Terrence L. Craig, The Missionary Lives. A Study in Canadian Missionary Biography & Autobiography. Leiden: Brill, 1997, 169 pp. ISBN 0924-9389 -Studies in Christian Mission vol. 19

Terrence L. Craig, The Missionary Lives. A Study in Canadian Missionary Biography &... 189 major traditions. These tend to view religion as the overcoming of the worldly, by facing up to some invisible dimension. By contrast, Africans are totally committed to earthly life in its eternal flow. To chart what that basic insight implies is the main achievement of this study. Magesa's course material does not consist of original fieldwork or novel anthropo- logical notions. In fact, the majority of the data stems from white researchers of before 1980. Yet, most revealing is his overall ethical framework, which he does not hesitate to link to the mystical, in showing how customs surrounding birth, kinship initiation, joking relationships, sexual delights and laws, marriage, etc. enjoin a central motive of dedica- tion to the eternal flux of life. He explains convincingly the mystical route by which African religion installs in people this overriding value, as also how threats to it are seen to come from spirits, witches and other visible and invisible sources. His functionalist anthropology could sound outdated, but a search for common ethical denominators is bound to stay within functionalist boundaries. This clearly shows in his presentation of witch- craft and political ethics. No doubt, witchcraft belief does foster a cour- http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Exchange Brill

Terrence L. Craig, The Missionary Lives. A Study in Canadian Missionary Biography & Autobiography. Leiden: Brill, 1997, 169 pp. ISBN 0924-9389 -Studies in Christian Mission vol. 19

Exchange , Volume 27 (2): 189 – Jan 1, 1998

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Publisher
BRILL
Copyright
© 1998 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0166-2740
eISSN
1572-543X
D.O.I.
10.1163/157254398X00141
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

189 major traditions. These tend to view religion as the overcoming of the worldly, by facing up to some invisible dimension. By contrast, Africans are totally committed to earthly life in its eternal flow. To chart what that basic insight implies is the main achievement of this study. Magesa's course material does not consist of original fieldwork or novel anthropo- logical notions. In fact, the majority of the data stems from white researchers of before 1980. Yet, most revealing is his overall ethical framework, which he does not hesitate to link to the mystical, in showing how customs surrounding birth, kinship initiation, joking relationships, sexual delights and laws, marriage, etc. enjoin a central motive of dedica- tion to the eternal flux of life. He explains convincingly the mystical route by which African religion installs in people this overriding value, as also how threats to it are seen to come from spirits, witches and other visible and invisible sources. His functionalist anthropology could sound outdated, but a search for common ethical denominators is bound to stay within functionalist boundaries. This clearly shows in his presentation of witch- craft and political ethics. No doubt, witchcraft belief does foster a cour-

Journal

ExchangeBrill

Published: Jan 1, 1998

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