First Look

New book reveals Rastafari’s impact on the Christian Church in Jamaica

International University of the Caribbean (IUC) | 2013-01-01 00:00:00

Rastafarianism and the teachings of National Hero Marcus Garvey have had the greatest influence on indigenizing the traditional Christian church more than any other religious group in Jamaica.

That’s one of the arguments put forward by the Rev. Dr. Roderick Hewitt in his new book, Church and Culture: An Anglo Caribbean Experience of Hybridity and Contradiction launched yesterday, Friday December 28, at the Hope United Church Hall in Kingston.

According to Hewitt, his book examines the complex, traditional local forces which transformed the Jamaican Christian church with its dominant European brand of Christianity to one with an authentic Jamaican culture that had acquired strong roots capable of holding its own. Hewitt further argues that despite the contributions of the Revival and Pentecostal groups to Jamaica Rastafarians, through Marcus Garvey’s theological teachings, were the first religious group to openly claim that God had taken on the identity of the African Jamaican.

The event, which was hosted by the International University of the Caribbean (IUC), also saw excerpts from Dr. Hewitt’s book presented by Rev. Dr. Maitland Evans, President of IUC and Dr. Hopeton Dunn, Chair Graduate Studies and Research at the University of the West Indies.

Hewitt, who is a former pastor at the Hope United Church and moderator of the United Church of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, currently serves as Senior Lecturer and Academic Leader at the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, University of Kwa Zulu in Natal, South Africa.

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