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p. 383. Sacred authority: divine kingship, priests, and divinerslocked

  • Jacob K. Olupọna


‘Sacred authority: divine kingship, priests, and diviners’ explains that sacred authority in Africa differs from stereotypical Western notions of secular leadership insofar as African monarchs, chiefs, and elders fulfill both political and religious roles. In some cases, kings are also said to possess mystical, life-sustaining powers, with their own well-being intimately entwined with the well-being of their people, lands, and institutions. Sacred authorities may have more than one responsibility; a priest can be a diviner, a king may be a prophet, a seer may be a priest, and a prophet may be a seer and diviner. Each role serves a unique yet interrelated function. Diviners and healers tend to use power positively, while witches or sorcerers use power negatively.

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