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
D. Zizwe Poe
The term incarnation descends from a Latin action word, incarn , which literally means “embody in flesh.” The term figuratively employs flesh as a manifestation of life and is therefore symbolic surrogation. Incarn , when employed in the resultant term, incarnation , more accurately means “to bring to life.” The manifestation of this concept is widespread in Africa, and documented proof of its anteriority to its use in Latin is resident in the Mdw Ntr (called hieroglyphics by the Greeks) of the Pyramid and Coffin Texts and in the many hieratic scrolls occupying museums throughout the world. In African religion, there are several varieties of incarnation that share some basic similarities: Through incarnation, spiritual forces from ancestors through supreme deities can potentially enter a human being temporarily or for a lifetime. Deities and ancestors are allowed to enter and be active in the visible part of the world and return ...