chapter  2
10 Pages

Messages from Beyond: Prophecy in the Contemporary World

ByMichael Barkun

While only a few people explicitly present themselves as prophets, many more engage in prophetic behaviour. That is, they purport to transmit a message of transcendent importance that is not available to the population at large. Utterances perceived as prophetic have sometimes been institutionalised in religions with relatively deep roots. Thus we find it in Pentecostalism, where it is identified with gifts of the Spirit, and in the Afro-Cuban religion, Santeria, where it occurs during celebrants’ trance states. But it may also be found outside ritualised contexts, as well as in new and alternative religions.