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Verschuivingen in een West-Afrikaanse godsdienst; Hekserijbekentenissen en de opkomst van de “beul”-goden in de godsdienst van de Ashanti

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Bijdragen, Tijdschrift voor Filosofie en Theologie 34, 1 (1973): 15-39

Abstract

The interactions between herbivorous insects and their host plants are expected to be influenced by changing climates. Modern oaks provide an excellent system to examine this assumption because their interactions with herbivores occur over broad climatic and spatial scales, they vary in their defensive and nutritional investment in leaves by being deciduous or evergreen, and their insect herbivores range from generalists to highly specialized feeders. In this study, we surveyed leaf-litter samples of four oak species along an elevation gradient, from coastal northern California, USA, to the upper montane woodlands of the Sierra Nevada, to examine the relationship between climatic factors (mean annual temperature and precipitation) and oak herbivory levels at multiple scales; across all oak species pooled, between evergreen and deciduous species and within species.

Overall, temperature and precipitation did not appear to have a significant effect on most measures of total herbivore damage (percent leaves damaged per tree, percent leaf area removed and average number of feeding damage marks per leaf) and the strongest predictor of herbivore damage overall was the identity of the host species. However, increases in precipitation were correlated with an increase in the actual leaf area removed, and specialized insects, such as those that make leaf mines and galls, were the most sensitive to differences in precipitation levels. This suggests that the effects of changing climate on some plant–insect interactions is less likely to result in broad scale increases in damage with increasing temperatures or changing precipitation levels, but is rather more likely to be dependent on the type of herbivore (specialist vs. generalist) and the scale (species vs. community) over which the effect is examined.

Empirie en theologie: Water en vuur ?

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Areopagus, blad van de Theologische Faculteit RUU 8, 1/2 (april 1985) 16-21

Abstract

The interactions between herbivorous insects and their host plants are expected to be influenced by changing climates. Modern oaks provide an excellent system to examine this assumption because their interactions with herbivores occur over broad climatic and spatial scales, they vary in their defensive and nutritional investment in leaves by being deciduous or evergreen, and their insect herbivores range from generalists to highly specialized feeders. In this study, we surveyed leaf-litter samples of four oak species along an elevation gradient, from coastal northern California, USA, to the upper montane woodlands of the Sierra Nevada, to examine the relationship between climatic factors (mean annual temperature and precipitation) and oak herbivory levels at multiple scales; across all oak species pooled, between evergreen and deciduous species and within species.

Overall, temperature and precipitation did not appear to have a significant effect on most measures of total herbivore damage (percent leaves damaged per tree, percent leaf area removed and average number of feeding damage marks per leaf) and the strongest predictor of herbivore damage overall was the identity of the host species. However, increases in precipitation were correlated with an increase in the actual leaf area removed, and specialized insects, such as those that make leaf mines and galls, were the most sensitive to differences in precipitation levels. This suggests that the effects of changing climate on some plant–insect interactions is less likely to result in broad scale increases in damage with increasing temperatures or changing precipitation levels, but is rather more likely to be dependent on the type of herbivore (specialist vs. generalist) and the scale (species vs. community) over which the effect is examined.

“Een beetje verheffen”: Een reaktie op Prof. Jonkers gedachten over Zuid Afrika

Journal PaperReview article
Jan G. Platvoet
Areopagus 9, 5 (okt. 1976), p. 14-17 & Areopagus 9, 6 (december 1976): 52-54

Response to Prof. Jonker’s “Gedachten over Zuid-Afrika”, in Areopagus 9, 5 (Oct. 1976): 14-17

Commemoration by Communication: Akan Funerary Terracottas

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Visible Religion, Annual for Religious Iconography 1 (1982): 113-134 (= Commemorative Figures; Papers presented to Dr. Th.P. van Baaren on the occasion of his seventieth birthday, May 13, 1982)

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Comparing Religions: A Limitative Approach; An Analysis of Akan, Para-Creole and IFO-Sananda Rites and Prayers

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
The Hague/Paris/New York: Mouton, 1982, 350 pp. (= Religion and Reason, 24; Ph.D. thesis, Rijksuniversiteit te Utrecht)

Lorem ipsum

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Analysis and Interpretation of Rites; Essays to D.J. Hoens

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
The Hague: Boekencentrum. (= Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift 37, 3 [1983]: 177-277)

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Justo lacus tortor lobortis et Proin lacus ut Phasellus et Nam. Non consectetuer eget neque venenatis eget mauris tincidunt ac Suspendisse quis. Accumsan justo massa eget feugiat et Praesent lorem Curabitur Nam pellentesque. Nec ac nonummy Aliquam morbi elit sapien Aenean tempus netus lorem. Integer facilisi nisl fringilla tincidunt lacinia nascetur.

The Study of Rites in the Netherlands

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
The Hague: Boekencentrum. (= Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift 37, 3 [1983]: 177-188

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Justo lacus tortor lobortis et Proin lacus ut Phasellus et Nam. Non consectetuer eget neque venenatis eget mauris tincidunt ac Suspendisse quis. Accumsan justo massa eget feugiat et Praesent lorem Curabitur Nam pellentesque. Nec ac nonummy Aliquam morbi elit sapien Aenean tempus netus lorem. Integer facilisi nisl fringilla tincidunt lacinia nascetur.

Verbal Communication in an Akan Possession and Maintenance Rite

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
The Hague: Boekencentrum. (= Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift 37, 3 [1983]:202-215

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Justo lacus tortor lobortis et Proin lacus ut Phasellus et Nam. Non consectetuer eget neque venenatis eget mauris tincidunt ac Suspendisse quis. Accumsan justo massa eget feugiat et Praesent lorem Curabitur Nam pellentesque. Nec ac nonummy Aliquam morbi elit sapien Aenean tempus netus lorem. Integer facilisi nisl fringilla tincidunt lacinia nascetur.

In the koelte van de “ontvangstboom”: De politieke functie van een akan godsdienstig symbool

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
H. van Reisen (red.), Van gerechtigheid tot liturgie. Hilversum: Gooi & Sticht, 1984: 61-91

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Justo lacus tortor lobortis et Proin lacus ut Phasellus et Nam. Non consectetuer eget neque venenatis eget mauris tincidunt ac Suspendisse quis. Accumsan justo massa eget feugiat et Praesent lorem Curabitur Nam pellentesque. Nec ac nonummy Aliquam morbi elit sapien Aenean tempus netus lorem. Integer facilisi nisl fringilla tincidunt lacinia nascetur.

Op bezoek bij de god Tano

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
D.J. Hoens, J.H. Kamstra, D.C. Mulder et alii, Inleiding tot de studie van godsdiensten. Kampen: Kok, 1985: 140-158

In deze bijdrage aan een handbook beschrijf ik het bezoek dat de gouvernmentsantropoloog Rattray op vrijdag 5 maart 1922 bracht aan het dorpje Tanoboase, ‘hoofdkwartier” van Tano, de belangrijkste god in het pantheon van de Akan na de hemelgod Nyame. Rattray wilde graag van ‘Tano zelf’, via het medium van Tano, toestemming krijgen dat zijn priesters voor hem een ‘echt’ tabernakel/schrijn van een ‘zoon van Tano’ zouden maken, en dat hij die ‘verblijfplaats van die god’ dan mee zou mogen nemen naar Engeland om hem in 1924 in London op een grote koloniale expositie ten toon te stellen.

