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de Wolf, Jan Jacob (1967) The study of religious change with reference to selected African societies. MPhil thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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In the introductory chapter the twofold aim of the thesis is stated. In the first place it tries to show that the three main streams in modem anthropological thought: the historical, the typological, and the logical-structural approach, are not mutually exclusive, but complementary. In the second place the thesis attempts to gain a better understanding of processes of religious change. Anthropologists have tried to do so, by comparing exotic and spectacular aspects of these processes from all over the world. In this thesis equal attention is paid to less spectacular aspects, and processes of religious change are put into a context, the analysis of which brings out three sets of factors, which must always be considered: 1. the traditional social system and religion: 2. the economic, political, and social changes, which take place at the time of the religious changes; 3. the internal dynamics of new religious associations and movements. The next part of the thesis describes processes of religious change among the Kongo, Ganda, and Zulu. The chapter on the Kongo describes the prophetic movement known as Ngunzism. The chapter on the Ganda gives a detailed account of the introduction of the new religions, and of the further development of the Anglican Church, and some religious movements connected with this development. The chapter on the Zulu reviews the early missionary enterprise, and the emergence and growth of different types of independent churches. The concluding chapter compares first the different historical developments to bring out their unique character. Then a typology is developed to facilitate a systematic comparison of common elements of new religious associations and movements. Another typology is given to help to understand better the actual processes of change. Lastly a definition of religion is given, which shows that the category of religious change is a logically sound generalization.

Item Type: Theses (MPhil)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:03

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