Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Reader

John Bolt

Second Reader

John W. Cooper

Third Reader

Joel A. Carpenter

Fourth Reader

Tite Tiénou


There are people who think everything in life is an accident. Then, there are the Yorùbá of Southwestern Nigeria who believe that life outcomes are prearranged by the Supreme Being but may also be altered, for better or for worse, by the spirit beings in the universe. Yorùbá Christians, like their non-Christian kin, believe that many experiences in life are manifestations of the activities of the superhuman spirit beings in the community. While the good spirits (such as ancestors and angels) ordinarily have positive impacts on society, the evil spirits (such as witches, wizards, and demons) often work in collaboration with one another to thwart human aspirations and life goals. This dissertation examines the Yorùbá Christian notion of human identity within the framework of traditional Yorùbá perception of the world as a spiritual space where the living and the dead--human and non-human beings--commingle and interact in ways that have dire consequences on individual and communal well-being. Whereas Yorùbá Initiated Churches (YIC) experience numerical growth by promoting key anthropological and pneumatological notions entrenched in the Yorùbá culture, an authentic Christian theology must be formulated on doctrines already revealed in Christ and in Scripture.



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