Academic journal article Africa

Andre Corten and Ruth Marshall-Fratani (Eds), between Babel and Pentecost: Transnational Pentecostalism in Africa and Latin America

Academic journal article Africa

Andre Corten and Ruth Marshall-Fratani (Eds), between Babel and Pentecost: Transnational Pentecostalism in Africa and Latin America

Article excerpt

ANDRE CORTEN and RUTH MARSHALL-FRATANI (eds), Between Babel and Pentecost: transnational Pentecostalism in Africa and Latin America. London: Hurst, 2001, 288 pp., 39.50 [pounds sterling], ISBN 1 85065 439 8 (hard covers), 16.50 [pounds sterling], ISBN 1 85065 438 7 (paperback).

Students of Africa and Latin America are well aware of the rapid growth of new Christian movements throughout these regions. Most are 'Pentecostal', in other words of that broad swathe of Christianity that is characterised by exuberant worship, speaking in tongues, a stress on healing and 'prophetic' gifts. In Africa such movements are obviously in continuity with the established African Initiated Churches (AICs) that have already received enormous scholarly attention, even if there are genuine novelties as well. In Latin America these new churches have usually been studied in their opposition to the Roman Catholic Church, from which most Pentecostals have come, and in reference to the socio-political role the Churches play (particularly in contradistinction to the liberation theology of some strands of the Catholic Church). On both continents numerous studies have appeared. The book under review here is one of the most ambitious attempts so far to compare and contrast the related phenomena on the two continents, relating the differences and uniformity to the processes of transnationalism and globalisation. One of its real strengths is to bring together the work of scholars writing in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish, and with case studies from areas not normally covered. It stems largely from a conference held in Toulouse in the summer of 1997.

Part I is more general and theoretical. …

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