Witch Craft of the Azande

2092 words 9 pages
Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande
Aaron Wintrich
Professor Arthur
Anthropology of Religion
10/30/12
2,075 Words

Wintrich II
Witchcraft among the Azande is an integral part of everyday life. From highly involved communal practices to individual daily life, witchcraft and such happenings can take place at any time and to anyone. During his time among the Azande, Evans Pritchard originally thought of the Azande’s belief in witchcraft as naïve, believing that all mishaps were caused by bewitchment instead of taking personal responsibility. I personally find this interesting as it is a fine example of how people universally do not typically take responsibility for their misfortunes; instead they blame it on another. Why
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This may be a crude explanation, however, it is the crude explanation I have come to about Zandeland witchcraft from reading our authors work on the Azande people. So perhaps we need to further our reading into Evan Pritchard’s book, and then we will come to a better understanding of this seemingly abstract explanation of his; let us continue.
One suggestion that our author gives us as to why witchcraft and what causes it is so obscure is that in Zande philosophy the gaps in between the causation of events are left to the individual to fill instead of through communication, otherwise they would be left astray by linguistic conventions. Another explanation would be that, “Witchcraft explains particular circumstances of events in relation to their harmfulness to people. Witchcraft explains why events are harmful to man and not how they
Wintrich V happen.” (Pritchard, pg. 72) A Zande sees how witchcraft happens as anyone does. They see an elephant charge a man, not a witch cast a spell. They see a termite damaged granary fall, not a witch cast a spell. They don’t see witches casting spells, only the harmfulness of particular circumstances of events in their relation to man. “Witchcraft is a causative factor in the production of harmful phenomena in particular places, at particular times, and in relation to particular persons. It is not a necessary link in a sequence of events but something external to them that participates in them

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