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Aperçu sur la trinité et la pensée triadique chez les Fang au Gabon

Stanislaw Swiderski
Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne des Études Africaines
Vol. 9, No. 2 (1975), pp. 235-257
DOI: 10.2307/484082
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/484082
Page Count: 23
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Aperçu sur la trinité et la pensée triadique chez les Fang au Gabon
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Abstract

The study of the notion of the trinity as an ethno-religious problem and of the triadic thought as a universal phenomenon revealing man's tendency to classify the manifestations of life shows in the Fang people results that are coherent and significant. These results are the marks of socio-historical and cultural changes that the Fang have undergone in their migrations from Cameroon towards Gabon, coming into contact with the autochton people of Gabon, the Mpongwe and especially the Mitsogho and the À pindji. Relying on their own mythology and adding new cultural elements, the Fang have created a new religious form. It has syncretic characteristics as a result of the mixing of beliefs taken from the Fang, the Mitsogho and Christianism. Among many other elements of cult and faith, the syncretic sects have developed the ancient notion of the Fang trinity and have broadened the function of each of its persons. Thus, Nzame Mebeghe has the powers of the Father, Mebeghe is compared to Jesus-Christ and Gningone Mebeghe either to Eve, the Virgin or the Holy Spirit. None Mebeghe, finally, has been associated to the divine breath of creation, to the creative Word of God. The Catholic Trinity has been reinterpreted by the three hypostases of the Fang trinity, keeping however, the same characteristics that the popular Christian religious experience reveals. The trinity remains then, the subject either of theological speculation, or of myths that are known by the fully initiated. Among the persons of the trinity, the second person only, Nzame Mebeghe, son of God, now called Eyene Nzame, is honored in the people's daily devotions. But the extraordinary socio-political function of the third person of the Catholic Trinity, the Holy Spirit, must be noted. The Angome Ebogha Gningone Mebeghe sect of Oyem is a living example of this attitude. To preserve the essential element of African life, fertility, and the idea of continuous creating, this sect has identified the person of the Holy Spirit to the Blessed Virgin, Gningone Mebeghe, endowing her with an ennobled function, motherhood being considered in its spiritual dimension. Thus, here the Christian Trinity has become once again the sublimate picture of the biological family.

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