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Time and Oral Tradition with Special Reference to Eastern Nigeria

G. I. Jones
The Journal of African History
Vol. 6, No. 2 (1965), pp. 153-160
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/180193
Page Count: 8
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Time and Oral Tradition with Special Reference to Eastern Nigeria
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Abstract

African Oral traditions differ critically from recorded history in their treatment of time. Time is relative and 'Historical time' is replaced by 'structural time'. Eastern Nigerian traditions have a beginning, the 'remote past', and an end, 'the recent past' and episodes which should belong to a middle period between these extremes are pushed either into the 'remote' or the 'recent past' or are forgotten altogether. This can be seen as soon as Eastern Delta traditions are compared with the relevant European historical records.

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