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How do missiologists describe the cosmologies of those that Christianity encounters around the world? Our descriptions often end up filtered through our own Western religious categories. Furthermore, indigenous Christians adopt these Western religious categories. This presents the problem of local Christianities, described by Kwame Bediako as those that “have not known how to relate to their traditional culture in terms other than those of denunciation or of separateness.” Kevin Lines’s phenomenological study of local religious specialists in Turkana, Kenya, not only challenges our Western categories by revealing a more authentic complexity of the issues for local Christians and Western missionaries, but also provides a model for continued use of phenomenology as a valued research method in larger missiological studies. Additionally, this study points to the ways that local Christians and traditional religious practitioners interpret Western missionaries through local religious categories. Clearly, missionaries, missiologists, anthropologists, and religious studies scholars need to do a much more careful job of studying and describing the contextually specific phenomena of traditional religious specialists before relying on meta-categories that come out of our Western theology or older overly simplified ethnographies. The research from this current study of Turkana religious specialists begins that process in the Turkana context and offers a model for future studies in contexts where traditional religion and Christianity intersect.
The purpose of this book is to move towards a clearer understanding of the history of prophets within the region of East Africa, and to give an analytical account of the different forms prophecy has taken in different places.

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