أسطورة الخلق في شرق أفريقيا / The Myth of Creation in East Africa



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الزين, عبد الحميد; el Zein, Abdul Hamid M.; إبراهيم, نبيلة; Ibrahim, Nabila

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics

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[The "Myth of Creation" in its East African formulation is the central chapter in a book entitled, The Sacred Meadows, by an Egyptian anthropologist who did his field work in the early seventies among the Lamu community in Kenya on the shores of the Indian Ocean. The translator, in her own introduction to the translation, presents the outline of the book and provides the geographical and cultural context of the community in question. The author, in this translated chapter, sets out by exposing his theoretical position which combines both Structuralism and Functionalism. Insights from Claude Lévi-Strauss and Bronislaw Malinowski as well as those of Paul Ricoeur and Victor Turner join to develop the author's notion of myth and its symbolic mode. Then the text of the myth, in its Lamuan formulation, is narrated, followed by a close reading and analysis of its binary oppositions, mediating terms, and the underlying existential contradiction at its crux. Angels, jinn, light, fire, earth, wind, water, Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, Satan, serpent, etc. are the agents of this sacred narrative and cosmic drama. The textual unfolding of the myth is followed by an analysis, which makes use of the structural method and explores the semantic connotations of Swahili words and idioms to explain the logic of the symbolic exchange and the rigor of thought. The themes of unity and multiplicity and their different combinations are delineated in this analysis and the repetitions and their relation to transcendence are explained.]

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