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Africa-Centred and Canaanite-Israelite Perspectives

A collection of published and unpublished studies in English and French
 

bookcover Ancient kingdomsCONTENTS - The prevailing modernizing and westernizing approach in African studies has contributed to reduce the scope of historical inquiry in African societies to relatively recent periods. Therefore pre-Christian and pre-Islamic influences from the outside world have been largely ignored or underappreciated. On the basis of hitherto unexplored written, oral and cult-mythological sources, the present study shows that the Phoenician city states of North Africa contributed to a large extent to the emergence of complex organizational structures, such as the Sudanic states, and interrelated religious performances in sub-Saharan Africa. Since these features have partly survived until the present time, key elements of the cultural heritage of certain great West African peoples - like the Yoruba, the Hausa and the Kanuri - allow us for the first time to extend the map of the ancient world to regions beyond the Sahara.
{mosimage}On the other hand, owing to the survival of the basic Canaanite-Israelite cultural pattern in specific African societies, important new insights for the understanding of Semitic myth and ritual features can be derived from existing African situations. This study gives new relevance to topics like the cult-dramatic performance of the New Year festival, the re-enactment of the "dying and rising god" and the social implications of the connections between myth and ritual. With respect to specific fields of inquiry in ancient Semitic religion, the present volume deals with the ritual underpinning of the Ugaritic Baal cycle, the mythological background of the biblical distinction between Isaac/Jacob and Ishmael, the cult-mythological implications of the contrast between Israelites and Arabs, the clan basis of cult-dramatic performances re-enacting the social dualism of Canaanite-Israelite society, and the former polytheistic setting of the pilgrimage of Mecca. By drawing on African anthropological material the present volume opens a new dimension for future biblical and ancient Near Eastern research. The text is illustrated by numerous original maps, charts and photographs.

Dierk Lange - Ancient KingdomsTHE AUTHOR - Dierk Lange is Professor of African History at the University of Bayreuth in Germany. He presents here the results of more than thirty years of research devoted to the history of Africa and explains his more recent focus on relations with Phoenician North Africa. Before his appointment in Bayreuth, he studied African and Islamic history as well as anthropology in Paris, worked on Arabic texts for four years in Cairo and taught African and Islamic history for five years at the University of Niamey. He crossed the Sahara several times and undertook more than fifteen research trips to Nigeria, Niger and Chad. His publications in three languages include two books, numerous articles in learned journals and two contributions to the UNESCO history of Africa. He is unique in comparing African cultural forms with those of the ancient Near EAST.


Hardcover with threadstitching, XIV+586 p.,
39 illustrations and maps, 15 photos
59,80 EUR
ISBN 3-89754-115-7


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