Review of C. Okali, Cocoa and Kinship in Ghana: The Matrilineal Akan of Ghana (London, etc.: Kegan Paul International, 1983)

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Antropologische Verkenningen 3, 1 (1984): 225-228

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Justo lacus tortor lobortis et Proin lacus ut Phasellus et Nam. Non consectetuer eget neque venenatis eget mauris tincidunt ac Suspendisse quis. Accumsan justo massa eget feugiat et Praesent lorem Curabitur Nam pellentesque. Nec ac nonummy Aliquam morbi elit sapien Aenean tempus netus lorem. Integer facilisi nisl fringilla tincidunt lacinia nascetur.

Cool Shade, Peace and Power: The Gyedua ('Tree of Reception') as an Ideological Instrument of Identity Management among the Akan Peoples of Southern Ghana

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Journal of Religion in Africa 15, 3 (1985): 174-200; reformated and slightly revised, 2012

It is the purpose of this paper to explore one symbol complex by which the Akan them­selves ex­pressed how they viewed their societies and political order. They objectified and sa­cral­ised these views in a politico-religious (‘civil religion’) institution that was a prom­i­nent fea­ture of Akan towns in pre-colonial times: the gyedua, ‘tree of reception’. It was an instrument they used pri­ma­rily for expressing, maintaining, or restoring, the ‘proper’ politi­cal order. This pa­per will deal es­pe­cially with the functions of the gyedua in Akan external and internal political re­la­tion­ships, and produce by doing so ‘emic’, i.e. native or insider, images of Akan identity.

 

Review of D. Westerlund, African Religion in African Scholarship; A Preliminary Study of the Religious and Political Background (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 1985)

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Journal of Religion in Africa 15, 3 (1985): 244-248

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Justo lacus tortor lobortis et Proin lacus ut Phasellus et Nam. Non consectetuer eget neque venenatis eget mauris tincidunt ac Suspendisse quis. Accumsan justo massa eget feugiat et Praesent lorem Curabitur Nam pellentesque. Nec ac nonummy Aliquam morbi elit sapien Aenean tempus netus lorem. Integer facilisi nisl fringilla tincidunt lacinia nascetur.

Review of J.P.M. van den Breemer, Onze aarde houdt niet van rijst: Een cultureel-antropologische studie van innovatie in de landbouw bij de Aouan van Ivoorkust (Leiden: the Author, 1985, 800 pp.; Ph.D. thesis, University of Leiden)

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Antropologische Verkenningen 5, 3 (1985): 51-56

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Justo lacus tortor lobortis et Proin lacus ut Phasellus et Nam. Non consectetuer eget neque venenatis eget mauris tincidunt ac Suspendisse quis. Accumsan justo massa eget feugiat et Praesent lorem Curabitur Nam pellentesque. Nec ac nonummy Aliquam morbi elit sapien Aenean tempus netus lorem. Integer facilisi nisl fringilla tincidunt lacinia nascetur.

Bezetenheid en Christendom

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet, G. ter Haar
Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift 43, 3 (1989): 177-191

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Justo lacus tortor lobortis et Proin lacus ut Phasellus et Nam. Non consectetuer eget neque venenatis eget mauris tincidunt ac Suspendisse quis. Accumsan justo massa eget feugiat et Praesent lorem Curabitur Nam pellentesque. Nec ac nonummy Aliquam morbi elit sapien Aenean tempus netus lorem. Integer facilisi nisl fringilla tincidunt lacinia nascetur.

De eigenheid van godsdiensten van volken zonder schrift

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
T. Chowdhury, W. Claessens & W. Logister (red.), Het kosmisch patroon: Het vele en het ene in de godsdiensten. Tilburg: Tilburg University Press, 1989: 21-48

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Justo lacus tortor lobortis et Proin lacus ut Phasellus et Nam. Non consectetuer eget neque venenatis eget mauris tincidunt ac Suspendisse quis. Accumsan justo massa eget feugiat et Praesent lorem Curabitur Nam pellentesque. Nec ac nonummy Aliquam morbi elit sapien Aenean tempus netus lorem. Integer facilisi nisl fringilla tincidunt lacinia nascetur.

The Institutional Environment of the Study of Religions in Africa South of the Sahara

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
M. Pye (ed.), Marburg Revisited: Institutions and Strategies in the Study of Religions. Marburg: diagonal-Verlag, 1989: 107-126

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Justo lacus tortor lobortis et Proin lacus ut Phasellus et Nam. Non consectetuer eget neque venenatis eget mauris tincidunt ac Suspendisse quis. Accumsan justo massa eget feugiat et Praesent lorem Curabitur Nam pellentesque. Nec ac nonummy Aliquam morbi elit sapien Aenean tempus netus lorem. Integer facilisi nisl fringilla tincidunt lacinia nascetur.

Review of H. Zinser (Hg.), Religionswissenschaft; Eine Einführung (Berlin: Reimer Verlag, 1988)

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Tijdschrift voor Theologie 44, 4 (1990): 334-335

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Justo lacus tortor lobortis et Proin lacus ut Phasellus et Nam. Non consectetuer eget neque venenatis eget mauris tincidunt ac Suspendisse quis. Accumsan justo massa eget feugiat et Praesent lorem Curabitur Nam pellentesque. Nec ac nonummy Aliquam morbi elit sapien Aenean tempus netus lorem. Integer facilisi nisl fringilla tincidunt lacinia nascetur.

The Definers Defined: Traditions in the Definition of Religion

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 2, 2 (1990): 180-212

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Justo lacus tortor lobortis et Proin lacus ut Phasellus et Nam. Non consectetuer eget neque venenatis eget mauris tincidunt ac Suspendisse quis. Accumsan justo massa eget feugiat et Praesent lorem Curabitur Nam pellentesque. Nec ac nonummy Aliquam morbi elit sapien Aenean tempus netus lorem. Integer facilisi nisl fringilla tincidunt lacinia nascetur.

"Renewal' by Retrospection: The Asante Anokye Traditions

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
in Armin Geertz & Jeppe Sinding Jensen (eds.) 1991, Religion, Tradition, and Renewal. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 149-176
Novelty is no less novel for being able to dress up easily as antiquity (Hobsbawm 1983, 5).
The theme of the Second International Conference of the Danish Association for the History of Religions, ‘Religion: Tradition and Renewal’, from 14th to 17th May 1987 at Aarhus University calls for a comment. The use of ‘renewal’ instead of ‘change’, and in opposition to ‘tradition’, suggests that ‘tradition’ is taken as a thing of the past which is maladjusted to the present, and that believers adapt their religion to ‘modern’ times by doing away with tradition. A secular(ist) or liberal(-theological) bias seems to underlie this view. Examples abound in the history of religions of believers adapting their religion to new circumstances by returning to ‘tradition’, or by inventing it. Adaptation to new circumstances by the reinterpretation, elaboration, or invention of tradition occurs also in preliterate religions. In this contribution, I discuss one example of adaptation to altered, and altering, circumstances by the ‘retrospective invention of tradition’ (Hobsbawm 1983: 1-6; TrevorRoper 1983: 15):the Asante traditions about the priest Anokye. I outline the use which the Asante as a nation made of them since 1874, and the special use to which they were put between 1874 and 1880 by the ‘Anokyeists’, more usually known as the Domaŋkoma (Wilks 1975: 519-521; McCaskie 1981: 129-138) or Abonsamkómfo (Rattray 1927: 28-30). I will dwell especially on the political and socio-psychological circumstances under which this traditionalizing option was pursued.

