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|Title: ||Religious men and literacy in Berti society|
|Authors: ||Eltom, Abdullahi Osman|
|Supervisors: ||Holy, Ladislav|
|Issue Date: ||1984|
|Abstract: ||The thesis examines the use of traditional literacy promulgated
by the Koranic schools among the Berti in the Northern Darfur
Province of the Republic of the Sudan. This literacy is restricted
both in the scope of its use as well as in its social distribution,
which remains limited to religious specialists - fakis. Instead of
leading to a change in the traditional mode of thought, Berti
literacy contributes considerably to maintaining the homeostatic
tendency supposedly characteristic of oral societies.
Literacy plays an important role in the Berti religious life.
The words of God contained in the Koran and other books widely used
by the fakis are considered to be sacred, and an important aspect of
Berti religion is their internalisation in the form of memorisation,
drinking of erasure and the retaining of amulets (hijbat). The
repetition of sacred words is used as a means of invoking God in
communal rituals and the rites of passage. Literacy underlies book
divination practised by the fakis and its literate origin is the
ultimate sanction of sand divination which is primarily practised by
the illiterate Berti.
In their use of the sacred words in healing, divination,
communal rituals, rites of passage and the preparation of amulets
and erasure, Berti fakis impose their own meaning on the Koranic
text which differs considerably from its theological meaning.
The thesis includes translation and analysis of over 50
original texts pertaining to erasure writing, amulets, book
divination and communal rituals. Photocopies of 25 original amulets
are presented in the thesis and the majority of them are translated
and commented upon.|
|Publisher: ||University of St Andrews|
|Appears in Collections:||Social Anthropology Theses|
Middle Eastern Studies Theses
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