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Afro-American Religions

(1,216 words)

Author(s): Mattes, Claudio
Name Gender Function/Sphere of Activity/Sphere of Responsibility Color for Worship Day of the week Christian Analog Exú m Revelation/Foretelling of good or evil Reddish brown Monday Devil Ogum m Air, energy, activity, war Sea blue Tuesday St. George Xangó m Thunder and lightning White and red Wednesday St. Jerome Inhansā f Wind and storm Red and brown Wednesday St. Barbara Oxóssi m Forest, hunt, vegetation, fertility Light blue Thursday St. Sebastian Oxumaré f/m Water and air, rainbow Yellow and green Thursday St. Barbara Oxalá m Supreme divinity, Lord of Starlight Pure white Friday Jes…

Liberation Theology

(1,252 words)

Author(s): Mattes, Claudio
Socio-Historical Connection 1. Liberation theology, or ‘the theology of liberation,’ is the first comprehensive theological movement within the Christian churches that has reacted to the social relations of the so-called Third World and sought to alter them with the help of the Christian faith—even in revolutionary activity. It stands in close connection with the social and historical development of Latin America (→ South America; Central America). Its appearance in the mid-1960s was no coincidence. This decade saw international capital begin to gain an ever m…


(1,514 words)

Author(s): Mattes, Claudio
Concept 1. Like the Afro-Brazilian religions Candomblé and Umbanda, or Cuban Santería, the Afro-Caribbean Voodoo religion is one of the African systems of religion that emerged in colonialism. These systems were brought to the ‘New World’ by enslaved members of African tribes, and there underwent an independent development. The word ‘Voodoo’ (variant, ‘Hoodoo’) is from the Haitian Creole French language (Fr., vaudou; Creole, vaudoux), where it originated in the language of the Ewe Fon, of West African Benin and Togo. In Haiti, it is used mostly as a denomin…


(977 words)

Author(s): Mattes, Claudio
Concept 1. The word zombi(e), or zumbi, comes from the Bantu languages (→ Africa), and means ‘enslaved spirit.’ Zombies are ‘un-dead’ or ‘living corpses,’ of whom it is supposed that they can be awakened to life for purposes of black magic. ‘Zombie’ can denote either: the spirit (of someone dead), as the soul separated from the body, or a ‘living corpse,’ a body without a soul. The zombie concept originated in the → Voodoo religion, but is also familiar in other parts of the Caribbean, and in Brazil. In order to understand the phenomenon, it is important to indicate that in no trad…