A History of Prophecy from the Upper Nile in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
By (author) Douglas H. Johnson
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Nuer Prophets by Douglas H. Johnson
Book DescriptionThis is the first major study of the Nuer based on primary research since Evans-Pritchard's classic Nuer Religion. It is also the first full-length historical study of indigenous African prophets operating outside the context of the world's main religions, and as such builds on Evans-Prichard's pioneering work in promoting collaboration and dialogue between the disciplines of anthropology and history. Prophets first emerged as significant figures among the Nuer in the nineteenth century. They fashioned the religious idiom of prophecy from a range of spiritual ideas, and enunciated the social principles which broadened and sustained a moral community across political and ethnic boundaries. Douglas Johnson argues that, contrary to the standard anthropological interpretation, the major prophets' lasting contribution was their vision of peace, not their role in war. This vision is particularly relevant today, and the book concludes with a detailed discussion of events in the Sudan since independence in 1956, describing how modern Nuer, and many other southern Sudanese, still find the message of the nineteenth-century prophets relevant to their experiences in the current civil war. From the reviews: 'Douglas H. Johnson's new primary study of Nuer prophets brings freshness to a huge second-order literature: what had become a seemingly secure reference point for a discipline in search of coherence, becomes again a challenge to disciplinary habit--and to habitual readings of an ancestral authority. With almost two decades of archival and oral-historical research under his belt, Johnson is uniquely positioned to interpret Nuer prophecy...[He] shows repeatedly [that] prophecy remains a potent ingredient of inspiration and leadership in contemporary Nuer efforts to resist Khartoum...Johnson has been careful in presenting readers with a wealth of information, and leeway to reformulate the problem as they go.' Sharon Hutchinson, Times Literary Supplement; 'This important work illuminates both the history of the Nuer and Nilotic Sudan ...and the history of prophecy. It represents a decisive break with previous studies of the region which have portrayed a 'static' model of southern Sudanese societies. The quality of maps and photographs is excellent. In short, Nuer Prophets is a milestone in the historiography of the Upper Nile and a work which, because of its conceptual clarity and wealth of material, lends itself to comparative studies.' - Institute of Ethiopian Studies; 'This is not merely a collection of Johnson's old articles but an entirely new work, comprehensive in its scope, coherent in its argument, and massive in its implications for African history and the history of African religion ...It is not possible to do justice to a book as rich as this one in the space of a short review ...The richness of Nuer Prophets is largely due to the exceptional quality of Johnson's fieldwork.' Journal of African History; 'It will certainly secure a permanent and respected place among great books on the so-called primitive societies.' SPLM/SPLA Update (Sudan)
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780198233671
(234mm x 156mm x 25mm)
Imprint: Clarendon Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 8-May-1997
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Douglas H. Johnson
Empire and the Nuer, Hardback (April 2016)
Made famous through Evans-Pritchard's ethnography, the Nuer are the second largest ethnic group in South Sudan. They were the object of Britain's last pacification campaign in Africa. The contemporary administrative reports and more recent interviews with Nuer and Dinka participants collected here cover significant events from 1898 to 1930.
Root Causes of Sudan's Civil Wars, Paperback (June 2011)» View all books by Douglas H. Johnson
Revised with an analysis of the escalation of the Darfur war, implementation of the peace agreement and implications of the Southern referendum.
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Author Biography - Douglas H. Johnson
Douglas H. Johnson is a Research Fellow at St. Antony's College, Oxford.
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