Secrets, Gossip and Gods by Paul Christopher Johnson
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Secrets, Gossip and Gods
By Paul Christopher Johnson

Secrets, Gossip and Gods

The Transformation of Brazilian Candomble

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Format: Hardback

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Secrets, Gossip and Gods by Paul Christopher Johnson

Book Description

In this wide-ranging book Paul C Johnson explores the changing, hidden face of the Afro-Brazilian indigenous religion of Candomble. Despite its inportance in Brazilian Society, Candomble has received far less attention than its sister religions Vodou and Santeria. Johnson seeks to fill this void by offering a comprehensive look at the development, beliefs, and practices of Candomble and exploring its transformation from a secret society of slaves - hidden, persecuted, and marginalized - to a public religion that is very much part of Brazilian culture. Johnson traces this historical shift and locates the turning point in the creation of a Brazilian public sphere and national identity in the first half of the twentieth century. His major focus is on the ritual practice of secrecy in Candomble. Like Vodou and Santeria and the African Yoruba religion from which they are decended, Candomble features a hierarchic series if initiations, with increasing access to secret knowledge at each level. As Johnson shows, the nature and uses of secrecy evolved with the religion. First, secrecy was essential to a society that had to remain hidden from the authorities. Later, when Candomble became known and activily persecuted its secrecy became a form of resistance as well as an exotic hidden power desired by elites. Finally, as Candomble became a public relirion and a vital part of Brazilian culture, the debate increasingly turned away from the secrets themselves and towards their possessors. It is speech about secrets, and not about the content of those secrets, that is now most important in building status, legitimacy and power in Candomble. Offering many first hand accounts of the rites and rituals of contemporary Candomble, this book provides insight into this influential but little studied group, while at the same time making a valuable contribution to our understanding of the relationship between religion and society.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780195150582
ISBN-10: 0195150589
Format: Hardback
(243mm x 163mm x 20mm)
Pages: 240
Imprint: Oxford University Press Inc
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Publish Date: 29-Aug-2002
Country of Publication: United States

Books By Author Paul Christopher Johnson

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The word "possession" is trickier than we often think, especially in the context of the Black Atlantic and its religions and economy. Here possession can refer to spirits, material goods, and, indeed, people. This book features essays by anthropologists in the Americas to explore the nexus found at the heart of the idea of being possessed.

Diaspora Conversions by Paul Christopher Johnson Diaspora Conversions, Paperback (August 2007)

By joining a diaspora, a society may begin to change its religious, ethnic, and even racial identifications by rethinking its "pasts." This book explores how this phenomenon affects the religion of the Garifuna. It compares Garifuna spirit possession rituals performed in Honduran villages with those conducted in New York.

Secrets, Gossip, and Gods by Paul Christopher Johnson Secrets, Gossip, and Gods, Paperback (October 2005)

Explores the changing, hidden face of the Afro-Brazilian indigenous religion of Candomble. This book explores its transformation from a secret society of slaves - hidden, persecuted, and marginalised - to a public religion that is very much a part of Brazilian culture.

» View all books by Paul Christopher Johnson

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Author Biography - Paul Christopher Johnson

Paul Christopher Johnson is Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. He has published many articles on Brazil, the Caribbean, and American popular culture, exploring the relation of religion to social identity, memory, and practice.

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