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Exorcism And Conversion To African Pentecostalism

In: Exchange
Author: Allan Anderson
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Abstract

The rapid growth of Pentecostal forms of Christianity in Africa in recent years can partly be attributed to the prevalent practice of exorcism or 'deliverance' that characterises it. This essay considers the phenomenon from the perspective of the African popular religious spirit world, where spirits and 'demons' abound. It begins with a discussion of the 'translation' of pre-modern African religious ideas into Christian discourse, and gives several case studies from West Africa and especially from Southern Africa. It concludes that Pentecostal Christianity with its offer of 'deliverance' from evil powers fulfils a felt need and therefore produces a 'product' that is attractive in Africa's religious market, resulting in multiple conversions.

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