This image is the cover for the book Divination's Grasp

Divination's Grasp

“A work of rare depth and profound insight that is destined to become a classic in African Studies and the anthropology of religion.” —Paul Stoller, author of Yaya’s Story: The Quest for Well-Being in the World

Richard Werbner takes readers on a journey though contemporary charismatic wisdom divination in southern Africa. Beginning with the silent language of the divinatory lots, Werbner deciphers the everyday, metaphorical, and poetic language that is used to reveal their meaning. Through Werbner’s skillful interpretations of the language of divination, a picture of Tswapong moral imagination is revealed. Concerns about dignity and personal illumination, witchcraft, pollution, the anger of dead ancestors, as well as the nature of life, truth, cosmic harmony, being, and becoming emerge in this charged African setting.

“Werbner’s Divination’s Grasp documents a long and distinguished career in the service of anthropology. It will be a touchstone for anthropological studies of divination for years to come.” —American Ethnologist

“Richard Werbner’s superb account of moral imagination and the poetics of divination grasps the density of its subject, matching the insights of the diviner with those of the ethnographer. The book takes its place among the very best works of Africanist anthropology as a new classic in the tradition of ethnographic divination and a necessary reminder of live and deep traditions of African wisdom.” —Michael Lambek, University of Toronto Scarborough

Richard Werbner

Richard Werbner is Professor Emeritus in African Anthropology at the University of Manchester. He is author of Reasonable Radicals and Citizenship in Botswana (IUP).

Indiana University Press