Herskovits, Melville J. (Melville Jean), 1895-1963. An outline of Dahomean religious belief

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Title: An outline of Dahomean religious belief

Published By: The American Anthropological Association. 1933. 77 p. ill.

By line: By Melville J. Herskovits and Frances S. Herskovits

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 2016. Computer File

Culture: Fon (FA18)

Subjects: General character of religion (771); Animism (774); Spirits and gods (776); Cult of the dead (769); Congregations (794); Religious experience (781); Prayers and sacrifices (782); Revelation and divination (787); Sacred objects and places (778); Magic (789); Theory of disease (753); Sorcery (754); Magical and mental therapy (755); Priesthood (793); Theological systems (779);

Abstract: A collaborative work of Herskovits and Herskovits, this book systematically outlines the many dimensions of Dahomean religious beliefs. Combining information from existing accounts and original fieldwork, the authors describe Dahomey religion as a complex system consisting of a several gods, ancestral cults, personal spirits and magical powers. Relations among these powers are viewed as though hierarchical. Yet Dohomean did not worship to a universal God. Instead, each god was historically associated as the God of a specific community and/or locality. The authors argue that variations in degree of attachment and worship forms occurred only in the later years mainly due to population migration across different sections of the kingdom.

Document Number: 3

Document ID: fa18-003

Document Type: Monograph

Language: English

Field Date: 1931

Evaluation: Anthropologists-5

Analyst: Teferi Abate Adem

Coverage Date: 1863-1931

Coverage Place: southern Benin (Dahomey)

LCSH: Fon (African people)//Ethnology--Benin//Benin--Religion


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