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Journeys to the Spiritual Lands : The Natural History of a West Indian Religion - Wallace W. Zane

Journeys to the Spiritual Lands

The Natural History of a West Indian Religion

Hardcover Published: 1st June 1999
ISBN: 9780195128451
Number Of Pages: 252

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Although much has been written on the Afro-Catholic syncretic religions of Vodou, Candomble, and Santeria, the Spiritual Baptists-an Afro-Caribbean religion based on Protestant Christianity-have received little attention. This fieldwork-based study offers the first detailed examination of the Spiritual Baptists or "Converted". The most distinguishing characteristic of their religion is the emphasis on spiritual travel on a regular basis for all believers. On these travels, all are required to do spiritual work by ecstatic means on behalf of the community. This makes Converted religion a possibly unique form of shamanism. Their cosmology is a distinct expression of Vincentian culture, neither African nor European, Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress is a sacred text for them, serving as a guidebook to the spritual realm in which they travel. They also travel in the spirit to the Biblical lands, and to the British colonial lands of Africa, India, and China. In their dream states, the Converted learn practical skills such as cooking, sewing, and reading - a phenomenon occasionally seen elsewhere among individuals but unheard of as an enculturated trait. Yet despite all of this their beliefs are strictly based on a fundamentalist Christianity in which every action is justified by the Bible. Based on 18 months among the Converted on the island of St. Vincent (where the religion arose) and among Vincentian immigrants in Brooklyn, Zane's spellbinding account of his experiences and his lucid analysis of the Converted religion, its origins, and development make this book an outstanding contribution to the literature on African-American and African Diaspora religion, and the anthropology of religion more generally.

Industry Reviews

"Zane offers an outstanding account of Baptist ritual as well as valuable information concerning the religion's origins and development....this book contains some of the best descriptions of Spiritual Baptist ritual ever published and constitutes an important contribution to the study of African American religion."--Choice

Introductionp. 3
A Shoutingp. 17
Spiritual Work
Spiritual Workersp. 31
Musicp. 52
A Banningp. 66
Spiritual Experience
Pilgrim Travelersp. 79
Mourningp. 107
Vincentian Context
Work and Travelp. 121
Converted Cosmologyp. 139
Comparative History of the Converted Religionp. 149
Going to Brooklynp. 164
Conclusionp. 176
Glossaryp. 179
Converted Ritual Classificationsp. 189
Notesp. 205
Referencesp. 217
Indexp. 235
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195128451
ISBN-10: 0195128451
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 252
Published: 1st June 1999
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.1 x 16.0  x 2.0
Weight (kg): 0.53