christianities across the disciplines will find this book of much use in their work." - Asonzeh Ukah


Contents

Introduction
'Stars of the World': Yoruba Worker-Students in Britain
'The Cherubim and Seraphim Church, United Kingdom'
From Ase to Agbara: the Concept of Spiritual Power in the Cherubim and Seraphim
'Electrical Energy': Dynamic Metaphors of Spiritual Power
Experiencing Power: Possession by the Holy Spirit
Revelation as Divinatory Practice
'Practical Christianity': Revelation and the Power of Prayer
Epilogue: Empowerment and Yoruba Christianity


Authors

HERMIONE HARRIS is an Anthropologist, currently a research associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University, UK.