“City of 201 Gods” a Book by Jacob Olupona Report

Olupona explores the transforming face of the city through a detailed account of the field research that he carried out (251). The author begins by noting that the orisa devotees had been displaced by evangelical Christians, and as a result, Okunade opted to renounce his sacred status. A radical religious change may definitely take place if such a personality can denounce his sacred status. As a matter of fact, most of the Yoruba city-states may be completely transformed. For a long time, the sacred King had adhered to the Yoruba religious traditions, and any change in the conventional belief systems would significantly impact most of the states (Olupona 251).

The author also discusses and compares the history of religion, especially with a clear focus on the history of Yoruba traditional religions. The religious traditions practiced by the Yoruba community in Nigeria are largely embedded in traditional cultural practices. Therefore, it may sometimes be cumbersome to distinguish between the actual religious practices and cultural values. In addition, there are a number of theological, historical, and social interpretations that can be derived from the Yoruba religious traditions (Olupona 257).

Rich traditional and religious practices of the Yoruba community can be observed throughout the assigned pages. For instance, elaborate traditional Yoruba attire has to be won by a Qba King when speaking to the gods for direction and guidance.

The traditional orisa dress is also an important cultural dress that is worn during specific occasions, such as annual religious celebrations. In one of the religious ceremonies, the King speaks with the gods and begs for peace for the community. Most of the nativity dramas that accompany such ceremonies mark theatrical merger between Christian values and the indigenous orisa religion.

The strong influence of Christianity among the native Yoruba religious practices can be seen when Qoni demonstrates signs of changing his perspectives after going through an interview with the author. When he encountered the thugs, it was a clear indication for him that the traditional gods could not offer the full protection that he deserved. From the readings, it is also evident that sacred kingship managed to flourish for a long time largely due to a lack of direct and bitter confrontation from the missionary movements. Even the native religions never opposed the institution of the sacred kingship.

The emergence of the new Christian movements has witnessed a radical clash between modern and ancient religions bearing in mind that Qoni’s sacred authority is the main target. In addition, the Ile-life civil religion is equally not safe because it holds a contrary view to Christian and Islamic teachings (Olupona 266).

From the above summaries, it can be visualized that the emergence of modern radicalized religious practices has led to a serious clash with traditional religious values that have been practiced for a very long time (Olupona 267). In the case of the Yoruba community, Christianity seems to be a major influence that even the King is ready to weigh the possibilities of transforming to a new religious belief system (Olupona 255). Needless to say, religion is a source of hope and inspiration for the community, irrespective of the belief systems in place.

Finally, it is also worth to mention that most of the religious beliefs that were valued by the indigenous Yoruba community had strong inclinations to cultural practices. In any case, it may not be an easy task to distinguish between cultural practices and religious values when exploring the aspect of traditional religion in any community.

Works Cited

Olupona, Jacob. City of 201 Gods: Ilé-Ifè in Time, Space, and the Imagination. New York: University of California Press, 2011. Print.

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