Previous scholars of Ifá have conveyed an impression that Ifá is a characteristic social institution with only religious, ethnographical and sociological significance. In fact, Ifá has been greatly misconceived as a mere religious and mythic discourse, devoid of any meaningful philosophical import. There is also the misconception that Ifá is now largely anachronistic. In Ifá in Yorùbá Thought System, the author shows that an adequate understanding of a text requires a transition from the manifest to the latent meaning and, therefore, analyses the Ifá literary corpus with a view to identifying the aspects of Ifá that are of philosophic relevance. He shows that fundamental philosophical issues, including nature of reality, knowledge, human conduct are embedded in Ifá. With reflective interpretation of an appreciable number of Ifá verses, the author also examines the utilitarian functions of Ifá, offers good insight into important political ideas and values that are relevant to much of the political challenges in contemporary society and how scientific and technological development can be enhanced within the context of the Yorùbá oral tradition. In all, this book shows that the Ifá literary corpus, as a complete philosophy, has the prospect of providing a firm ground for the resolution of some of the pressing problems confronting contemporary societies.
This book is part of the African World Series, edited by Toyin Falola, Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities, University of Texas at Austin.