RELIGIONS OF THE OPPRESSED by V. Lanternari

RELIGIONS OF THE OPPRESSED

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Compiled chiefly from other books, this book on messianic cults in primitive societies is dry, fact-filled, with few generalizations. It is a convenient summary rather than a popular or philosophical work. Nevertheless the material is varied and the implications often fascinating. The messianic cults have arisen is most primitive cultures as an attempt to deal with the destructive intrusion of Western civilization. And their hope of salvation (whether based on militant explusion or on passive acceptance) is generally expressed in religions that are odd mixtures of both Christian and pagan traditions. The book deals with sects and prophets, from roughly the turn of the century to the present, in Africa, America, Central and South America, Melanesia, Polynesia, Asia and Indochina. There are long sections on the Peyote ritual, Cargo cults, etc., and some reference to local politics. The variety and basic similarity of these religious reactions to technology is highly interesting and has many curious parallels both with early Christianity and with the often irrational responses of more ""civilized"" people toward an encroaching mechanized world. A useful compilation of unusual material for a very special audience.

Publisher: Knopf