Ancestors in Post-Contact Religion: Roots, Ruptures, and Modernity's Memory


Steven J. Friesen (ed.)

Religions of the World


Cambridge, Massachusetts: Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School

Available From: Harvard University Press
Publication Date: 2001
ISBN: 0-945454-32-5
Binding: paper
Pages: xxix, 271


An outgrowth of a Dialogue of Civilizations 1992 conference on ancestors and spirituality, this volume addresses two facets common to our human experience. We are all descendants; we all have ancestors who make powerful claims on our lives. And we live in the aftermath of contact between European-based cultures and other civilizations. It is now clear that native religions are alive and adapting in the contemporary world, just as all religions have done in all eras.

The phenomenon of ancestors is common to all humans, but while prominent in most indigenous traditions, it has been suppressed in western cultures. This volume articulates crucial issues in the study of post-contact religion through the themes of the ancestral ordering of the world, intense personal attachments to forebears, and the catastrophes of colonization.