Een weg door de doolhof: Van Neanderthaler tot New Age

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
TE-EF: Blad van de Theologische Faculteit te Leiden 20, 2 (1991): 5-15

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Justo lacus tortor lobortis et Proin lacus ut Phasellus et Nam. Non consectetuer eget neque venenatis eget mauris tincidunt ac Suspendisse quis. Accumsan justo massa eget feugiat et Praesent lorem Curabitur Nam pellentesque. Nec ac nonummy Aliquam morbi elit sapien Aenean tempus netus lorem. Integer facilisi nisl fringilla tincidunt lacinia nascetur.

Review of J. van Baal, Mysterie als openbaring (Utrecht: ISOR, 1990)

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Antropologische Verkenningen 10, 3 (najaar 1991): 92-94

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Justo lacus tortor lobortis et Proin lacus ut Phasellus et Nam. Non consectetuer eget neque venenatis eget mauris tincidunt ac Suspendisse quis. Accumsan justo massa eget feugiat et Praesent lorem Curabitur Nam pellentesque. Nec ac nonummy Aliquam morbi elit sapien Aenean tempus netus lorem. Integer facilisi nisl fringilla tincidunt lacinia nascetur.

Wat ik hier kom doen

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Te-ef: Blad van de Theologische Faculteit te Leiden 21, 2 (november 1991): 22-23

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Justo lacus tortor lobortis et Proin lacus ut Phasellus et Nam. Non consectetuer eget neque venenatis eget mauris tincidunt ac Suspendisse quis. Accumsan justo massa eget feugiat et Praesent lorem Curabitur Nam pellentesque. Nec ac nonummy Aliquam morbi elit sapien Aenean tempus netus lorem. Integer facilisi nisl fringilla tincidunt lacinia nascetur.

African Traditional Religions in the Religious History of Humankind

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
G. ter Haar, A. Moyo & S.J. Nondo (eds.), African Traditional Religions in Religious Education: A Resourcebook with special reference to Zimbabwe. Utrecht: Theologische Faculteit RU-Utrecht, 1992: 11-28

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Kuenens plechtanker: Een onderzoek van zijn Hibbert-lezingen

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Té-èf: blad van de Faculteit der Godgeleerdheid van de Rijksuniversiteit te Leiden 21, 3 (1992): 43-57

This article, ‘Kuenen’s Sheet Anchor: An Investigation of his Hibbert Lectures’, was my contribution to a special issue of Té-èf: Blad van de Theologische Faculteit te Leiden, 21, 3 (maart 1992): 43-56, commemorating the centenary of the death of the world famous Leiden Biblical scholar Abraham Kuenen (1828-1891).

I have added the page numbers in bold between square brackets. I have made a few small changes in the text.

Review of A. Sooklal, Children of Immortality: The Ramakrishna Movement with Special Emphasis on the South African Context (Red Hill, SA: The Ramakrishna Centre of South Africa, 1990)

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Numen, International Review for the History of Religions 39, 2 (1992): 275-277

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African Traditional Religions in the Religious History of Humankind

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Journal for the Study of Religion 6, 2 (September 1993): 29-48

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De wraak van de “primitieven”: Godsdienstgeschiedenis van Neanderthaler tot New Age

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift 47, 3 (1993): 227-243

The Revenge of the ‘Primitives’: History of Religions from Neanderthals to New Age
A new framework for the general history of religions is offered in this article. I discuss first the reasons why this new framework has been developed. They are the need to replace the present defective division in primitive, ancient and world religions by a more adequate one; the need to approach historical religions as an object of comparative religion; and the need to enhance the explanatory power of the study of religions. The framework proposed hinges on the history of religions being part of the history of human societies, and therefore dependent on their histories. Six types of human societies are then sketched and the six corresponding kinds of religions. The study concludes with ‘the revenge of the “primitives”’: the marks of the historically earliest types of religions re-emerge in the newest religions of humankind.

Eliade at UNISA: A Critical Review of Shirley Thorpe's African Traditional Religions and Primal Religions Worldwide

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Journal for the Study of Religion 6, 2 (September 1993): 103-112

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Programmatic Statements from Africa, 1982-1992; A Review Article

Journal PaperReview article
Jan G. Platvoet
Numen 40, 3 (1993): 322-342

Jan G. Platvoet 1993, ‘Programmatic Statements from Africa: A Review Article’, in Numen 40, 3: 322-342

In this article, I review J.S. Krüger 1982/1988, Studying Religion: A Methodological Introduction to Science of Religion. Pretoria: University of South Africa; M.H. Prozesky 1984, Religion and Ultimate Well-being: An Explanatory Theory. London: Macmillan; and J.K. Olupona 1991, Kingship, Religion, and Rituals in a Nigerian Community: A Phenomenological Study of Ondo Yoruba Festivals. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International

Note that I have added a Postscript summarizing Martin Prozesky’s response to my review of his Religion and Ultimate Well-being.

Review of E.T. Lawson & R.N. McCauley, Rethinking Religion: Connecting Cognition & Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge Un.Pr., 1990)

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Numen 40, 2 (1993): 189-191

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Review of M.C. Jedrej & Rosalind Shaw (eds.), Dreaming, Religion and Society in Africa (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1992; Supplements to the Journal of Religion in Africa, 7)

Journal PaperReview
Jan G. Platvoet
Numen 40, 3 (1993): 349-350

This review was published in Numen 40, 3 (1993): 349-350. I have made a few minor editorial changes in the text.

The Study of Religions in South and Southern Africa: A View from Afar [1993]

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Journal for the Study of Religion 31 (2018)

This article presents a survey, and an appreciation, of the academic study of religions in South and Southern Africa. As I cannot boast of the knowledge of an insider, I borrow a simile from an Akan proverb, that of Hawk sailing on high, to express not only my relationship to this part of our discipline, but also my weak credentials for undertaking this job, and my limited goals.

Defining the Definers: Non-verifiability/Non-falsifiability as a Definiens in an Operational Definition of Religion

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
in U. Bianchi (ed.), The Notion of ‘Religion’ Comparative Research; Selected Proceedings of the XVI IAHR Congress. Roma: “L’Erma” di Bretschneider, 1994: 701-711

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetuer semper cursus Curabitur justo mauris. In ante pretium ac Curabitur tempor lacus vitae tortor id vel. Sapien Quisque nibh neque Morbi Cum Vestibulum id ac congue vel. Nisl sociis congue risus congue dui In Vivamus nunc vitae et. Ut Integer quam Maecenas leo vel nibh sem dui vel urna. Nulla In lacus urna Integer orci iaculis auctor lorem congue et.

