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Witchcraft Concepts in West-African Pentecostal Literature by Judith Bachmann — last modified 2014-10-09 12:13
This paper examines the concepts of witchcraft in research literature about West-African Pentecostalism as produced by scholars such as Kalu, Meyer and Gifford. It also explores the witchcraft concepts in the literature written by West-African Pentecostals themselves like the well-known “Delivered from the Powers of Darkness” by the Nigerian Emmanuel Eni. The term witchcraft will be analysed with regard to the different contexts used by researchers and Pentecostals. The paper argues that the concepts of witchcraft in West-African Pentecostal discourse are embedded in ideas about Satan, demons and evil powers, notions which are often attached to what is commonly referred to as ‘African traditional religion’. Such connotations have led Pentecostals to give a negative and evil meaning to witchcraft and what they consider traditionally African. The paper puts forth the hypothesis that this usage of the word witchcraft is linked to the European witchcraft discourse in the 19th and 20th century when colonial administrators and missionaries compared Europe’s past with Africa’s present.