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Ethnography from the Mission Field

The Hoffmann Collection of Cultural Knowledge

Annekie Joubert

In Ethnography from the Mission Field: The Hoffmann Collection of Cultural Knowledge Joubert et al. offer a translated and annotated edition of the 24 ethnographic articles by missionary Carl Hoffmann and his local interlocutors published between the years 1913 and 1958. The edition is introduced by a historic contextualisation using a cultural historical approach to analyse the contexts in which Hoffmann’s ethnographic texts were produced. Making use of historical material and Hoffmann’s own words from personal diaries and letters, the authors convincingly draw the attention to the discursive context in which the texts annotated in this book had been compiled. In a concluding chapter the book traces the captivating developments of the orthography of Northern Sotho through Hoffmann’s texts over almost half a century.

Brill has made the documentary film “A Journey into the Life of a Mission-Ethnographer” which is interlinked with this book available online via its online channels. To access it please click here.

The digital database of the “Hoffmann Collection of Cultural Knowledge” (HC-CK) can be accessed by clicking here. It is an amalgamation of digital scans, images and video footage relating to missionary Carl Hoffmann’s work and life on various mission stations, made available by the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin.

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Cleo Cantone

This book constitutes a seminal contribution to the fields of Islamic architectural history and gender studies. It is the first major empirical study of the history and current state of mosque building in Senegal and the first study of mosque space from a gender perspective. The author positions Senegalese mosques within the field of Islamic architectural history, unraveling their history through pre-colonial travelers’ accounts to conversations with present-day planners, imams and women who continually shape and reshape the mosques they worship in. Using contemporary Dakar as a case study, the book’s second aim is to explore the role of women in the “making and remaking” of mosques. In particular, the rise of non-tariqa grass-roots movements (i.e.: the “Sunni/Ibadou” movement) has empowered women (particularly young women) and has greatly strengthened their capacity to use mosques as places of spirituality, education and socialization. The text is aimed at several specialized readerships: readers interested in Islam in West Africa, in the role of women in Islam, as well as those interested in the sociology and art-history of mosques.

Pentecostalism in Africa

Presence and Impact of Pneumatic Christianity in Postcolonial Societies

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Edited by Martin Lindhardt

Within recent decades Pentecostal/charismatic Christianity has moved from an initially peripheral position to become a force to be reckoned with within Africa’s religious landscape. Bringing together prominent Africanist scholars from a wide range of disciplines, this book offers a comprehensive and multifaceted treatment of the ways in which Pentecostal-Charismatic movements have shaped the orientations of African Christianity and extended their influence into other spheres of post-colonial societies such as politics, developmental work and popular entertainment. Among other things, the chapters of the book show how Pentecostal/charismatic Christianity responds to social and cultural concerns of Africans, and how its growth and increasingly assertive presence in public life have facilitated new kinds of social positioning and claims to political power.

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Abbas Gnamo

This work examines the philosophical origins of Oromo egalitarian and democratic thoughts and practice, the Gadaa-Qaalluu system, kinship organization, the introduction and spread of Islam and the consequent socio-cultural change. It sheds light on the advent of the Ethiopian empire under Menelik II, its conquests and Arsi Oromo fierce resistance (1880-1900), the nature and legacy of Ethiopian imperial polity, centre-periphery relations, feudal political economy and its impacts on the newly conquered regions with a focus on Arsi Oromo country. The book also analyzes the root causes of the national political crisis including, but not limited to, the attempts at transforming the empire-state to a nation-state around a single culture, contested definition of national identity and state legitimacy, grievance narratives, uprisings, the birth and development of competing nationalisms as well as the limitations of the current ethnic federalism to address the national question in Ethiopia.

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Edited by Brian Grim, Todd M. Johnson, Vegard Skirbekk and Gina Zurlo

The Yearbook of International Religious Demography presents an annual snapshot of the state of religious statistics around the world. Every year large amounts of data are collected through censuses, surveys, polls, religious communities, scholars, and a host of other sources. These data are collated and analyzed by research centers and scholars around the world. Large amounts of data appear in analyzed form in the World Religion Database (Brill), aiming at a researcher’s audience. The Yearbook presents data in sets of tables and scholarly articles spanning social science, demography, history, and geography. Each issue offers findings, sources, methods, and implications surrounding international religious demography. Each year an assessment is made of new data made available since the previous issue of the yearbook.