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Het religionisme beleden en bestreden: Recente ontwikkelingen in de Angelsaksische godsdienstwetenschap

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift 48, 1 (January 1994): 22-38

This article was published in Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift 48, 1 (January 1994): 22-38.
Summary
Jan G. Platvoet 1994/2017, Confessing and Contesting ‛Religionism’: Recent Developments in Anglo¬phone Science of Religions
‛Religionism’ is defined in this article as a position in the academic study of religions that claims that the special nature of religion forbids that religions are subjected to the ‛reductionist’ explanatory theory of the type pursued in the past in respect of religion in the social sciences. Religionism is one of four attitudes that have been taken in respect of how religions should be studies in the past. They are: theological reductionism, positivist reductionism, religionism, and agnosticism. After having briefly described the first two and the last one and their historical connections, I detail the seven marks of religionism. I discuss its hegemony in the Anglosaxon academy. In most English speaking parts, it is uncontested. I discuss three recent publications from Africa as examples of this situation. The supremacy of religionism in the study of religions has, however, increasingly been contested on the North American continent in the last two decades. I survey the most recent phase of that polemic by discussing the argument in favour of religionism as developed by Daniel Pals and the responses to it of Segal and Wiebe. I conclude by pointing out that religionist approaches are found also among social scientists, as are non-religionist ones among scholars of religions.

God als vijand: De genezingsdansen van de !Kung

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift 49, 2 (1995): 89-107

Jan G. Platvoet 1995, ‘God als vijand: De genezingsdansen van !Kung’, in Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift 49, 2: 89-107

Summary
God as Enemy: !Kung Curing Dances
In the 1950s and 1960, only a few !Kung San, or Bushmen, continued to follow the traditional way of life of nomadic foodgathering in the Kalahari semi-desert of Southern Africa. Their religion is discussed in this article. Its central ritual was the curing dance. It is an all-night ritual, which they often practiced. It served as their major means for maintaining solidarity in their nomadic bands and for removing conflict from it – another means being the sharing of the food they gathered and meat they hunted. They maintained solidarity through the curing dance, for one reason because the dance was itself a process of sharing, of n/um, ‛curing power’; and for another because it was a ritual of exclusion. God and the deceased were blamed for all the evil present in the group, declared personae non gratae and refused admission as unwelcome aliens, the !Kung waging a continual ritual war upon them as their sole enemies. The special interest of this religion and this ritual for the comparative study of religions is highlighted by an examination of the link between the anthropological study of the !Kung curing dances and recent archaeological research on the San rock paintings, of which thousands have been found all over Southern Africa. They are interpreted now as reflecting a tradition of San curing dances which dates back many millennia.

Pluralism and Identity: An Epilogue

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet, K. van der Toorn
Platvoet & van der Toorn 1995f: 349-360

This article is published as if it were written by both Prof. Dr. Karel van der Toorn and me. However, Karel van der Toorn was its main author and my input into it was minimal. I have, therefore, not provided a PDF of this chapter.

Ritual as Confrontation: The Ayodhya Conflict

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Platvoet & van der Toorn 1995f: 187-226

On 6 December 1992, Hindu devotees of the god Ram destroyed the Babri mosque in Ayodhya, because it stood on a  spot they venerated as Ramjanmabhumi, ‘Ram’s  birthplace’. That mosque had been built there in 1528 by Babur Shah, founder of the Muslim Moghul  empire,  after  a  Hindu  temple  dedicated  to  Ram  had  allegedly  been  torn  down. This article deals with the ritual elements in the conflict over Ramjamnabhumi in Ayodhya.  It  was  the  focal  point  in  the  nation-wide  troubled  political  relationships  between  the Hindu and the Muslim ‘communities’ and the central government of India in the last decade.  I  deal  first  with  Ayodhya  as  the  dense  symbolic  complex  with  a  primarily  cultural and religious quality as it developed in the past one thousand years. I will then describe
it as an arena of political strife, at first of local importance only, but with a national impact in the past decade, when it was made the focus of a nation-wide struggle for power. These events  and  their  background  are  described  because  they  serve  as  the  historical  data  on which  to  test  the heuristic utility and analytical clarity of  the  concepts for the analysis of ritual  in  religiously  plural  situations  developed  in  another  chapter in  this  volume.  Their application to the Ayodhya rituals of confrontation leads me to bring this study to a close with  an  anti-Durkheimian  conclusion.  It  will  show  that the  emphases  on  the  integrative functions  of  ritual  in  anthropological  theories  and  on  ritual  as  standardised  sequences  of behaviour, must be complemented by theory that is able to account for the different kinds of ethnographic data presented in this chapter.

Ritual in Plural and Pluralist societies: Instruments for Analysis

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Platvoet & van der Toorn 1995f: 25-51
There is preciously little theory on ritual in the study of religions, understood here as the distinct academic discipline of Religionswissenschaft. In anthropology of religion, there is an abundance of it, but it is, in my view, confused as well as confusing. In neither, however, has ritual theory been extended to ritual behaviour in situations of cultural and/or religious plurality and pluralism; i.e. to ritual behaviour in which groups co-existing in a society express their separate identities, boundaries, strife with, indifference to, or respect for, each other. This article attempts to develop a ritual theory that may be applied also to cultural and religious plurality. It has two sections. The first develops a provisional operational definition of ‘ritual’, defined in a broad way to include religious as well as secular ritual behaviour. It is meant to serve as a heuristic instrument for general use in the study of ritual behaviour. In the second section, I tailor that definition for use in situations of religious plurality and pluralism.

Perspectives on the Study of Religions in Sub-Saharan Africa

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet, J.K. Olupona
Platvoet, Cox, & Olupona 1996: 7-36
When we rose from the four day conference on The Study of Religions in Africa at the University of Zimbabwe, Harare, on 18 September 1992, everyone agreed that it was the beginning of a new era in the academic study of religion in the African continent. Apart from it being the first major conference attended by South African scholars and Africans from outside Southern Africa, it marked a new partnership between African and non-African scholars, the so-called ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’, in the study of the religions of Africa. It was at once decided that selected papers, duly revised, were to be published to mark this important meeting, and to make them available to scholars and students in religions and in African studies, as well as to the general public.

