Communities of the Soul: A Short History of Religion in Puerto Rico
Published by: McGill-Queen's University Press
Imprint: McGill-Queen's University Press
Available: December 2021
200 Pages, 152.00 x 229.00 x 0.65 in, 12 figures
Not Yet Published
Communities of the Soul illuminates the landscape and history of religion in Puerto Rico from the beliefs and practices of the Taíno to the religious diversity of the present day. Throughout its history, religion in Puerto Rico has braided institutional forms and popular practices, yet has always been a community-based process – made by the people. When the island was under Spanish colonial rule, the formal but weak presence of Catholicism meant that Puerto Ricans cultivated their religious experiences within families and local communities as much as within the structures of the church. These communal practices continued as Puerto Ricans joined Protestant denominations – particularly evangelical Pentecostalism – after the American conquest of the island in 1898. In the second half of the twentieth century, religious diversity increased with the formation of Jewish and Muslim communities, as well as numerous local evangelical congregations. Even as Puerto Rican society becomes more cosmopolitan and diverse, popular devotions and ritualistic practices remain an important part of everyday life.
The first synthesis of the religious history of the island, Communities of the Soul is an innovative exploration of religion in Puerto Rico and the beliefs, practices, and diversity of its past and present.
"Communities of the Soul provides a good digest of a complicated history. It will enrich the growing awareness of Puerto Rico's challenges to presumptions of the world's moral order. José Igartua offers insightful reflection on an important subject." Reverend Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo, Fordham University