Description : How is knowledge about religion and religions produced, and how is that knowledge authenticated and circulated? David Chidester seeks to answer these questions in Empire of Religion, documenting and analyzing the emergence of a science of comparative religion in Great Britain during the second half of the nineteenth century and its complex relations to the colonial situation in southern Africa. In the process, Chidester provides a counterhistory of the academic study of religion, an alternative to standard accounts that have failed to link the field of comparative religion with either the power relations or the historical contingencies of the imperial project. In developing a material history of the study of religion, Chidester documents the importance of African religion, the persistence of the divide between savagery and civilization, and the salience of mediations—imperial, colonial, and indigenous—in which knowledge about religions was produced. He then identifies the recurrence of these mediations in a number of case studies, including Friedrich Max Müller’s dependence on colonial experts, H. Rider Haggard and John Buchan’s fictional accounts of African religion, and W. E. B. Du Bois’s studies of African religion. By reclaiming these theorists for this history, Chidester shows that race, rather than theology, was formative in the emerging study of religion in Europe and North America. Sure to be controversial, Empire of Religion is a major contribution to the field of comparative religious studies.
Description : In a changing South Africa, recovering the meaning and power of African tradition is a matter of crucial importance. This work participates in that recovery by providing a comprehensive guide to research on the indigenous religious heritage of this dynamic country. Detailed reviews of over 600 books, articles, and theses are offered along with introductory essays and detailed annotations that define the field of study. This work plus two forthcoming volumes, Christianity in South Africa: An Annotated Bibliography and Islam, Hinduism, and Judaism in South Africa: An Annotated Bibliography will become the standard reference work on South African religions. Scholars and students in Religious Studies, Social Anthropology, History, and African Studies will find this set particularly useful. This work organizes and annotates all the relevant literature on Khoisan, Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho-Tswana, Swazi, Tsonga, and Venda traditions. The annotations are concise yet detailed essays written in an engaging and accessible style and supported by an exhaustive index, which comprise a full and complex profile of African traditional religion in South Africa.
Description : Globalization and high-speed communication put twenty-first century people in contact with adherents to a wide variety of world religions, but usually, valuable knowledge of these other traditions is limited at best. On the one hand, religious stereotypes abound, hampering a serious exploration of unfamiliar philosophies and practices. On the other hand, the popular idea that all religions lead to the same God or the same moral life fails to account for the distinctive origins and radically different teachings found across the world’s many religions. Understanding World Religions presents religion as a complex and intriguing matrix of history, philosophy, culture, beliefs, and practices. Hexham believes that a certain degree of objectivity and critique is inherent in the study of religion, and he guides readers in responsible ways of carrying this out. Of particular importance is Hexham’s decision to explore African religions, which have frequently been absent from major religion texts. He surveys these in addition to varieties of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Description : "In 1979 A South African bibliography to the year 1925 (SABIB), compiled under the auspices of the South AFrican Library, was published in four volumes by Mansell of London. It was essentially a revision and continuation of Sidney Mendelssohn's South African bibliography (London, 1910), which recorded literature about South Africa from earliest times to 1909, regardless of place of publication. For the new bibliography the period was extended to 1925, but for practical reasons the scope was limited to the geographical area south of the Limpopo, and certain material, for example books in African languages, sheet music, maps and periodicals, was excluded."--Preface to Supplement.