Currently, there is no book on the theories and methods in African religious systems. This book fills that lacuna. The development of theories is discussed extensively and it includes some biographical information about the theorists themselves, concentrating on their intellectual history and influences, their particular contribution to the development of theories, and their reactions to the theories of other scholars in the discipline. The discussion on each scholar’s work is detailed and the main work is examined and compared to other scholars’ works. This comparative approach to theories is maintained throughout the book to meet the two objectives: (1) To give readers a general overview of the history of the discipline and, (2) to present a full study of the development of the various theories used in the academic study of religion. Theories are not simply referred to, but their evolution, development, and application to African religion are explained. Both theory and method are grounded in various African religious systems. This is done to provide readers maximum exposure to the variety of religious systems in Africa. The use of this book extends beyond African religion. Students and scholars who will benefit from this book include those in religious studies in general, African and Africana studies, anthropology, and sociology among other disciplines.
In Classical Theories in African Religion, Sindima provides us with an encyclopedic account of the traditional approach of scholars of religion to the understanding of African religion. From ethnological theories to the Anglo-French traditions and functional theories, the author provides an exhaustive discussion of scholarly perspectives on religion in general and African religion in particular.
—Segun Gbadegesin, Howard University.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
HARVEY J. SINDIMA is Presidential Scholar and Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Colgate University. He is author of numerous articles and books. His latest book is Major Issues in Islam: Challenges Within and Without.