Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisorBaab, Lynne
dc.contributor.authorOroi, Aram
dc.identifier.citationOroi, A. (2015). Reclaiming Mana for the Church : The Identification of Mana and its Possible Subversive Impact on a Melanesian Community of Faith. (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractThe word and concept called mana is important to the spiritual lives of islanders in Oceania. Its interpretation, description, and definition – what “it” is, who has “it”, and how “it” works – has been problematic since Euro-American scholars first learned about it over a century and half ago. Controversies and debates over the precise meaning of mana began with Robert Codrington’s (1891) classic definition of mana as a spiritual “force” or “thing” that imbues in persons or objects. Codrington’s interpretation has influenced a great deal of literature. In Arosi on Makira Island, southeast Solomon Islands, Charles Fox (1924) has described and defined mana in a manner that agrees to Codrington’s views. However, their description and definitions of mana have recently been questioned as based on incorrect interpretations. Roger Keesing (1990), an anthropologist who worked on Kwaio, Malaita, Solomon Islands, accused Codrington and Fox of misinterpreting and translating mana as a substantive, a spiritual “force” that a person or an object has more or less of, which was made possible after some sort of “immersion” in a liquid container of mana. Keesing argues that because Melanesians are pragmatic in their approach to life, they are more concerned with results than with theological concepts and philosophical systematisation. Therefore, misinterpreting mana can lend itself to it being viewed as a substantivized nominalized noun, which Keesing says is a creation of western imagination. For the people of Arosi, God in Christ incarnate is mana; the whole Christ event is only possible because God is mana and has mana, and God continues to answer Arosi prayers through God’s mana. In that respect, mana is a pervasive “something” that “does something” in its effect on all human enterprises as potentiated by spiritual agencies. This means that critical contemporary questions on pneumatology continue to challenge how Arosi interpret mana and the potency of sorcery, magic, and kastom practices in comparison to divine mana as manifested in the mysterious workings of the Holy Spirit. This thesis argues that mana is “something” that exists in creation. This “something” can be accessed, and then can be transmitted in/through ritualistic approaches. Accordingly, mana exists independent of ritualistic action but is only realized in action. This study aims to inform the Anglican Church of Melanesia in its understanding of mana as a believing Melanesian community of faith. The study is not an anthropological discussion informed by theology but a Melanesian Christian discussion of mana as informed by anthropology.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectAnglicans in Arosi
dc.subjectHoly Spirit
dc.subjectMakira in Southeast Solomon Islands
dc.subjectMelanesian contextual theology
dc.subjectMelanesian Christianity
dc.subjectMena or mana in Melanesia
dc.subjectSpiritual power
dc.subjectSolomon Islands Christianity
dc.subjectPneumatology in Melanesia
dc.titleReclaiming Mana for the Church : The Identification of Mana and its Possible Subversive Impact on a Melanesian Community of Faith.
dc.language.rfc3066en of Theology and Religion of Philosophy of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
 Find in your library

Files in this item


There are no files associated with this item.

This item is not available in full-text via OUR Archive.

If you would like to read this item, please apply for an inter-library loan from the University of Otago via your local library.

If you are the author of this item, please contact us if you wish to discuss making the full text publicly available.

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record