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Similarly, one of the most rewarding features of slave religion was the experience of knowing God personally, that is, having an intimate relationship with Him which assisted the bondspeople to prevail against the mental and emotional horrors of servitude.
He critically examines the origins, norms, and foundation of the first source, slave religion, as formational of both American Protestantism and American culture.
The first two chapters of Albert Raboteau's study on slave religion examine the major characteristics of African traditional religions and why African-based religions had a greater survival rate in areas of the Americas other than mainland North America.
in his survey of the historical archaeology of slave religion offer pieces substantial enough to serve as counterweights to the more traditional histories.
Most studies of slave religion stress missionary activity, institutional developments, and the shaping of a core of African-based and evangelical Protestant beliefs and practices, with virtually no attention to how the enslaved struggled theologically with their unique and unfortunate existential situation.
At the outset, as he did in his classic work Slave Religion a quarter century ago, Raboteau balances the claims for ongoing African religious legacies with equally convincing evidence of dynamic cultural interchange and blending of religious traditions and practices by African Americans in the New World.