By MARY ANN CLARK
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Additional resources for Where Men Are Wives and Mothers Rule: Santeria Ritual Practices and Their Gender Implications
9–10). In Mark Taylor’s Critical Terms for Religious Studies (1998), Daniel Boyarin approaches the subject of gender in the study of religion not through the lens of feminist theory but by exploring the ways in which the category “woman” has been explicated in two religious traditions. Focusing on the creation of humanity in the book of Genesis, he looks at the way early Christian and rabbinic thinkers used this text to formulate their ideas of personhood, gender, and religious and cultural ideals.
I do not pretend to present the deﬁnitive or ﬁnal analysis of these Orisha concepts; rather, what I am presenting is a preliminary analysis of Orisha philosophy. My hope is to provide a foundation upon which other scholars can build. In the following pages I will begin an explication of what I think are among the most essential terms of Santería religious belief: destiny and divination, sacriﬁce, possession, and witchcraft. I will begin my discussion of Orisha philosophical issues, however, with an analysis of the gender anomalies embedded in Santería, because my analysis suggests that a unique understanding of gender and gender roles underlies much of Santería beliefs and practices.
This idea of worship being a kind of labor appears to have a long history among the Yoruba. ” This seems to be based on the usage he found in the missionary record and is consistent with contemporary usage. The term “s$e òrìs$à,” which means “to make, do, or work the Orisha,” is still used by Yoruba-speaking people in Nigeria to refer to the activities of Orisha worshippers. This emphasis on praxis rather than doxis has several implications for the development of Santería theology. First of all, since santeros are more interested in the work of the Orisha, they tend to emphasize ritual correctness rather than correct belief.