Contributors are: Todd Johnson, Gina Zurlo, Peter Crossing, Juan Cruz Esquivel, Fortunato Mallimaci, Annalisa Butticci, Brian Grim, Philip Connor, Ken Chitwood, Vegard Skirbekk, Marcin Stonawski, Rodrigo Franklin de Sousa, Davis Brown, Juan Carlos Esparza Ochoa, and Maria Concepción Servín Nieto.

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Jeremy Punt

In Postcolonial biblical interpretation Jeremy Punt reflects on the nature and value of the postcolonial hermeneutical approach, as it relates to the interpretation of biblical and in particular, Pauline texts. Showing when a socio-politically engaged reading becomes postcolonial, but also what in the term postcolonial both attracts and also creates distance, exegesis from a postcolonial perspective is profiled. The book indicates possible avenues in how postcolonial work can be helpful theoretically to the guild of biblical scholars and to show also how it can be practiced in exegetical work done on biblical texts.

West African ʿulamāʾ and Salafism in Mecca and Medina

Jawāb al-Ifrῑqῑ - The Response of the African

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Chanfi Ahmed

Chanfi Ahmed shows how West African ʿulamāʾ, who fled the European colonization of their region to settle in Mecca and Medina, helped the regime of King Ibn Sa’ud at its beginnings in the field of teaching and spreading the Salafῑ-Wahhabῑ’s Islam both inside and outside Saudi Arabia. This is against the widespread idea of considering the spread of the Salafῑ-Wahhābῑ doctrine as being the work of ʿulamāʾ from Najd (Central Arabia) only. We learn here that the diffusion of this doctrine after 1926 was much more the work of ʿulamāʾ from other parts of the Muslim World who had already acquired this doctrine and spread it in their countries by teaching and publishing books related to it. In addition Chanfi Ahmed demonstrates that concerning Islamic reform and mission (daʿwa), Africans are not just consumers, but also thinkers and designers.

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Edited by Louis Jonker, Gideon Kotzé and Christl M. Maier

This volume presents the main lectures of the 22nd Congress of the International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament (IOSOT) held in Stellenbosch, South Africa, in September 2016. Sixteen internationally distinguished scholars present their current research on the Hebrew Bible, including the literary history of the Hebrew text, its Greek translation and history of interpretation. Some focus on archeological and iconographic sources and the reconstruction of ancient Israelite religion while others discuss the formation of the biblical text and its impact for cultural memory. The volume gives readers a representative view of the most recent developments in the study of the Old Testament.

The Khōjā of Tanzania

Discontinuities of a Postcolonial Religious Identity

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Iqbal Akhtar

The Khōjā of Tanzania, Discontinuities of a Postcolonial Religious Identity attempts to reconstruct the development of Khōjā religious identity from their arrival to the Swahili coast in the late 18th century until the turn of the 21st century. This multidisciplinary study incorporates Gujarati, Kacchī, Swahili, and Arabic sources to examine the formation of an Afro-Asian Islamic identity (jamatī) from their initial Indic caste identity (jñāti) towards an emergent Near Eastern imaged Islamic nation (ummatī) through four disciplinary approaches: historiography, politics, linguistics, and ethnology. Over the past two centuries, rapid transitions and discontinuities have produced the profound tensions which have resulted from the willful amnesia of their pre-Islamic Indic civilizational past for an ideological and politicized ‘Islamic’ present. This study aims to document, theorize, and engage this theological transformation of modern Khōjā religious identities as expressed through dimensions of power, language, space, and the body.

The Ethiopian Homily on the Ark of the Covenant

Critical Edition and Annotated Translation of Dǝrsanä Ṣǝyon 

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Amsalu Tefera

In The Ethiopian Homily on the Ark of the Covenant, Amsalu Tefera offers an editio princeps of the Ethiopic text of Dǝrsanä Ṣǝyon together with an annotated English translation. This homily, most likely composed in the fifteenth century, links the term Zion with the Ark of the Covenant and recounts at length its wanderings from Sinai to Ethiopia. As a Christian document, many of the events are interpreted as symbolic of Mary and the heavenly New Jerusalem.

First edited by the author for his 2011 doctoral dissertation, the critical text and apparatus present a complete collation of the ten known witnesses to this homily. Detailed notes are supplied on significant and difficult terms in the translation.