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In My Time of DyingA History of Death and the Dead in West Africa$
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John Parker

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780691193151

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691193151.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 24 January 2022

Christian Encounters

Christian Encounters

(p.172) 11 Christian Encounters
In My Time of Dying

John Parker

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses how death loomed over the nineteenth-century encounter between Christianity and the peoples of the Gold Coast. It highlights the evangelists who sought to overturn established values and ways of life in order to challenge the very idea of mortality itself: by abandoning idolatry and embracing the salvation offered by Christ. If African religious practice was resolutely this-worldly, aimed at maintaining the beneficence of deities and ancestors in order to defer death, Christianity was distinctly otherworldly, seeking to wash away sin so that the repentant might enjoy a blissful life beyond the grave. The chapter explores how the Akan and their neighbours regarded death, and explains the centrality of the doctrine of eschatology to the Christian message. Finally, the chapter assesses the further expansion of the Christian faith into Asante and the acceleration of conversion in the era of colonial rule. New perceptions of life after death, new funerary customs, and new ways of dying were crucial components of this religious transformation.

Keywords:   Christianity, death, Gold Coast, evangelists, mortality, eschatology, Akan, Asante, funerary customs

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