Review by Choice Review
In this brief book Aponte (New York Theological Seminary) surveys the multiform expressions of Latino/a religious experience, applying a phenomenological/history of religions approach reminiscent of Rudolf Otto and Mircea Eliade. Aponte does not explicitly state this but makes it evident by the categories of analysis employed in each chapter. In chapters 1-3 he riffs off the ecstatic exclamation often used by Latino Pentecostals--Santo! or "Holy!"--to explore the meaning of the sacred for Latinos/as. His focus is primarily on popular religion: the devotional practices Latino/as engage in on a daily basis (lo cotidiano). He explores the commitment of Latino/as to various understandings of the sacred in surveys of Pentecostalism, Catholic Guadalupanismo, Santeria, spiritism, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism. Chapter 4 attends to the ritual dimension of spirituality, chapter 5 to sacred rhetoric (e.g., sayings, stories, and testimonies), and chapter 6 to sacred space (e.g., places of pilgrimage, home altars). Oral histories of practitioners from diverse religious communities provide evidence for Aponte's claims. Along the way Aponte discusses the complexities of defining and constructing Latino/a identity in the US, and the experience of marginality (both cultural and religious) of Latinos/as living in the US. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates; general readers. C. R. Piar California State University, Long Beach
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.