Creole Religions of the Caribbean

9780814762271: Hardback
Release Date: 11th July 2011

9780814762288: Paperback
Release Date: 11th July 2011

Dimensions: 153 x 229

Number of Pages: 324

Edition: 2nd Edition

Series Religion, Race, and Ethnicity

NYU Press

Creole Religions of the Caribbean

An Introduction from Vodou and Santeria to Obeah and Espiritismo

Hardback / £73.00
Paperback / £21.99

Creolization—the coming together of diverse beliefs and practices to form new beliefs and practices—is one of the most significant phenomena in Caribbean religious history. Brought together in the crucible of the sugar plantation, Caribbean peoples drew on the variants of Christianity brought by European colonizers, as well as on African religious and healing traditions and the remnants of Amerindian practices, to fashion new systems of belief.
Creole Religions of the Caribbean offers a comprehensive introduction to the syncretic religions that have developed in the region. From Vodou, Santería, Regla de Palo, the Abakuá Secret Society, and Obeah to Quimbois and Espiritismo, the volume traces the historical–cultural origins of the major Creole religions, as well as the newer traditions such as Pocomania and Rastafarianism. This second edition updates the scholarship on the religions themselves and also expands the regional considerations of the Diaspora to the U. S. Latino community who are influenced by Creole spiritual practices. Fernández Olmos and Paravisini–Gebert also take into account the increased significance of material culture—art, music, literature—and healing practices influenced by Creole religions.
In the Religion, Race, and Ethnicity series

Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert (Author)
Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert is a Professor in the Department of Hispanic Studies on the Randolph Distinguished Professor Chair and Director of the Environmental Studies Program at Vassar College. She is the author of a number of books and is coeditor with Fernández Olmos of Healing Cultures: Art and Religion as Curative Practices in the Caribbean and its Diaspora.
Margarite Fernandez Olmos (Author)
Margarite Fernández Olmos is a professor of Spanish and Latin American literatures at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. She is the author/coeditor of many books, including The Latino Reader: An American Literary Tradition from 1542 to the Present.

This book provides valuable insider information that can assist Christians as they work and witness in the Spanish and English Caribbean or among the Caribbean Diaspora.


Creole Religions of the Caribbean approaches readers as if they were out-of-town guests at a dinner party, thoroughly acquainting them with the topics of conversation and encouraging them to mingle among the liveliest characters.

The Journal of Religion

The book provides a unique sociocultural, historical and political analysis of Caribbean religion.

Centro Journal

Descriptive and comparative.


Bravo! A well-written text that de-mystifies Creole spiritual practices and places them in historical perspective is a major contribution to the twenty-first century. Over and above the accurate and detailed descriptions of the various spiritual practices of the Caribbean, the authors have clearly delineated the historic origin and connection of Creole practices to African religions, often indicating the specific regions of Africa from which they came. This volume provides an excellent overview of the history and culture of the Caribbean islands and is the first of its kind to present comprehensive, well-researched treatise of Obeah, Myalism, Quimbois, Espiritismo, Vodou, Santeria, Regla de Palo, and the Abukua Secret Society as well as the more recent traditions of Rastafarianism and Pocomania. This work is interesting and will leave the reader well informed about the Caribbean island's religions, practices, and culture, complete with present-day expressions in the Caribbean. It will be an important text for the study of the Caribbean, religion, ethnicity, race, and culture.

Multicultural Review

With vitality and dexterity the authors paint a nuanced portrait of Caribbean spirits and persons, of issues holy and secular, and of the hybrid character of this region's religions. Best of all, they honor the shifting sentiments and unravel the multiple meanings behind numerous spiritual ideas and practices. Teachers and students alike will admire their brilliantly researched, sensitively written, and richly textured tome. It represents the high-water mark of all introductory books on religion, race, and ethnicity.

Darren J. N. Middleton,Texas Christian University

Creole Religions of the Caribbean is a very effective and sympathetic study of the Caribbean religions, and it provides this story in a more accessible way than other publications.


Creole Religions stands out as vastly superior to the theologically oriented introductory-level material available up to this point and should serve as an indispensible teaching tool in departments of anthropology, sociology, literary criticism and history of religions.

Journal of Religion

Offers an excellent . . . multidisciplinary introduction to the scholarship in this area of study.

New West Indian Guide

Unique to such a study, this book uses extracts from novels . . . to illustrate some points. [A] fine text.

Library Journal