Theorizing Pentecostal Historiography
Persecution and Historical Memory in Ethiopia
Keywords:Ethiopia, historiography, missions, independence, poststructuralism
Historians of Pentecostalism are often faced with a number of problems specific to the movement, most importantly its fragmented diversity and its providential outlook. The sources they encounter therefore contain many conflicting claims about the past and miraculous assertions, which are difficult to integrate into an academic historiography. Creating a factual historical account from these sources, however, not only proves to be difficult or impossible in many cases, it also fails to really analyse their narrative abundance. Newer theories of history, inspired by post-colonial and post-structuralist thought may help to solve this problem, since they argue for a linguistic approach to history, which in turn makes the analysis of historiography a central point of departure for the historian. By tracing out four of these theoretical contributions and applying them to a specific example from Ethiopian Pentecostalism, the article seeks to show a way forward in the writing of Pentecostal history.
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