Encyclopedia of African Religion
Starred Review. With more than 68 books and 300 articles to his credit, Asante (Temple Univ.) is the most published African American scholar. Here, with longtime collaborator Mazama (also of Temple Univ.), he elevates the African religious experience above its common Western identification with primitive or tribal religions found in much broader works. Featuring nearly 500 entries ranging in length from a few paragraphs to several pages, this epic work illuminates the depth of African religious diversity through essays on topics such as circumcision, ontology, oral traditions, vodou, and zin. Yet just as diversity is central to this work, so, too, are shared experiences, as the appendix of creator names can attest. Each of the two volumes opens with a list of entries and, to enhance the reading experience, a reader's guide that collates related entries into 16 topical categories (e.g., Ancestral Figures, Communalism; Deities; and Rituals and Ceremonies). BOTTOM LINE Numerous titles focusing on particular beliefs in Africa exist, including Marcel Griaule's Conversations with Ogotemmeli, but this one presents an unparallelled exploration of a multitude of cultures and experiences. It is both a gateway to deeper exploration and a penetrating resource on its own. This is bound to become the definitive scholarly resource on African religions. [Available electronically via Sage eReference as well as Gale Virtual Reference Library.]—Daniel Sifton, Cariboo Regional Dist. Lib., Williams Lake, B.C.
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