Obeah, Christ and Rastaman: Jamaica and its Religion

By Ivor Morrish

An early study of the Jamaican religious landscape historically and in the postcolonial present.

ISBN: 9780718895280


In Obeah, Christ and Rastaman, Ivor Morrish sets out to chronicle the religious history of the Jamaican people. Drawing from a rich, complicated history, Morrish lays out the religious tapestry of Jamaica from its native origins, up through the slave trade and the introduction of Christianity, ending in the nineteenth century with the emergence of traditions that would later become associated with Rastafarianism.

Morrish discusses Jamaica’s colonial past and culture post-slavery, dispelling myths around African savagery and barbarism that were still persistent around the time of the book’s original publication. He also explores the socio-political roots of Rastafarianism and its rise amongst the disenfranchised. Also included is a brief discussion of the immigrant experience of Jamaicans in England, showing how a deeply spiritual people deal with the secular materialism of their former imperial capital.

Obeah, Christ and Rastaman is an intriguing artefact of early Afro-Caribbean Studies from a religious perspective. Morrish treats his subject matter with respect and dignity, facing the subjugation of the Jamaican people head on and considering their possible paths to salvation.

Additional information

Dimensions 234 × 156 mm
Pages 136

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Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

Ivor Morrish was educated at Bristol, London and Oxford Universities, graduating in philosophy and economics, theology, and classical Hebrew and Greek. He obtained an academic diploma from the University of London in philosophy, psychology and sociology, as well as founding the Unwin Education book series. During its operative years he held a position of Principal Lecturer in education at Southampton’s La Sainte Union College of Higher Education. His numerous publications include Disciplines of Education and The Background of Immigrant Children.


Author’s Preface

1. Introduction
2. The Culture and Religion of the Aborigines
3. The Peoples of Jamaica
4. The African Origins of Jamaican Slaves
5. Some Aspects of African Religion
6. Treatment of Slaves in the Caribbean
7. Jamaican Slaves and Christianity
8. African Survivals
9. Revivalism and Pocomania
10. Cumina and Other Ceremonies
11. The Rastafarians
12. Christian Sects and Denominations
13. Religion and Jamaican Society
14. Conclusion


1. Sects and Denominations
2. West Africa: Some Ethnic Groups
3. Jamaica: Parish boundaries