Ritual healing theory and Mark’s healing Jesus : implications for healing rituals within African Pentecostal churches

01 Oct 2020

This article uses ritual healing theory to explore the meaning and function of healing rituals performed by Jesus, the Galilean healer, and to raise alarm concerning some healing rituals found in a number of African Pentecostal churches. Using ritual healing theory, a subdivision of the discipline of social anthropology, the study argues that healing rituals are communicative practices that function to reveal the contradictions (unhealthy to healthy; possessed to normal) within a patient’s life and to symbolically overturn the existing condition. The study discovers that the lack of supposed contradiction in some rituals by African Pentecostal healers, evident in rituals such as kissing or feeding the congregants grass or snakes, makes it imperative to ask and critique the efficacy of such healing rituals. The article concludes with an exegetical section on the healing rituals found in Mark 1, with the intention to reveal the meaning and efficacy of each healing ritual.