Rethinking Prayer Mountains as Sacred Spaces in Contemporary Ghanaian Christianity

Show simple item record Okyere, P.K. 2019-05-30T13:10:09Z 2019-05-30T13:10:09Z 2018-07
dc.description PhD. en_US
dc.description.abstract Notwithstanding the bourgeoning compendium of literature on Prayer Mountains (PMs), scholarly discourse on them in contemporary African and Ghanaian Christianity seems limited only to their role in enhancing pilgrims’ spirituality. Using Atwea Boↄ, Ͻboↄ Tabiri, Abasua Prayer Mountain (APM) and Nkawkaw Mountain Olive Prayer Camp (NMOPC) in Ghana as contextual examples, this study argues that scholarly focus on PMs as sacred spaces should not be limited only to the conventional thinking of them as sites of transcendent spiritual experiences, encounters with God or appearances by God. Rather, there are other aspects of PMs considered to be of academic importance with social policy implications, but which seem to have fallen out of scholars’ grasp. Therefore, the study generally focuses on rethinking PMs as sacred spaces in contemporary Ghanaian Christianity. Specifically, the work attempts to examine the continuity of Christians’ pilgrimage to PMs in Akan primal religious context. Also, it explores the historical narratives of the evolution of PMs in Ghanaian Christianity. Besides, it investigates how Pentecostal / Charismatic Christianity promotes the appropriation of PMs as sacred spaces in Ghanaian Christianity. Last but not least, the study examines the place of PMs in contemporary Ghanaian development discourse. The research is theoretically anchored on Clifford Geertz’s social-anthropological model. Methodologically, it is mainly a qualitative study. A diverse approach, including historical, theological and phenomenological methods, was employed to guide the collection and analysis of relevant field data. It has been observed that in Ghana, pilgrimage to sacred mountains in Akan primal religion appears to be a precursor of Christians’ religious pilgrimage to PMs. The quest for identity construction is a paramount motivation underlying pilgrimage to sacred mountains among the adherents of the two religions. Inspite of the continuity of the Christian phenomenon of PMs in Akan primal religion, the study underscores some discontinuities. Moreover, the historical narratives of the evolution of PMs in Ghanaian Christianity indicate that PMs as sacred spaces hardly evolve in a vacuum. They gradually emerge and ultimately develop into Christian sacred sites through the interplay of a diversity of religio-cultural, socio-economic and political forces. The study also reinforces Pentecostalism as a modern religious phenomenon that has had a great influence on global Christianity, including Christians’ pilgrimage to PMs. The prevalence of imprecatory prayer rituals on the PMs, akin to some aspects of traditional Akan religious practices, and the seeming endless theological contestations about those rituals underscore their centrality and sensitive nature in Christian theology. Furthermore, the study examines the interface between religion and development, with special focus on the place and relevance of PMs in contemporary Ghanaian development discourse. In conclusion, the research presents two diametrically opposed standpoints with respect to the sustainability of the PM phenomenon and its attendant pilgrimage attraction in Ghanaian Christianity. Some of the findings suggest that the phenomenon is sustainable, while other findings suggest otherwise. A rethinking of the conventional understanding of PMs and the debate on the sustainability of PMs are possible markers of the variability of the PM phenomenon in contemporary Ghanaian Christianity. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher University of Ghana en_US
dc.subject Prayer en_US
dc.subject Sacred Spaces en_US
dc.subject Christianity en_US
dc.title Rethinking Prayer Mountains as Sacred Spaces in Contemporary Ghanaian Christianity en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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