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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Dialogue with the Living: Biography in the Order of a Christian's Funeral Service in Yoruba Society
Author:Lawuyi, Olatunde B.
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa
Geographic term:Nigeria
Subjects:Protestant churches
biographies (form)
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:This article intends to fulfil two aims. It presents and analyses a biography, and it explores the relationship between religion (faith in 'the other world') and life history. The biography which is analysed is a written document, part of an elaborate ritual that celebrates the rites of passage of the dead. Data for this paper have been derived from 30 orders of funeral services collected among the Yoruba of Nigeria. The bulk of the data concerns Protestants. The text of one of these biographies is presented. Three distinct aspects of a Yoruba biography are evident in this biography: 1) social roots, hometown, date of birth, and parents; 2) career and social network; 3) religious identification and involvement in religious activities. Among the Yoruba, death is part of a complex system of status symbolism. But it is less because of reputation than because of respect the deceased has earned that he is revered. Christians are the carriers of respectability. They are upholders of morality based on the Christian ethics of honesty, hard work and forgiveness. Therefore, while the biographies of successful civil servants emphasize reputation, those of Christians value respectability. Notes, ref.