Religions in Contest: The Ayodhya Rituals of Confrontation

Chapter in a bookJournal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
I. Dolezalova, B. Horyna & D. Papousek (eds.), Religions in Contact: Selected Proceedings of Special IAHR Conference held at Brno, 23-26 August 1994. Brno: Masaryk University Press, 1996: 127-144
One manner of contact between religions that merits sustained critical analysis is the violent encounter between communities which use their religions not only to demarcate their separate identities and maintain boundaries against each other but also in power contests for mobilising their adherents in situations of political instability in order to attempt to reform a society after their own ideals.
One instance of the use of religion for these purposes is examined in this article: the mass mobilisation campaigns which two RSS-affiliated organisations, the VHP and the BJP, conducted between 1984 and 1993 in order to rouse the Hindus of India for the liberation of the god Ram from his ‘prison’ in the Babri mosque at Ayodhya. This religious goal was the centre piece, and mobilization motor, of the much more ambitious RSS political strategy of increasing the political, cultural and religious power of the Sangh parivar, the family of RSS-affiliated Hindu reform organisations, in order that it might realise the ideals that it pursued. These may be briefly summarised as (1) the de-secularisation of India; (2) the reduction of Muslims, and the believers of other religions of non-Indian origin, to their ‘proper’ places as aliens in Hindu India who would be suffered to stay on only if they agreed to become ‘cultural Hindus’, i.e. ‘Hindu Muslims’ and ‘Hindu Christians’;
(3) the unification of the Hindu ‘community’ by bridging the many deep rifts among the Hindus, in particular the social one between the upper castes and the lower ones, the untouchables and the adivasi (Aboriginals); but also the many religious ones between its major devotional streams and its numerous organisations of renouncers; and (4) to establish a unified, modern, militant Hindu rashtra, Hindu nation, marked thoroughly by its Hindutva (Hindudom)
nature, which must try to undo the 1947 partition and reconstitute the entire Indian subcontinent, including Sri Lanka and adjacent regions that were under Hindu influence at some time in the past, into a re-united Bharata, the Indian subcontinent as the land of Mother India.

Review of P. Boyer (ed.), Cognitive Aspects of Religious Symbolism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993)

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Numen 43, 1 (1996): 104-106

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Review of S.B. Twiss & W.H. Conser Jr. (eds.), Experience of the Sacred: Readings in the Phenomenology of Peligion (Hannover [N.H.], etc.: Brown University Press, etc., 1992)

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Numen 43, 1 (1996): 106-108

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The Study of Religions in Africa: Past, Present, Prospects

ConferenceJournal PaperTable of Contents
Jan G. Platvoet, J.L. Cox, J.K. Olupona
Cambridge: Roots & Branches, 1996, 393 pp.

Jan G. Platvoet, James L. Cox, & Jacob K. Olupona (eds.) 1996, The Study of Religions in Africa: Past, Present and Prospects. Cambridge: Roots and Branches, ISBN 0 9525772 2 4 (pbk), 393 pp..

This volume contains peer reviewed, revised, selected papers, presented at the IAHR first ever Regional Conference in Africa on ‘The Study of Religions in Africa’, at the University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe, 15 to 19 September 1992. In its closing session, AASR (the African Associations for the Study of Religions) was founded.

An introduction by Jacob Olupona and me, and two more articles by me have been added. They are:
= Jan G. Platvoet & Jacob K. Olupona 1996, ‘Perspectives on the Study of Religions in sub-Saharan Africa’, pp. 7-36; full text at: http://jangplatvoet.nl/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Perspectives.Introd1996.2017.pdf
= Jan G. Platvoet 1996, The Religions of Africa in their Historical Order, 46-102; full text at http://jangplatvoet.nl/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/ReligionsOfAfricaInHistoricalOrder.pdf
= Jan G. Platvoet 1996, From Object to Subject: A History of the Study of the Religions of Africa, 105-138; full text at http://jangplatvoet.nl/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/FromObjectToSubject.1996.2017.pdf

Recent Studies on Religions in Africa

Journal PaperReview
Jan G. Platvoet
Numen 44, 1 (1997): 100-103 (reviews of J.K. Olupona & S. Nyang (eds.), Religious Plurality in Africa: Essays in Honour of John S. Mbiti. Berlin, etc.: Mouton de Gruyter, 1993; H.B. Hansen & M. Twaddle (eds.), Religion and Politics in East Africa: The Period since Independence. London, etc: Currey, etc., 1995; D.M. Anderson & D.H. Johnson (eds.), Revealing Prophets; Prophecy in East African History. London, etc.: Currey, etc., 1995)
Jan G. Platvoet 1977, ‘Recent Studies on Religions in Africa’ [three book reviews], in Numen 44, 1: 100-103
J.K. Olupona & S. Nyang (eds.), Religious Plurality in Africa: Essays in Honour of John S. Mbiti. Berlin, etc.: Mouton de Gruyter, 1993
H.B. Hansen & M. Twaddle (eds.), Religion and Politics in East Africa: The Period since Independence. London, etc: Currey, etc., 1995
D.M. Anderson & D.H. Johnson (eds.), Revealing Prophets; Prophecy in East African History. London, etc.: Currey, etc., 1995

Review of Jan van Baal, Boodschap uit de stilte/Mysterie als openbaring (Baarn: Ten Have, 19963), en van A.F. Droogers (red.), Boodschap uit het Mysterie: Reacties op de visie van Jan van Baal (Baarn: Ten Have, 1996)

Journal PaperReview
Jan G. Platvoet
Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift 51, 4 (october 1997) 318
Jan G. Platvoet 1997, Review of Jan van Baal, Boodschap uit de stilte/Mysterie als openbaring (Baarn: Ten Have, 19963), en van A.F. Droogers (red.), Boodschap uit het Mysterie: Reacties op de visie van Jan van Baal (Baarn: Ten Have, 1996), in Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift 51, 4 (october 1997) 318

Close Harmonies: Science of Religions in Dutch Duplex Ordo Theology, 1860-1960

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
in Numen 45, 2 (1998): 115-162

Jan G. Platvoet 1998, “Close Harmonies: Science of Religions in Dutch Duplex Ordo Theology, 1860-1960, in Numen: International Review for the History of Religions 45, 2: 115-162

This article surveys the history of the Science of Religions in the Netherlands in the period 1860 to 1960 at the time when it was an integral part of Dutch liberal academic theology as pursued in the faculties of theology at the universities of Leiden, Groningen, Utrecht and Amsterdam. In 1876, these faculties were given a special statute, the so-called duplex ordo, in a law that separated the ‘confessional’ theological disciplines from the ‘scientific’ ones. It also introduced the new disciplines of the Science of Religions and the Philosophy of Religion into these reconstituted faculties. I discuss Tiele’s plan to make the Science of Religion their central discipline, and why it was ultimately given only a marginal place in them. My main concern, however, it to outline the theology which inspired the Science of Religions of Tiele, Chantepie, Van der Leeuw and Bleeker and to demonstrate its ‘close harmony’ with the liberal theology prevailing in these duplex ordo faculties, as also in at least some of the modalities of the Nederlandse Hervormde Kerk whose ministers were trained in these faculties. It was that close harmony which allowed Van der Leeuw to disregard the duplex ordo and to establish a full harmony between Science of Religions and confessional theology. I also discuss dissonant voices, Kraemer’s especially, calling for the abrogation of the duplex ordo and the integration of the Science of Religions into a militantly confessional theology.

