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Cover of Seductive Spirits by Nathanael J. Homewood
Seductive Spirits
Deliverance, Demons, and Sexual Worldmaking in Ghanaian Pentecostalism
Nathanael J. Homewood


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March 2024
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Hardcover ISBN: 9781503637931
Paperback ISBN: 9781503638068
Ebook ISBN: 9781503638075

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Pentecostalism, Africa's fastest-growing form of Christianity, has long been preoccupied with the business of banishing demons from human bodies. Among Ghanaian Pentecostals, deliverance is primary among the embodied, experiential gifts—a loud, messy, and noisy experience that ends only when the possessed body falls to the ground silent and docile, the evil spirits rendered powerless in the face of the holy spirit-wielding-prophets. And nowhere is Ghanaian Pentecostal obsession with demons more pronounced than with sexual demons. In this book, Nathanael Homewood examines the frequent and varied experiences of spirit possession and sex with demons that constitute a vital part of Pentecostal deliverance ministries, offering insight into these practices assembled from long-term ethnographic engagement with four churches in Accra, the capital of Ghana.

Relying on the uniqueness of the Pentecostal sensorium, this book unravels how spirits and sexuality intimately combine to expand the definition of the body beyond its fleshy boundaries. Demons are a knowledge regime, one that shapes how Pentecostals think about, engage with, and construct the cosmos. Deliverance Pentecostals reiterate and tarry with the demonic, especially sexually, as a realm of invention whereby alternative ways of being, sensing, and having sex are dreamed, practiced, and performed. Ultimately, Homewood argues for a distinction between colonial demonization and decolonial demons, charting another path to understanding being, the body, and sexualities.

About the author

Nathanael J. Homewood is a Yang Visiting Scholar in World Christianity at Harvard Divinity School.

"An exacting, compelling, lucid, and pace setting account of the practice of deliverance inviting a critical and rigorous rethinking of the ministerial stewardship of deliverance in contemporary African Pentecostalism."

—Elias Bongmba, Rice University

"However disturbing its insight into bodies and desires might be, Seductive Spirits skillfully navigates the risk of ethnographic voyeurism by thematizing our discomfort and reflecting on the related ethical and theoretical challenges. It is one of the most thought-provoking and boundary-pushing studies of Pentecostalism I have come across since long."

—Adriaan van Klinken, University of Leeds