lisa monaghan

Perner (1992). Living on Earth in the Sky

When asked, in 1975 in Khartoum, to tell me something about Anyuak religion, Omot Ochan Ajwak, an educated Christian Anyuak from Akobo, gave me this surprising answer: 'The Anyuak actually do not have any religion ...!' The answer was so amazing to me that I wondered if Omot Ochan really wanted to pretend that the Anyuak did not have any beliefs in supernatural powers or if he rather wanted to explain that the Anyuak beliefs were too vague to fit in a definite concept and thus would escape definition. Being himself an occasional preacher, Omot Ochan may well have asked himself how he could talk about the Anyuak 'God' in a clear and unbiased manner, concluding that the Anyuak religion, if there was one at all, could not be put in a precise and positive form. Omot Ochan shares with non-educated Anyuak the difficulty of talking about God, and this difficulty may by itself be understood as a piece of information on the complexity of Anyuak beliefs. If one does admit that 'religion' implies not only the notion of a supreme power but also a direct and stable relationship between that power and the humans, Omot Ochan's statement could hold true, for what indeed characterizes the 'Anyuak sphere of spirituality' is uncertaintya bout the supernatural power and, in particular, about its relationship with the people on earth. Talking about the Anyuak sphere of spirituality therefore is talking about the nature and the existential situation of the human being rather than concentrating on the concept of God. The Anyuak are well aware of a supernatural spiritual power but all their knowledge comes from human sources....

Category: Anthropology and History

Sub-category: Socio-Cultural Groups and Practices


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