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Navigating Political Revolutions: Ethiopia's Churches During and After the Mengistu Regime

Haustein, Jörg (2009) 'Navigating Political Revolutions: Ethiopia's Churches During and After the Mengistu Regime.' In: Koschorke, Klaus, (ed.), Falling Walls: The Year 1989/90 as a Turning Point in the History of World Christianity. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, pp. 117-136. (Studien zur Außereuropäischen Christentumsgeschichte (Asien, Afrika, Lateinamerika); 15)

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Abstract

The end of Ethiopia’s socialist military dictatorship in 1991 was of much consequence for the country’s churches and confessional landscape as a whole, signified perhaps most of all by the replacement of the Orthodox patriarch, the sizeable growth of the Protestant churches, and the proliferation of Pentecostal/Charismatic movements. However, when tracing the historical roots of these developments, it is evident that the events of 1991 did not mark a turning point of singular importance for Ethiopia’s churches, but are part of a larger transformation at the end of the 20th century as Ethiopia transitioned from a traditional monarchy with an established Orthodox state church to a federal republic upholding religious freedom, by way of an atheist socialist dictatorship. The country’s churches were not able to influence these political turns nearly as much as they were impacted by them, and thus continuously were confronted with the precarious task of political reorientation. Tracing these processes by way of example in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the Lutheran Mekane Yesus Church and the Pentecostal Full Gospel Believers’ Church, three different strategies for navigating the political currents of contemporary Ethiopia will be highlighted in order to elucidate the dynamics of church politics in the recent turn to liberal democracy.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of the Study of Religions
ISBN: 9783447059954
Depositing User: Joerg Haustein
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2013 09:11
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/17023

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