Black Religion and the Imagination of Matter in the Atlantic by James A. Noel (auth.)

By James A. Noel (auth.)

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Cavazzi did note that when preparing to make such a charm and give it efficacy, the priest would first sacrifice to the soul of the first person to make the charm. Apparently the soul of this “inventor of the art” provided the otherworldly power that made it possible for the entity to be captured. 31 Christianity was assimilated through this cultural notion. Nkisi became a term that was applied to anything that was sacred. The church became the house of nkisi, the bible was the book of nkisi, the priest the nganga (religious expert) of nkisi.

Thus, must we regard Kimpa’s movement as a religious one that entailed a new way of imagining matter to address the disruptions in the exchange mechanisms brought about by the Portuguese presence. As discussed in the previous chapter, my point 34 Black Religion and the Imagination of Matter is that religion in Africa was already undergoing very rapid changes resulting from contact and exchange with Europeans. From the sixteenth century onwards there can be said to have been a single religion in which, at least among the nobles, features of Christianity and features of the old religion had merged.

Pope Innocent VIII who needed Ferdinand’s help in pursuing the church’s ambitions in Italy extended royal patronage to Spain over churches established in Grenada in a papal bull of December 13, 1486. This was monumental in that nothing of this nature existed on the European continent outside of Grenada and set the precedent and model for any churches that were to be established in the New World. 4 Thus, this and similar papal bulls must be understood to have had ramifications not only pertaining to political control of territories in the Americas but also to ecclesiastical control of church appointments in Spain as well as the Americas.

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