- Introduction: Religion and Ecology—What Is the Connection and Why Does It Matter?
- The Earth as Sacrament: Insights from Orthodox Christian Theology and Spirituality
- The World of Nature according to the Protestant Tradition
- Jainism and Ecology: Transformation of Tradition
- Hindu Religion and Environmental Well-being
- The Greening of Buddhism: Promise and Perils
- Daoism and Nature
- Motifs for a New Confucian Ecological Vision
- Religion and Ecology in African Culture and Society
- Indigenous Traditions: Religion and Ecology
- Population, Religion, and Ecology
- Genetic Engineering and Nature: Human and Otherwise
- So Near and Yet So Far: Animal Theology and Ecological Theology
- Religious Ecofeminism: Healing the Ecological Crisis
- Science and Religion in the Face of the Environmental Crisis
- Religion and Ecology: Survey of the Field
- The Spiritual Dimension of Nature Writing
- Religion, Environmentalism, and the Meaning of Ecology
- Religious Environmentalism in Action
- Religion and Environmental Struggles in Latin America
- African Initiated Churches as Vehicles of Earth-Care in Africa
- The Scientist and the Shepherd: The Emergence of Evangelical Environmentalism
- Religion and Environmentalism in America and Beyond
Abstract and Keywords
The study of Africa's traditional religion and the environment can be termed the ecology of religion. The complexity of the relationship between environment and religion in indigenous and contemporary African cultures and societies requires a more multidisciplinary approach that draws from a variety of sources, approaches, and epistemological positions: phenomenology, ecology, geography of religion, indigenous hermeneutics, and traditional anthropological theories under which religion and spirituality is normally studied. This article examines the environmental referentiality of lived religion, especially rituals, in Africa. It argues that the core of religious worldview and the origins of ritual and the cycles of nature—the regularities and repetitions as phenomenon of nature—may account for the origins of ritual. Indeed, it may not be out of place to speak of the ritualization of the environment as a way to describe the intricate relationship between ritual and environment in African cosmology and religion. This article also looks at shrines and temples in Africa.
Jacob Olupona is professor and director of African American and African studies program at the University of California, Davis. His research interest includes religion and Immigration, religion of traditional and modern Africa, and African religions in the Americas. He is the author of Kinship, Religion and Rituals in a Nigerian Community: a Phenomenological Study of the Ondo Yoruba Festival (1983), editor and co-editor of several works including African Spirituality (2003) and Beyond Primitivism: Indigenous Religious Traditions and Modernity (2004). He is the co-editor of a University of Wisconsin book series on African and African Diaspora religions and he recently served as one of the associate editors of the recently published second edition of the Encyclopedia of Religions. Olupona is completing a book titled The City of 201 Gods: Ile-Ife in Time, Space and the Imagination. With a grant from the Ford Foundation, Olupona has been pioneering a new research project on African Immigrant Religious Communities in the United States. He received the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 1997 and was the Davidson Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Humanities at the International University of Florida, Miami, in 1999.
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