Olódumare and Esu in Yorubá Religious Thought


Theological and philosophical debates on deities do not end easily; rather they open new vistas of understanding and further argumentation. In a previous work, I argued that there are two pairs of Olódumare and Es̩u in contemporary Yorubá religious thought and praxis. This conclusion was to navigate the extreme position that Olódumare and the Christian God have nothing in common. Although Segun Ogungbemi recently maintained the strict theological and moral differences between Olódumare and God using existential lens, he has not addressed the practical reality instantiated by the contemporary Yorubá diverse worshipers. Danoye Ogúntó̩lá-Láguda’s position on Olódumare and Es̩u is also slightly different from Ogúngbemí’s, although the former maintains a more practical posture. From their arguments I propose, in addition to my earlier two-pair argument that contemporary Yorubá may have four pairs of Olódumare and Esu: the first pair is autochtho ̩ - nous to the Yorubá, the second is Christian, the third Islamic, and the fourth, philosophical.

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