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Dreams in an Independent African Church1

  • S. R. Charsley
Extract

Dreams and visions have an important place in the life of many of the more colourful African churches of Zionist or Pentecostal type. This has often been noted (Sundkler, 1961; Pauw, 1960; Sangree, 1966; Welbourn, 1966; Peel, 1968) but has rarely received any detailed consideration. Any definitely sociological, rather than psychological, treatment of the topic is particularly rare. My object in this paper is therefore to attempt an explicitly sociological examination of the phenomenon in one particular church which I have studied. I shall consider the telling of dreams and the extent to which it is controlled and patterned by beliefs and expectations, i.e. dream-telling as an institution; and I shall go on to examine the part it plays in the life of the group and the ways in which it is further patterned by this.

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References
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Eggan, D. 1949. ‘The Significance of Dreams for Anthropological Research’, American Anthropologist li, 2, 177–98.
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Welbourn, F. B. 1966. ‘The African Israel Church Nineveh’, in Welbourn, F. B., and Ogot, B. A., A Place to Feel at Home. London: Oxford University Press.
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Africa
  • ISSN: 0001-9720
  • EISSN: 1750-0184
  • URL: /core/journals/africa
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