Original Research

The Greek evil eye, African witchcraft, and Western ethnocentrism

Anastasia Apostolides, Yolanda Dreyer
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 64, No 2 | a39 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v64i2.39 | © 2008 Anastasia Apostolides, Yolanda Dreyer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 January 2008 | Published: 14 January 2008

About the author(s)

Anastasia Apostolides, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Yolanda Dreyer, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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The aim of this study is to illustrate the ethnocentrism of Western thought by projecting its own science-oriented culture onto cultures with different beliefs. A comparative study between African witchcraft and the Greek phenomenon of the evil eye will be done to investigate whether similar reasons can be given for their existence today. The article reflects on the view that has been prevalent since the Enlightenment, namely that belief in the supernatural is “primitive” and has no place in a world where most things can be explained or solved scientifically. Against this background, contemporary Western perspectives on evil are explained and compared with those of the Greek Orthodox worldview, which shows similarities with New Testament textual evidence. This correlation is demonstrated by an anthropological perspective on the phenomenon of the evil eye as seen from a social, cultural and ecological point of view. These insights are compared with the belief in witchcraft, demonic possession and exorcism within African tradition and spirituality.


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