Piety and Power: Muslims and Christians in West Africa (reissue)

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In Piety and Power an African scholar provides a unique perspective on historical patterns of religious interaction in West Africa and their meaning for world Christianity and Islam today. Sanneh's topics range from Muhammad's significance for Christians, to an examination of a nineteenth-century ""ecumenical"" opening between the two faiths in Freetown, to an overview of the relation between religion and politics that directly challenges many Western assumptions about Africa and Islam. Other treatments of Christian-Muslim encounter in Africa are often framed in terms of European colonial and missionary history. In contrast Piety and Power places the inter-faith issues firmly in an African social setting. Sanneh explores the impact of Islam, Christianity, and European mission and colonialism in terms of African adaptations and expressions. An autobiographical essay on Sanneh's own education in an African Qu'ran school gives readers a rare and revealing look at the power and influence of Islamic institutions in their African adaptations. ""This excellent book provides the best account of the dynamics of Muslim-Christian relations in West African society available to us. The book is a major contribution to the ongoing debate on the causes of the increasing pace of religious intolerance in contemporary West Africa. No one understands the uneasy relations between the Ummah and the Church in Africa better than Lamin Sanneh."" --Professor Jacob K. Olupona, University of California, Davis ""A wise and profoundly original analysis which boldly argues the critical significance of the experiences of the author and other Muslims and Christians."" --Professor Richard Gray, University of London ""[Draws] out striking and unexpected parallels between developments in Christianity and Islam."" --John Renard, Saint Louis University ""'The tunnel should guide what passes through it and bring it to the full scope of the light of day' (65). Sanneh's metaphor could well serve the reader's gain from his scholarship--scholarship made the more telling by the rich infusion of personal experience in a crucial territory of what obtains between faiths. An exciting publication."" --Bishop Kenneth Cragg, author, Muhammad and the Christian Lamin Sanneh was educated in his native Gambia as well as Britain and the United States. He taught at Harvard University before taking up his present position as the D. Willis James Professor of Missions and World Christianity at Yale University. He is also Chair of Yale's Council on African Studies. Sanneh's books include West African Christianity; Translating the Message: The Missionary Impact on Culture; and Encountering the West: Christianity and the Global Cultural Process.
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