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Continuity, Change or Coevalness?: Charismatic Christianity and Tradition in Contemporary Tanzania

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Chapter Summary

Based on long term field work in Iringa, a regional capital of south-central Tanzania where Pentecostal and Charismatic ministries and groups have grown and proliferated within the last three decades, this chapter explores entanglements between African Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity (PC/C) and existing cultural, religious life worlds. A major concern of Tanzanian prosperity ministries is with the moral legitimacy of wealth generated by spiritual means, a concern that clearly stems from the belief that the witchcraft of wealth requires human sacrifices. It demonstrates how the increased anonymization and depersonalization of witchcraft are important processes of cultural change to which PC/C contributes, but without being the sole contributor. The main point to be extracted is that the relationship between Christianity and African traditional beliefs and practices is better grasped in terms of coevalness, intersections and ongoing mutual influence than of temporalizing difference.

Keywords: African Pentecostal Charismatic Christianity (PC/C); change; coevalness; Tanzania; witchcraft



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