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HTS Theological Studies

Print version ISSN 0259-9422

Abstract

APOSTOLIDES, Anastasia  and  DREYER, Yolanda. The Greek evil eye, African witchcraft, and Western ethnocentrism. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2008, vol.64, n.2, pp. 1021-1042. ISSN 0259-9422.

The aim of this study is to illustrate the ethnocentrism of Western thought by projecting its own science-oriented culture onto cultures with different beliefs. A comparative study between African witchcraft and the Greek phenomenon of the evil eye will be done to investigate whether similar reasons can be given for their existence today. The article reflects on the view that has been prevalent since the Enlightenment, namely that belief in the supernatural is "primitive" and has no place in a world where most things can be explained or solved scientifically. Against this background, contemporary Western perspectives on evil are explained and compared with those of the Greek Orthodox worldview, which shows similarities with New Testament textual evidence. This correlation is demonstrated by an anthropological perspective on the phenomenon of the evil eye as seen from a social, cultural and ecological point of view. These insights are compared with the belief in witchcraft, demonic possession and exorcism within African tradition and spirituality.

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