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Pentecostalism, Prosperity, and Popular Cinema in Ghana

  • Birgit Meyer
Part of the Religion/Culture/Critique book series (RCCR)

Abstract

Heaven, according to a popular painting by an anonymous Ghanaian artist, is a big city up in the sky, with modern skyscrapers and office towers, surrounded by trees and flowers. In the painting Judgement Day, Jesus arrives in the blue sky and has his angel select the good from the bad. There is a signpost indicating that heaven is up the stairs, whereas hell and the world are on the ground floor, so to speak. Those dressed in white climb up, whereas those dressed in black—a number of youngsters and a man wearing a Fez—are bound to end up in hellfire guarded by a monster that obviously represents the devil. The picture, of course, refers to passages in the book of Revelation and is reminiscent of the depiction of Jerusalem as the heavenly city in popular Protestant imagination and literature, which was introduced to Africa by Pietist missions in the course of the nineteenth century (e.g., John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and the well-known lithograph of the Broad and the Narrow Path1). What is new, and interesting in this image, however, is heaven’s distinctive high modernity, with skyscrapers featured as icons of pride and emblems of prosperity.

Keywords

Public Sphere Evil Spirit Public Culture Popular Cinema Pentecostal Church 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Birgit Meyer, Translating the Devil: Religion and Modernity Among the Ewe in Ghana (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1999), 31ff.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Colin Campbell, The Romantic Ethic and the Spirit of Modern Consumerism (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1987).Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    See also Ruth Fratani-Marshall, “Prospérité miraculeuse: Les pasteurs pentecötistes et l’argent de Dieu au Nigeria,” Politique Africaine 82 (2001): 24–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Birgit Meyer, “Christian Mind and Worldly Matters: Religion and Materiality in Nineteenth-Century Gold Coast,” Journal of Material Culture 2.3 (1997): 311–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Peter Van der Veer, Conversion to Modernities: The Globalization of Christianity (New York: Routledge, 1996); Meyer, Translating the Devil 1–14.Google Scholar
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    See Lawrence R. Moore, Selling God: American Religion in the Marketplace of Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994).Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© S. Brent Plate 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Birgit Meyer

There are no affiliations available

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