• 467 pages
  • 7 x 10
  • 1 table 1 figure
  • Price: $43.95
  • EAN: 9781566395847
  • Publication: Mar 1998

Chanting Down Babylon

The Rastafari Reader

Edited by William David Spencer, Adrian Anthony McFarlane, and Nathanial Samuel Murrell
  • Philadelphia Book Clinic Certificate of Award, 1999

This anthology explores Rastafari religion, culture, and politics in Jamaica and other parts of the African diaspora. An Afro-Caribbean religious and cultural movement that sprang from the streets of Kingston, Jamaica, in the 1930s, today Rastafari has close to one million adherents. The basic message of Rastafari—the dismantling of all oppressive institutions and the liberation of humankind—even has strong appeal to non-believers who are captivated by reggae music, the lyrics, and the "immortal spirit" of its enormously popular practitioner, Bob Marley.

Probing into Rastafari's still evolving belief system, political goals, and cultural expression, the contributors to this volume emphasize the importance of Africana history and the Caribbean context.


"Long before the term 'Afrocentricity' came into popular use in the United States, Jamaican Rastafarians had embraced the concept as the most important recipe for naming their reality and reclaiming their black heritage in the African diaspora."
Nathaniel Samuel Murrell, from the Introduction

About the Author(s)

Nathaniel Samuel Murrell is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, and Visiting Professor at the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology in Kingston, Jamaica.

William David Spencer is Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Theology and the Arts at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary Boston Campus/Center for Urban Ministerial Education. He has authored, coauthored, or edited 18 books and has 292 publications, including Dread Jesus, Mysterium and Mystery: The Clerical Crime Novel, The Global God, Global Voices on Biblical Equality, Christian Egalitarian Leadership, Empowering English Language Learners, and the novels Cave of Little Faces and Name in the Papers. He and Dr. Aída Besançon Spencer’s blog, Applying Biblical Truths Today, can be found at https://aandwspencer.blogspot.com.

Adrian Anthony McFarlane is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY. He is author of A Grammar of Fear and Evil–A Husserlian-Wittgensteinian Hermeneutic.