essay

The structure and functions of religious belief among the Amhara of Ethiopia

proceedings of the first united states conference on ethiopian studies, michigan state university, 2-5 may, 1973 (3) • Published In 1975 • Pages: 25-42

By: Reminick, Ronald A..

Abstract
Amhara religion is a composite of Monophysite Christianity and pagan beliefs, which include those in protective spirits, demons, and the evil eye. The Christian God is a mystery, remote and hard to reach, except through the mediation of priests and angels. At the household level are ZAR spirits who demand sacrifices in exchange for protection against family misfortune. The evil eye is an attribute of low-status class of landless artisans who are envious of Amhara landlord and tenants alike. Devils are capricious spirits who inhabit the natural landscape and are the cause of degenerating illnesses. Reminick relates the beliefs in various supernatural beings to both Amhara social structure and the individual life cycle. For example, the belief in God legitimates the top-down patron-client relationships which constitute Amhara political order, whereas the belief in ZAR spirits butresses patricarchal authority within the household. With regard to individual development, devils correspond to a child's feeling of vulnerability to the unpredictable authoritarian power of the father.
Subjects
Form and rules of government
General character of religion
Spirits and gods
culture
Amhara
HRAF PubDate
1998
Region
Africa
Sub Region
Eastern Africa
Document Type
essay
Evaluation
Creator Type
Ethnologist
Document Rating
5: Excellent Primary Data
Analyst
Ian Skoggard ; 1996
Coverage Date
1960s
Coverage Place
Manz District, Shoa Province, Ethiopia
Notes
Ronald A. Reminick
Includes bibliographical references (p.41-42)
LCCN
75014611
LCSH
Amhara (African people)