Soyinka on Religion

I’m pleased to announce my newly-published article on Wole Soyinka

“‘Shipwreck of Faith: The Religious Vision and Ideas of Wole Soyinka” (Toronto School of Theology, 2016)

Abstract

“This article investigates the religious vision and ideas of Wole Soyinka in selected non-fiction writings. While African spirituality is deployed as a literary trope in Soyinka’s creative works and dramatic masterpieces such as Death and the King’s Horseman and A Dance of the Forests, scholars have given scarce attention to his engagement with religion in his non-fiction productions. To highlight that engagement, first, this article proposes the notions of radical skepticism and religious inclusivism as symbolic markers to describe Soyinka’s perspective on religion and his shipwreck of faith. His witness of religious violence and fanaticism in his home country of Nigeria and the host countries outside of his native land had shaped his religious experience and altered his religious vision. To call Wole Soyinka a radical agnostic and religious inclusivist in the humanist tradition is to confront the uneasiness and ambivalence of religion that had marked both his adolescent and adult life. Second, it argues that Soyinka’s abandonment of his Anglican faith, the “imported religion” of his childhood and Nigerian parents, was a consequence of his re-evaluation of the merits and liberalism of his ancestral faith: the Yoruba religious tradition and spirituality. Third, it contends that Soyinka rejected the Christian faith because of a theological crisis he encountered both as a teenager in Ake (his hometown) and as a student at the University College in Ibadan. The article resituates Soyinka’s religious sensibility not in the tradition of the Abrahamic religions but within the religious world view and cultural framework of African indigenous faiths and spirituality. Finally, it presents Wole Soyinka as a religious critic and radical theistic humanist.”

 

Keywords:Yoruba religion, religious fanaticism, religious inclusivism, African humanism, African spirituality

http://www.utpjournals.press/doi/10.3138/tjt.3845

 

 

 

 

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My New Book Has Arrived!

My new book has arrived today. It is so good to finally hold it in my hands.

Radical Humanism and Generous Tolerance: Soyinka on Religion and Human Solidarity (2016) by Celucien L. Joseph

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My new book:Radical Humanism and Generous Tolerance: Soyinka on Religion and Human Solidarity

Dear Friends and Faithful Readers: I’m pleased to announce the publication of my new book, Radical Humanism and Generous Tolerance: Soyinka on Religion and Human Solidarity

Project Summary

Radical Humanism and Generous Tolerance: Soyinka on Religion and Human Solidarity (Hope Outreach Productions, 2016) Authored by Celucien L Joseph, PhD

List Price: $19.99
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
160 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1523393206
ISBN-10: 1523393203
BISAC: Religion / Comparative Religion

Book Summary

Radical Humanism and Generous Tolerance articulates the religious ideas and vision of Wole Soyinka in his non-fiction writings. It also analyzes Soyinka’s response to religious violence, terror, and the fear of religious imperialism. The book suggests the theoretical notions of radical humanism and generous tolerance best summarize Soyinka’s religious ideals and religious piety.

In response to religious violence and fanaticism in the world, Soyinka turns to the ethics and values of humanism as a better alternative to religious exclusivism and claims of absolute truths, and as a way to promote global peace, planetary love, and cultivate interreligious dialogue and understanding. Soyinka’s radical humanism is grounded in the religious ethos and sensibility, and the moral vision of the Yoruba people, as well as in the Western theistic Humanist tradition and secularism.

Through a close reading of Soyinka’s religious works, the book argues that African traditional religions could be used as a catalyst to promote religious tolerance and human solidarity, and that they may also contribute to the preservation of life, and the fostering of an ethics of care and relationality. Soyinka brings in conversation Western Humanist tradition and African indigenous Humanist tradition for the sake of the world, for the sake of global shalom, and for the sake of human flourishing.

Celucien L. Joseph, PhD (University of Texas at Dallas) is an Assistant Professor of English at Indian River State College.

The book can be purchased on amazon by clicking on the link below:

Radical Humanism and Generous Tolerance: Soyinka on Religion and Human Solidarity