By Thomas C. Oden
Africa has performed a decisive position within the formation of Christian tradition from its infancy. the most decisive highbrow achievements of Christianity have been explored and understood in Africa prior to they have been in Europe. if this is the case, why is Christianity so usually perceived in Africa as a Western colonial import? How can Christians in Northern and sub-Saharan Africa, certainly how can Christians in the course of the international, rediscover and research from this historical history? Theologian Thomas C. Oden bargains a portrait that demanding situations winning notions of the highbrow improvement of Christianity from its early roots to its glossy expressions. The trend, he indicates, isn't really from north to south from Europe to Africa, however the opposite direction round. He then makes an impassioned plea to discover the demanding facts and research intensive the very important position that early African Christians performed in constructing the fashionable collage, maturing Christian exegesis of Scripture, shaping early Christian dogma, modeling conciliar styles of ecumenical decision-making, stimulating early monasticism, constructing Neoplatonism, and refining rhetorical and dialectical abilities. He demands a wide-ranging learn undertaking to fill out the image he sketches. it's going to require, he says, a new release of disciplined research, combining extensive language examine with a risk-taking dedication to discover the reality in in all likelihood unreceptive environments. Oden envisions a devoted consortium of students associated by means of machine know-how and a standard dedication that might search to form not just the scholar's knowing however the usual African Christian's self-perception.
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Extra info for How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind: Rediscovering the African Seedbed of Western Christianity
P ILGRIMAGE S ITES N EGLECTED Sub-Saharan Africans await the delight of learning what happened long ago in the Nile and the Maghreb. At some point southern Africans are going to be traveling north to learn much more of their own African Christian roots. They need not go to Europe to discover those roots. There are an abundance of ancient Christian sites in Africa, some among the most ancient, the most impressive and beautiful. The ancient pilgrimage sites of North African Christianity are currently poised for a massive increase of visitors from all over the world.
W HO C AN T ELL I T ? Some Westerners will turn away from even hearing of Africa’s ancient Christian heritage because of seated prejudices about the assumed unimportance of Africa to world history. There are other impediments: Political barriers such as those prevailing in Libya, Algeria and Sudan have prevented much of the story to be told earlier. The revolutions, terrorism and repressions following the Algerian struggle of 1956 have shut down borders. I have twice been denied entrance into Libya, even with a government-stamped visa in hand.
On closer look, however, the achievements of early Christians in Africa are still being sustained unconsciously and unknowingly even by Western attitudes. It may be that just these values freight the wisdom to reunite us as human beings, to guide us as social beings, to enliven us in spiritual freedom. fm Page 35 Monday, June 21, 2010 12:47 PM 1 A F ORGOTTEN STORY T he telling of Africa’s ancient Christian heritage has languished for many centuries. Though it needs telling, there is some reticence to think that anyone from the West is adequately equipped to tell it.