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Agu, Ogonna Chibuzo (1990) An examination of the Nri-Igbo concept of Chi in the light of oral traditions. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The concept of Chi has been one of the most debated in Igbo Traditions, and yet the most ambiguous, enigmatic, and controversial to date. Right from the pre-colonial times, the early European writers who visited Igboland observed the important place this concept had in the lives of the people. During the colonial period the official anthropologists to the British government and some independent scholars in the field called sufficient attention to this concept through their works. To them Chi meant various things starting from the Supreme God to the personal tutelary god of the individual. There was the tendency to look at this concept from the view-point of western cultural assumptions. Even with the indigenous Igbo writers themselves, the problem was how to to shake the climate of thought already established by the earlier writers. This study sets out to look critically at these prevailing assumptions of Chi from an entirely new perspective. Limiting its scope to the Nri-Igbo cultural range, it brings the study immediately into focus by maintainting that the concept is integrally related to the objective reality of the sun Anyaanwu with which it has often been associated. This it has done by relating the subject of Chi to an increased context of its verbal use. Starting from this premise of its association with the sun, the concept is seen as the window by which day and night can be explained, and following from them, the mysteries of life and death, individual destinies etc. It goes further to contest the assumption that Chi is the supreme God, a latter day development, perhaps, but this after its complexities have necessarily been rigorously analyzed.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:01

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