Posts Tagged ‘Mozambique’

Testing Prayer: Book Review

August 16, 2013

Brown, Candy Gunther. 2012. Testing Prayer: Science and Healing. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

By: Anna I. Corwin (UCLA)

In 2010, Candy Gunther Brown and her research team published a compelling and controversial article in Southern Medical Journal arguing that proximate intercessory prayer, performed in their study by Pentecostals in Mozambique, significantly improved the hearing and vision of a number of prayer recipients.  This claim – that prayer can heal – has been a flash point, setting off debates and controversies about the nature of prayer for generations.  This article was no different.  Brown’s book Testing Prayer: Science and Healing, sets out to reconcile some of the interest as well as the controversy Brown faced following her team’s empirical study of intercessory prayer.  She grapples with questions of whether prayer should be studied, how, and by whom.  Drawing on her background as a historian and ethnographer, Testing Prayer uses an interdisciplinary approach to address the question of efficacy, focusing specifically on global practices of Pentecostal prayer, and ultimately leading to a proposal for a multi-pronged approach to the study of efficacy in healing prayer. Read the rest of this entry »

van de Kamp, “Afro-Brazilian Pentecostal Re-formations of Relationships Across Two Generations of Mozambican Women”

December 14, 2012

van de Kamp, Linda. 2012. “Afro-Brazilian Pentecostal Re-formations of Relationships Across Two Generations of Mozambican Women.” Journal of Religion in Africa 42(4):433-452.

Abstract: Scholars of Pentecostalism in Africa have repeatedly shown that this religion generally attracts younger generations who perceive the Pentecostal theology of liberation from the bonds of kinship, tradition, and elders as very powerful. This article contributes to the existing scholarly field by examining how different generations of working women and female students in Mozambique find the Afro-Brazilian Pentecostal teachings and practices attractive, particularly when it comes to reshaping their relationships with kin, (ancestral) spirits, and men. It considers how Afro-Brazilian Pentecostalism is helping both younger and older women to reorder their relationships. Drawing on the concept of heterotopia, the role of age is highlighted to demonstrate that Afro-Brazilian Pentecostalism actively seeks to erase important generational hierarchies and differences, turning them into spiritual issues that affect all women regardless of age or generation.

van de Kamp, “Converting the Spirit Spouse”

December 20, 2011

van de Kamp, Linda. 2011. Converting the Spirit Spouse: the Violent Transformation of the Pentecostal Female Body in Maputo, Mozambique. Ethnos 76(4): 510-533.

Abstract: This article discusses the forceful transformation of the female body in Brazilian Pentecostalism in urban Mozambique and argues for an understanding of Pentecostal conversion as embodying spiritual warfare. Presenting the case of avenging spirits, such as the spirit spouse, it explores how spirits interfere in women’s new socio-economic positions and intimate relationships. Pentecostal women learn to stay in control of their body under guidance of the Holy Spirit and a ‘violent’ war against the spirit spouse unfolds. The prevalence of ‘violence’ implies that we should critically question a perception of conversion as bringing healing and harmony.

Luedke “Intimacy and Alterity”

October 6, 2011

Luedke, Tracy (2011) Intimacy and Alterity: Prophetic Selves and Spirit Others in Central Mozambique Journal of Religion in Africa 41(2):154-179

Abstract: In the context of Mozambican prophet healing, spirit-host relationships unfold between intimacy and alterity. The interweaving of spirits’ and hosts’ biographies in possession is enacted bodily in the form of pains, postures, and punishments, and often pits their wills and well-beings against one another. Spirit possession is an intimate exchange, a bodily and social confluence that invokes the most familiar of interpersonal relationships (spouses, parents and their children). On the other hand, the natures, motives, and agendas of the spirits often remain opaque. As prophets struggle to make sense and make use of the spirits who possess them, the power of the spirits reveals itself in their unknowability and contrariness, the elusiveness and partiality of their profiles. These intimate others both threaten and succor their hosts, to whom they are both kin and strangers, and it is through this dialectic that their special vantage on human suffering comes into view.

%d bloggers like this: