Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Although regarded by some people as unscientific, illogical, irrational, and therefore a superstitious and false cognitive process, divination remains a reliable source of knowledge for millions of people in almost all the religions known to humankind. In all nations and cultures, from prehistoric time to our digital age, people of all types of education and religious convictions seek the wisdom of divination by consulting, at night or in broad daylight, people known as diviners, clairvoyants, shamans, psychics, mediums, or prophets. Despite a long-standing war waged by Christianity and Islam against “idolatry” and divination, today some Christians and Muslims still consult traditional diviners in Africa and elsewhere. Far from being a meaningless hocus-pocus wrapped in illusory paraphernalia, divination plays a pivotal role in African spirituality and its underlying epistemology. Throughout the ages, people encounter in life questions and existential problems for which ordinary knowledge and ordinary prayers remain insufficient. In such ...