From Consonance to Autonomy: The Science of Religion in The Netherlands, 1948-1995

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
in Method & Theory in the Study of Religion: Journal of the North American Association for the Study of Religion 10, 4 (1998): 334-351

Jan G. Platvoet 1998, “From Consonance to Autonomy: The Science of Religion in The Netherlands”, in Method & Theory in the Study of Religion: Journal of the North American Association for the Study of religion 10, 4: 334-351

 

After 1960, a para­digm shift occurred in Dutch Science of Religion (godsdienstwetenschap). Metho­do­lo­gi­cal ag­nos­ticism replaced the earlier ‘re­ligionist’ approach. This paradigm shift is traced in this article as well as the vicis­si­tudes of Dutch Science of Religions in Dutch duplex ordo faculties of theology till this very day (1998). I trace the contributions which Sierksma and Van Baaren made to it, the first by initiating the paradigm shift, the sec­­ond by completing it. In the third part, I wonder whether Dutch Science of Religions, hav­­ing become a secular, cultural-historical discipline, should cut its umbilical cord with Dutch du­plex ordo theology.

Review of J.S. Krüger, Along Edges: Religion in South Africa: Bushman, Christian, Buddhist (Pretoria: University of South Africa, 1995)

Journal PaperReview
Jan G. Platvoet
Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift 51, 1 (Januari 1998): 50-51; also in The African Association for the Study of Religions [Newsletter] no. 9 (June 1998): 16-18

Jan G. Platvoet 1998, review of  J.S. Krüger, Along Edges: Religion in South Africa: Bushman, Christian, Buddhist (Pretoria: University of South Africa, 1995), in Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift 51, 1 (Januari 1998): 50-51; also in The African Association for the Study of Religions [Newsletter] no. 9 (June 1998): 16-18

Seeds of Destruction: European Christianity Abroad in the Late 20th Century

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Africana Marburgensia 31 (1998) 1/2: 3-19
During the recent conference on ‘The History of Religions in Europe: Mankind-Nature-Technology’, from 22 to 25 May 1998 at Hildesheim in Germany, I was asked to present ‘two provocative theses’ in the panel on ‘European Christianity: an imported and exported religion’. The present article contains these two theses as well as the documentation on which I based them. The two theses may actually be applied to European Christianity both at home and abroad. Both suffer, albeit in different ways, from what I term ‘the revenge of the “primitives”’, and in both ‘seeds of destruction’ have been planted. The brief time of presentation–each of the three panellists was allowed only ten minutes– forced me to limit myself to developing these two theses for Christianity abroad only. This article, therefore, presents only that part of the picture. The structure of my article is a simple one: I begin with two cautions. Then I present data on how Christianity became a so-called ‘world religion’ on the wings of Western colonialism. Then follow my two theses. In my conclusion I stress that, despite appearances to the contrary, Africa is no more, and no less, religious than Europe.

At War with God: Ju/’hoan Curing Dances

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Journal of Religion in Africa 29, 1 (1999): 2-61

In the 1950s and 1960s, only a few !Kung speaking San, or Bushmen, continued to follow the traditional way of life of nomadic food gathering in the Kalahari semi-desert of Southern Africa. One group were the Ju/’hoansi of the Nyae Nyae and Dobe areas of the Northwestern Kalahari. It is their religion that is discussed in this article. Their central rite was the curing dance, an all-night ritual which they often practised (and practise now, after they have settled permanently, even more commonly than before). It served as their major means of maintaining solidarity within their egalitarian bands and of removing conflict from it –an- other means being the sharing of the food they had collected and the meat they had hunted. Solidarity was maintained through the curing dance, partly because the dance was itself a process of sharing, of n/um, ‘curing power’, and partly because it served as a ritual of exclusion. God and the deceased were blamed for the evil present in the group, were declared personae non gratae and refused admission to the dances as unwelcome aliens, the !Kung waging a continual ritual war upon them as their sole enemies. The special interest of this religion and this ritual for the comparative study of religions is highlighted by an examination of the link between the anthropological study of the !Kung curing dances and recent archaeological research on San art, especially the thousands of rock paintings which have been found all over Southern Africa, and which are interpreted now as reflecting a tradition of San curing dances dating back for many millennia.

The Rule and its Exceptions: Spirit Possession in Two African Societies

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Journal for the Study of Religion 12, 1&2 (1999): 5-51

Jan G. Platvoet 1999, ‘The Rule & its Exceptions: Spirit Possession in Two African Societies’, in Journal for the Study of Religion 12, 1&2 (1999): 5-51

This article has four parts. First, I explain the rule; that is, what spirit possession generally speaking is thought to be; in which religions it is found; how it has been studied; and which theories have been developed to better understand and explain certain aspects of it. In parts two and three, I analyse two spirit possession rituals as they were practised in two very different African indigenous religions in regions far apart on the continent of Africa, with vastly different ecologies, economies, demography and social structures, and with cultures that were very unlike. In part two, I first present the context – geographical, historical, social, and especially religious –, of the first subject of study, the Ju/’hoan curing dances. Then I investigate these dances as they were practised in the Kalahari semi-desert in Southern Africa in the 1950s and 1960s. I follow the same order in part three for my second subject of study: the spirit possession event in which ‘Captain’ Rattray, Government Anthropolgist of the Gold Coast Crown Colony (now Ghana), took part on 5 May 1922 at Tanoboase, a village just above the forested region of West Africa. In part four, I compare these two spirit possession rituals and indicate in which important respects they differ from each other and deviate from the general rule. I also discuss to what extant theories of spirit possession enable us to understand these rituals better. In the conclusion, I emphasise that certain concepts basic to Western religion and much used in the Science of Religions, are misleading in the study of African indigenous religions.

 

Ogottegottegot

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
in Prana 116 (december 1999/januari 2000): 57-60

Jan G. Platvoet 2000, “Ogottegottegottegot”, in Prana: Tijdschrift voor spirutaliteit en randgebieden der wetenschappen no. 116 (december 1999/januari 2000): 57-60

 

Review of Jacques Waardenburg, Classical Approaches to the Study of Religions: Aims, Methods, and Theories of Research; Introduction and Anthology; with a new Preface

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
in Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift 54, 1 (2000): 65-66

Jan G. Platvoet 2000, review of Jacques Waardenburg (comp.) 1999 [second edition; first edition 1973], Classical Approaches to the Study of Religion: Aims, Methods, and Theories of Research; Introduction and Anthology; with a new Preface. (= Religion and Reason, 3; New York/Berlin, Walter de Gruyter), in Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift 54, 1 (2000): 65-66

Review of Gerrie ter Haar 1998, Halfway to Paradise: African Christians in Europe (Cardiff: Cardiff Academic Press)

Journal PaperReview
Jan G. Platvoet
in Numen 47, 1 (2000): 113-115

Jan G. Platvoet 2000, review of Gerrie ter Haar 1998, Halfway to Paradise: African Christians in Europe (Cardiff: Cardiff Academic Press), in Numen: International Journal for the History of Religions 47, 1: 113-115

Is Africa Incurably Religious?: p’Bitek versus Mbiti

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet, Henk van Rinsum
in SAGA-Bulletin no. 2 (October 2001): 1-2

