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Folktales have been a part of the social and cultural life of American Indian and Eskimo peoples regardless of whether they were sedentary agriculturists or nomadic hunters. As they gathered around a fire at night, Native Americans could be transported to another world through the talent of a good storyteller.

The effect was derived not only from the novelty of the tale itself but also from the imaginative skill of the narrator, who often added gestures and songs and occasionally adapted a particular tale to suit a certain culture.

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One adaptation frequently used by the storyteller was the repetition of incidents. The description of an incident would be repeated a specific number of times. The number of repetitions usually corresponded to the number associated with the sacred by the culture; whereas in Christian traditions, for instance, the sacred is most often counted in threes for the Trinity , in Native American traditions the sacred is most often associated with groups of four representing the cardinal directions and the deities associated with each or seven the cardinal directions and deities plus those of skyward, earthward, and centre.

The hero would kill that number of monsters or that many brothers who had gone out on the same adventure. This type of repetition was very effective in oral communication, for it firmly inculcated the incident in the minds of the listeners—much in the same manner that repetition is used today in advertising.

In addition, there was an aesthetic value to the rhythm gained from repetition and an even greater dramatic effect, for the listener knew that, when the right number of incidents had been told, some supernatural character would come to the aid of the hero, sometimes by singing to him.

For this reason, oral literature is often difficult and boring to read. Oral literature also loses effect in transcription, because the reader, unlike the listener, is often unacquainted with the worldview, ethics , sociocultural setting , and personality traits of the people in whose culture the story was told and set.

Because the effect of the story depended so much on the narrator, there were many versions of every good tale. Each time a story was told, it varied only within the limits of the tradition established for that plot and according to the cultural background of the narrator and the listeners.

While studies have been made of different versions of a tale occurring within a tribe, there is still much to be discovered, for instance, in the telling of the same tale by the same narrator under different circumstances. This church once constituted the religious pillar of the Afrikaner apartheid regime Today, it seeks to unite the communities it long segregated into one multiracial institution.

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Few believe this will succeed. A close look inside congregations reveals unexpected stories of reconciliation though. Where South Africans realize they need each other to survive, faith offers common ground — albeit a feeble one. They show the potential, but also the limits of faith communities untangling entrenched national and racial affiliations. Handbook of Hyper-real Religions. Editor: Adam Possamai. These are innovative religions and spiritualities that mix elements of religious traditions with popular culture.

If we imagine a spectrum of intensity of the merging of popular culture with religion, we might find, at one end, groups practicing Jediism appropriated from the Star Wars movies, Matrixism from the Matrix trilogy, and neo-pagan rites based on stories from The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series.

At the other end of the spectrum, members of mainstream religions, such as Christianity can be influenced or inspired by, for example, The Da Vinci Code. Valencia: Letra Capital, : London: Routledge, : November : Neff ed.

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Old Gods and New Worlds

Morgan and Sean Hawkins ed. New York: Oxford University Press, : New York: Blackwell, : Ibadan: Hope Publishing, Translation of Combat pour le sens trans. John Conteh — Morgan. Pierre-Emmanuel Dauzat. Post, with K. Grey, and Reva B. Siegel Durham: Duke University Press, : Laqueur and Diane F.

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Nooter ed. New York: Center for African Art, : XXIV, Nos. African Discourse series 3 Oxford: Hans Zell, : Mudimbe ed. Chicago: Chicago University Press, : Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, : Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi B. XXXI, No. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, : McElhinny ed. Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Chicago University Press, : Hillard and JuliAnna Smith ed.

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