Divinity and Experience: The Religion of the Dinka

Divinity and Experience: The Religion of the Dinka

Divinity and Experience: The Religion of the Dinka

Divinity and Experience: The Religion of the Dinka

Excerpt

This book is based upon two years' work among the Dinka, spread over the period 1947-50. A generous gift from my college in Cambridge, Downing College, enabled me to make essential preparations, but the study itself was entirely financed by the Sudan Government, and this book is now published with its support. It would be difficult to imagine a Government which provided happier conditions for disinterested research than the Government of the Sudan, and I cannot here thank all those to whom I am indebted. For some indeed, like the late Chief Kuanyin Agoth and the late Dr. Mamoun Hussein el Sherif, these acknowledgements have been too long delayed.

Sir James Robertson, then Civil Secretary, encouraged my work and showed great personal kindness to me. Of the many officials who gave me hospitality, I can mention only those in whose homes I was most frequently a visitor: Mr. T. R. H. Owen, then Governor of the Bahr-al-Ghazal Province, and Mrs. Owen; Mr. and Mrs. B. A. Lewis; Dr. and Mrs. P. P. Howell; Mr. J. M. Hunter and Mr. R. H. M. Boyle in Gogrial; Mr. and Mrs. J. H. T. Wilson in Tonj; Mr. and Mrs. Keith Williams in Rumbek; and Mr. David Fyfe and Mr. Gordon Hickson in Aweil. I have benefited greatly also from the writings, most of them unpublished, of many administrators among the Dinka.

I owe a great deal to the Verona Fathers, and especially to the missionaries in Wau and Kwajok. Without Fr. Nebel's work on Dinka language and thought, my own would have been made immensely more difficult. I hope that the numerous references to him in this book will be accepted as a tribute to his authority, and to the work of the Congregation of Verona.

The manuscript was read at various stages by many friends -- Dr. J. G. Peristiany, Dr. J. H. M. Beattie, and Dr. D. F. Pocock who helped me greatly throughout, all colleagues at the Institute of Social Anthropology, Oxford; Professor A. G. O'Connor, formerly at the College of Arts and Sciences, Baghdad, where I was given the opportunity for more reflection; my brother . . .

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