Journal Article

Ghambageu Encounters Jesus in Sonjo Mythology: Syncretism as African Rational Action

Mika Vähäkangas

in Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Published on behalf of American Academy of Religion

Volume 76, issue 1, pages 111-137
Published in print March 2008 | ISSN: 0002-7189
Published online February 2008 | e-ISSN: 1477-4585 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/lfm117
Ghambageu Encounters Jesus in Sonjo Mythology: Syncretism as African Rational Action

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Christian missions have worked among the Sonjo of North Tanzania for six decades. In spite of this, there are very few converts to Christianity. However, teachings of Christianity have been largely absorbed into Sonjo traditional religion. The apotheosized Sonjo cultural hero Ghambageu has gained an ever-increasing importance in Sonjo religion to the extent that it seems to be on a way towards a peculiar monotheism. The personality of Ghambegeu has transformed increasingly into the image of Jesus. Eventually, these two religious figures are on the way to being fused together. In this process, Sonjo traditional leaders have played an active role. Their action can be considered rational from the point of view of preserving the Sonjo social and cultural stability. At the same time, in spite of the meager visible success of Christian mission, Christianity has had a profound effect on the Sonjo through their traditional religion.

Journal Article.  10178 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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