SALIM WILSON: THE BLACK EVANGELIST OF THE NORTH* BY DOUGLAS H. JOHNSON One mark of a classic ethnography is that it always contains something new. Never completely constrained by the fashions of its own time, it yet points the way to topics and approaches which later become fashionable. Such a book is Godfrey Lienhardt's Divinity and Expedience. The Religion of the Dinka, first published in 1961 and since re-issued in paperback. Many scholars have found within it suggestions which have led them to fruitful research in other areas. Some of today's fashions in anthropology can be found in embryo there, camouflaged in the hints and asides which are so characteristic of Godfrey's style of teaching. Take for instance this passage, which prefaces his analysis of the importance of the masters of the fishing-spear in Dinka religion before free-divinities spread throughout the land: This view which many now hold finds some support in the earliest account of the Dinka by a Dinka in English, the work of a man captured as a child by slave-raiders and eventually brought by a missionary to England where he became an evangelist and married, I believe, a widow in Scunthorpe. This man, Hatashil
Journal of Religion in Africa – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1991
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