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Do Africans believe in Reincarnation? “Absolutely not!” is the answer and conclusion of the author Innocent C. Onyewuenyi in his book: African Belief in Reincarnation: A Philosophical Reappraisal. Reincarnation has a definite meaning in the English language but was used by early European anthropologists as a language of accommodation to cloak their ignorance of the ways African ancestors influence the new-born of their kindred. In addition, the African is a firm believer in an incorporeal form of life beyond. It is the position of the author that Africans cannot/ do not believe in Reincarnation while at the same time recognizing the personal individual existence in the spirit world of the ancestors who are believed to have “reincarnated.” In this book the author has drawn on his unquestionable empirical knowledge of living historical episodes and African bio-cultural phenomena and applied skillfully his philosophical knowledge and wisdom to establish incontrovertibly and convincingly the view that it is wrong and culturally misleading to interpret the relevant phenomena as belief in Reincarnation. He advocates the deletion of the word “Reincarnation” from African cultural anthropology, while suggesting other terminologies which adequately describe the relevant cultural concept of Africans.
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Innocent C. Onyewuenyi was born in Nigeria. He taught philosophy at the College of the Holy Cross, Worchester, Massachusetts (1970-73), and at the University of Nigeria, where he rose to become Department Chair and Dean, Faculty of the Social Sciences. He has authored many scholarly articles and books, the most recent being widely read on Amazon.com “The African Origin of Greek Philosophy.” Onyewuenyi is a past Vice President of the Nigerian Philosophical Association and a member emeritus of the American Philosophical Association. He currently resides in Seattle, Washington State.
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