Jan Platvoet & Henk van Rinsum 2001, “Is Africa incurably religious?: Okot p’Bitek versus John Samuel Mbiti, in SAGA Bulletin [IIMO, Utrecht University] no. 2 (October 2001): 1-2

Enslaving Definitions: A Review

Journal PaperReview
Jan G. Platvoet
in AASR-Newsletter 17 (May 2002): 33-39

Jan G. Platvoet 2002, “Enslaving Definitions: A Review” [review of Henk J. van Rinsum 2001, Slaves of Definition: In Quest of the Unbeliever and the Ignoramus. Maastricht (The Netherlands): Shaker Publications], in AASR-Newsleter 17 (May 2002): 33-39

In de mist van “magie”: Over de tyrannie van een dichotomie (In the Mists of ‘Magic’: On the Tyranny of a Dichotomy)

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
in NGG-Nieuwsbrief 2003, 2: 10-20

Mij is gevraagd deze afsluitende bespreking met een stellingname te openen. De stelling die ik wil voorleggen, is de volgende. Het centrale probleem van deze twee studiedagen is m.i. niet de begrippen ‘magie’ en ‘hekserij’, maar de notie ‘godsdienst’, c.q. ‘religie’. Ik ontken niet dat er aan de termen ‘magie’ en ‘hekserij’ vele problemen kleven, zowel als emic voorstellingen en handelingen van gelovigen zelf, als ook als etic begrippen die wij moderne, westerse wetenschappers hanteren om bepaalde voorstellingen en handelingen mee te benoemen en te onderzoeken. Uit de rest van mijn verhaal zal blijken dat ik die problemen in het bijzonder op dat laatste vlak zie opdoemen, dat van onze wetenschappelijke concepten, en veel minder op het eerste vlak van wat de gelovigen geloven en doen. Het fundamentelere probleem is m.i. echter het modern-westers wetenschappelijk
begrip ‘religie’, zoals wij dat als zoeklicht hanteren om het verschijnsel ‘godsdienst’
te vinden,1 en dat ons als instrument dient om ‘godsdiensten’ te benoemen, af te palen, te beschrijven, te interpreteren, en om er pogingen tot verklaring van hen mee te ondernemen en theorievorming over hen te ontwikkelen.

Is Africa Incurably Religious?: Confessing and Contesting an Invention [of Tradition]

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet, Henk J. van Rinsum
in Exchange: Journal of Missiological and Ecumenical Research 32, 2: 123-153
Okot p’Bitek was the first African scholar of religions to challenge the myth that Africa is incurably religious. He battled it in the sixties and early seventies. Until recently, however, he was the only African scholar to oppose it, for other African scholars of religions did not question it. So, the myth grew ever more powerful. Only lately, a few other dissenting voices have begun to be heard. The myth, its explanation, p’Bitek’s opposition to it, and recent evidence against it are examined in this article.

Merchants, Missionaries, & Academics on African Religions, 1594-2000: The Earliest Dutch Contributions

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Frieder Ludwig & Afe Adogame (eds.), European Traditions in the Study of the Religions of Africa. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, (ISBN 3-447-05002-0), pp.75-96
This article is mainly a programmatic one. It surveys three kinds of Dutch contributions to the History of the Religions of Africa: mercantile, missionary, and academic. Each was made in a different period and context, under different cultural constraints, at the service of different interests, and, therefore, with different aims, and with the use of different strategies in the perception, description, analysis and evaluation of African religions. Each also witnessed its own context-bound dynamics in their perception, description, analysis and evaluation. Space and time allow that I deal in some depth only with the earliest publications in each of these three kinds of Dutch contributions to the study of the religions of Africa. Apart from these earliest publications, the three kinds are surveyed in very general terms only. At a later time, I hope to deal with them in greater detail and for the full length of the period during which they produced contributions to the history of the religions of Africa. The generalities presented in this article about these three kinds are, therefore, provisional only. They need to be substantiated by those later, fuller studies.

Apologies Again

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
AASR Bulletin 24 (November 2005): 53-54

Jan G. Platvoet 2005, “Apologies Again!”, in AASR Bulletin 24 (November 2005): 53-54

GBT-NS, Akwaab'oo!

Journal PaperReview
Jan G. Platvoet
AASR Bulletin, 26 (November 2006): 39-44

Jan G. Platvoet 2006, “GBT-NS, Akwaab’oo!”, in AASR Bulletin 26 (November 2006): 39-44

On Boundary Hopping and “Primitivism”: Reply to Graham Harvey

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
AASR Bulletin 25 (May 2006): 47-50

Jan G. Platvoet 2006, On Boundary Hopping & ‘Primitivism’; Reply to Graham Harvey, in AASR Bulletin 25 (May 2006): 45-48

Religion's Ambiguity: Barrier or Bridge to Peace?

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
AASR Bulletin 26 (November 2006): 45-50

This volume is the outcome of a conference in May 2001 at the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague, The Netherlands, organised by Gerrie ter Haar shortly after she had been appointed at ISS as Professor of Religion, Social Change and Human Rights. Apart from the Preface, Notes on the contributors, the unified bibliography and an index, the volume has four parts: ‘Religion, Conflict and Peace’ (3-118), ‘Religious Perspectives on Conflict and Peace’ (119-200), ‘Visions for Peace’ (201-295), and ‘Documentary Sources on Religion, Violence and Peace’ (297-369).

Ritual: Religious and Secular

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Jens Kreinath, Jan Snoek & Michael Stausberg (eds.), 2006, Theorising Rituals: Issues, Topics, Approaches, Concepts. Leiden, etc.: Brill, 161-205

‘Ritual’ has by now established a virtual monopoly, terminological, conceptual and theoretical, for itself in the semantic field of terms denoting not only actions by means of which believers presume that they communicate with meta-empirical realms and beings, but also in clusters designating secular modes of expressive behaviour, social as well as solitary. The term rules supreme now, not only in scholarly research, but also in ordinary language, as witness two random quotes from the Dutch daily paper Trouw of 20.09.- 2003. One refers to “the rituals and etiquette of [Parliament]”, i.e. a secular social interaction;2 the other to “the immensely satisfying ritual of laying a table”, i.e. a form of solitary stylised behaviour.3 Darwin’s survival of the fittest and elimination of the weak may, therefore, be well applied also to ritual for having so successfully eliminated its semantic competitors.

Ethnogenesis as an Arena: Were the Lemba Black Jews?

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Ghana Bulletin of Theology NS 2 (July 2007): 105-134

Introduction

In mid-July 2006, a colleague in the Department for the Study of Religions in the University of Ghana informed me that the Department was resuscitating The Ghana Bulletin of Theology. He asked me to contribute, at a week’s notice, a one-page review of a book of my own choice. So, I looked at the books on my desk, spotted Magdel Le Roux’s on the Lemba, and decided that her book dealt with a matter of interest to scholars of the religions of Africa, and that I might try to supply the requested review in a week, or at most in a fortnight. The one or two page review I planned has, however, meanwhile grown into a review article, because the more closely I studied the book, the more I began to doubt whether, despite numerous qualifications, she is correct in presuming that the Lemba were indeed ‘black Jews’ with a past reaching back into pre-exilic Israel. An alternative explanation of the data Le Roux provides seemed required. This article is an attempt at formulating one.

