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Abstract

Should the charismatic theology of anointing be considered a democratizing influence in Africa or a reiteration of mediatorial forms of power? Th is article seeks to answer this question by analyzing African traditional religious power structures in comparison to modern African theologies and practices of Pentecostal anointing. Th is comparison, however, highlights the problem of drawing direct lines from Africa’s past to its present; Pentecostal rupture from a traditional past is paradoxically both a break from and connection to pre-colonial conceptions of the self and community. Ultimately, this article argues that while both traditional religions and modern Pentecostal anointing favor mediatorial structures of power, the Pentecostal proclivity for rupture and adherence to the biblical tradition leave open the continual possibility for democratization in African Pentecostalism.

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