West African Religious Traditions: Focus on the Akan of Ghana (Faith Meets Faith Series)

Author:
Robert B. Fisher

Price:
$ 57.09 (new)
$ 56.75 (used)

Medium:
Paperback (197 pages)

Publisher:
Orbis Books
1998-04

Availability:


Reader Reviews

Excellent coverage of an interesting subject.
I have been scouring Amazon for books on the Akan peoples of Western Africa and came up with this one. What a find! Culture, traditional religious beliefs, proverbs, Christianity, and Islam are all here, tied together with a historical perspective that is just what I was looking for. One of the most interesting things was that he uses the book "Things Fall Apart" for much of his discussion. Reading that book at the same time as this one enriched my understanding of both. Definitely worth the time spent.

Good Effort
I recommend this book for those who desire an introduction to African approaches to religion. With his anthropological methodology, Fisher attempts to remain objective. The reader will also appreciate the study guides at the end of the chapters that help to reinforce the material.

While simply written, I did catch a couple factual errors: Cecil Rhodes was the capitalist baron of South Africa, not "East Africa" (164); and the term "negritude" is more closely associated with Marcus Garvey, founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association.

I also found that Fisher's view of reality is obscured by his assumptions about the normalcy of European culture. It is obviously implicit that he sees his evolutionary assumptions about life in Africa as "scientific" (14), but relegates the etiological stories of the Akan to "myth" (43). Also, I am surprised that a work that utilized an impressive amount of secondary sources did not incorporate the monumental study of Kofi Owusa Mensa (Saturday God and Adventistm in Ghana. Frankfurt: Lang, 1993). In fact, even in discussing the significance of days (22), Fisher never once mentions that Onyame, the supreme being of the Akan, is also known as Onyame Kwame-the Saturday God. He says there are no "shrines to Nyame" (49), but do shrines have to be physical? Can they be temporal? Hopefully a second edition will fill these significant lacunae.