Towards Job Descriptions of the AASR Executive

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
AASR Bulletin 27+28 (May/November 2007): 18-32

An AASR-officer indicated in mid-2004 that he found his job ‘amorphous’.1 He had received no guidelines as to what precisely he was expected to achieve for the AASR. He felt ‘beleaguered by lack of clarity of the job’s responsibilities’ and was unsure what he should do. Another felt ‘constrained [… by] the informal nature of our association’, and also ‘not clear what [she] ought to be doing’, and ‘hard put to explain, particularly to potential new members what exactly the association is about and what the benefits of belonging to this association are beyond receiving the newsletter’. The members of the AASR-Nominations Committee 2005-2010, of which I was asked to serve as convener, likewise felt a need for articulating what each AASR office entailed when they reflected on whom they might best nominate for the several AASR offices in the next quinquennial period 2005-2010. They felt that their efforts at this articulation might also assist the officers to move beyond a mere intuition of what their posts entail, and thereby to serve the AASR more efficiently.

Is Africa Incurably Religious?, III: A Reply to a Rhetorical Response

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet & Henk van Rinsum
Exchange 37, 2: 156-173

We reply in this article to Kehinde Olabimtan’s polemical response to our article, ‘Is Africa Incurably Religious?: Confessing and Contesting an Invention’ [of Tradition], both published in this journal in 2003. We fi rst review the setting of this exchange: the theological character of the journal Exchange, and then point to Olabimtan’s strategy of polemically presenting our analysis in the terms of the old ‘war’ between atheist and religious scholarship on religions. Having carefully summarised the ‘weapons’ he used in his ‘counter-attack’ on our analysis, we dispassionately respond to them by pointing out fi rst that our analysis was not inspired by an atheist approach to religions, but by methodological agnosticism, and then reply to Olabimtan’s other misrepresentations of us and of p’Bitek. We conclude by pointing to the ‘bridges’ between his and our approaches, which Olabimtan did not explode.

Breaking the Chains of Silence and Shame

ConferenceJournal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
AASR Bulletin 29 & 30 (November 2008 / May 2009): 33-40

This moving book tells the real life stories of 28 men and women in Africa who live, or lived, with HIV or AIDS,42 one for each of the 28 millions Africans that according to UNAIDS were infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in 2006.43 In addition, it has an introduction (1- 17) and an epilogue (347-352). In the latter, Nolen relates briefly how the 28 she had interviewed since 1997 were doing in 2006 at the time the book went into production: four had died, three she could not reach; of the remaining 21, only one was in poor health. The others were in good health, thanks to the ARVs (antiretroviral drugs), and most were active in movements that try to break the chains of silence and shame that keep Sub-Saharan Africa in the grip of this pandemic which had already killed 22 million Africans by 2006. Infection rates had begun to decline by then, in part due to ARV-treatment, in part because death had already wiped out those most likely to spread the virus. Death rates, however, had not yet declined, because only one in four of those in need of treatment were as yet on ARVs (350). And she argues that it is unlikely that the G8 goal of universal access to ARVs by 2010 (253) will be reached, for one reason because of corruption and inefficiency, for another because only half of the funds needed to fight HIV/AIDS effectively is available (350-352).

Theologie als dubbelspel: Over de verscheidenheid en dynamiek van theologie en godsdienstwetenschap

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift 63, 3: 221-236

The complex and shifting relationships between Dutch academic theology and godsdienstwetenschap (the neutral study of religions) are examined in this article from the perspective of science of religions. It has four parts. In the first section, the expanding fields of study and increase in multidisciplinarity of theology and science of religions are sketched, and the growing overlap between them, causing sizable parts of academic theology to become ‘de-theologised’. The relationship between theology and religion is next examined from the perspective of the history of religions. It shows that theology is as much a liability as it is an asset to religions. In the final two sections, the current plurality of theology and science of religions is sketched and the shifting relations between their various kinds.

Dead Wood: A Proposed Revision of the AASR Constitution

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
AASR Bulletin 32 (May 2010): 6-9

Why revise the AASR Constitution? The present AASR Constitution was drafted in 1994 as part of the process of applying for affiliation to the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR). Though there is no record in AASR Newsletter 4 (November 1995) that the AASR Constitution was actually formally put before the first AASR General Meeting in Mexico City on August 6, 1995 for discussion and decision, we may surmise that it was formally adopted then and so began to serve as AASR Constitution in 1995. Moreover, it was published in AASR Newsletter 5 (April 1996), pp. 10-12. It has since also been posted on the AASR website at http://www.a-asr.org/index.php?id=17.   The 1995 constitution seems to have sat quietly in these two places for the past fifteen years without being consulted much in order to find out how it should govern AASR affairs, as is clear from the many discrepancies between the stipulations of current the AASR Constitution and AASR praxis. Moreover, nobody seems to have noticed the gap between rule and praxis, or if they noticed it, to have been bothered by it. AASR Constitution 1995 actually seems a document with much ‘dead wood’

Godsdienst en geweld in Afrika

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
Onze Krant: Contactblad Sociëteit voor Afrikaanse Missiën 48, nr. 154 (september 2011): 8-11

Jan G. Platvoet 2001, ‘Godsdienst en geweld in Afrika’, in Onze Krant: Contactblad Sociëteit voor Afrikaanse Missiën 48, nr. 154 (september 2011): 8-11

Oorlog en godsdienst in Afrika Velen, en vooral zij die het beste voor hebben met Afrika, worden mismoedig van de stroom berichten over oorlogen in Afrika, vooral als die godsdienstig geïnspireerd zijn, zoals recentelijk in de Ivoorkust en Nigeria, die tussen christenen in het zuiden en moslims in het noorden. Een ander voorbeeld is Soedan. Daar heeft op 1 juli 2011 het christelijk- en inheems-gelovige zuiden zich als Zuid-Soedan afgescheiden van het moslimse noorden na een halve eeuw burgeroorlog. Eerst was er de Anyanya opstand, van 1955 tot 1972. Die kostte in het zuiden aan een half miljoen mensen het leven. Daarna, toen het noorden in 1983 de sharia invoerde, brak een tweede opstand uit die tot 2002 duurde. Die eiste maar liefst twee miljoen levens en verdreef vier miljoen mensen van huis en haard, weer allemaal in het zuiden. Na 1945 heeft geen oorlog meer dood en ontreddering gebracht dan deze oorlog tussen moslims en christenen (en gelovigen van inheemse godsdiensten) om het zuiden van Soedan en zijn olie-rijkdom.

2012, ‘Nyame ne Aberewa: Towards a History of Akan Notions of God’

Journal Paper
Jan G. Platvoet
in Ghana Bulletin of Theology N.S. 4 (December 2012): 41-68

Jan G. Platvoet 2012, ‘Nyame ne Aberewa: Towards a History of Akan Notions of God’, in Ghana Bulletin of Theology N.S. 4 (December 2012): 41-68