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How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind

Paperback|Aug 2010
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Africa has played a decisive role in the formation of Christian culture from its infancy. Some of the most decisive intellectual achievements of Christianity were explored and understood in Africa before they were in Europe. ^^If this...

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Africa has played a decisive role in the formation of Christian culture from its infancy. Some of the most decisive intellectual achievements of Christianity were explored and understood in Africa before they were in Europe.

^^If this is so, why is Christianity so often perceived in Africa as a Western colonial import? How can Christians in Northern and sub-Saharan Africa, indeed, how can Christians throughout the world, rediscover and learn from this ancient heritage? ^^Theologian Thomas C. Oden offers a portrait that challenges prevailing notions of the intellectual development of Christianity from its early roots to its modern expressions. The pattern, he suggests, is not from north to south from Europe to Africa, but the other way around. He then makes an impassioned plea to uncover the hard data and study in depth the vital role that early African Christians played in developing the modern university, maturing Christian exegesis of Scripture, shaping early Christian dogma, modeling conciliar patterns of ecumenical decision-making, stimulating early monasticism, developing Neoplatonism, and refining rhetorical and dialectical skills.
^^He calls for a wide-ranging research project to fill out the picture he sketches. It will require, he says, a generation of disciplined investigation, combining intensive language study with a risk-taking commitment to uncover the truth in potentially unreceptive environments. Oden envisions a dedicated consortium of scholars linked by computer technology and a common commitment that will seek to shape not only the scholar's understanding but the ordinary African Christian's self-perception^


  • Catalogue Code 306412
  • Product Code 9780830837052
  • ISBN 0830837051
  • EAN 9780830837052
  • Pages 204
  • Department Academic
  • Category History
  • Sub-Category General
  • Publisher Intervarsity Press Usa
  • Publication Date Aug 2010
  • Sales Rank 63056
  • Dimensions 209 x 139 x 15mm
  • Weight 0.172kg

Thomas C Oden

Thomas C. Oden (Ph.D., Yale University) recently retired as Henry Anson Buttz Professor of Theology at The Theological School of Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. He is general editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture; Ancient Christian Texts and Ancient Christian Doctrine Set and author of numerous theological works, including a three-volume systematic theology

  • <strong>introduction</strong>
  • Toward A Half Billion African Christians
  • An Epic Story
  • Out Of Africa
  • The Pivotal Place Of Africa On The Ancient Map
  • Two Rivers: The Nile And The Medjerda--seedbed Of Early Christian Thought
  • Affirming Oral And Written Traditions
  • Self-effacement And The Recovery Of Dignity
  • The Missing Link: The Early African Written Intellectual Tradition Forgotten
  • Why Africa Has Seemed To The West To Lack Intellectual History
  • Interlude
  • <strong>part One: The African Seedbed Of Western Christianity</strong>
  • <strong>1 A Forgotten Story </strong>
  • Who Can Tell It?
  • Pilgrimage Sites Neglected
  • Under Sands: The Burial Of Ancient Christian Texts And Basilicas
  • <strong>2 Seven Ways Africa Shaped The Christian Mind </strong>
  • How The Western Idea Of A University Was Born In The Crucible Of Africa
  • How Christian Exegesis Of Scripture First Matured In Africa
  • How African Sources Shaped Early Christian Dogma
  • How Early Ecumenical Decision Making Followed African Conciliar Patterns
  • How The African Desert Gave Birth To Worldwide Monasticism
  • How Christian Neoplatonism Emerged In Africa
  • How Rhetorical And Dialectical Skills Were Honed In Africa For Europe's Use
  • Interlude: Harnack&#146;s Folly
  • Overview
  • <strong>3 Defining Africa</strong>
  • Establishing The Indigenous Depth Of Early African Christianity
  • The Stereotyping Of Hellenism As Non-african
  • Scientific Inquiry Into The Ethnicity Of Early African Christian Writers
  • The Purveyors Of Myopia
  • The African Seedbed Hypothesis Requires Textual Demonstration
  • A Case In Point: The Circuitous Path From Africa To Ireland To Europe And Then Back To Africa
  • A Caveat Against Afrocentric Exaggeration
  • <strong>4 One Faith, Two Africas</strong>
  • The Hazards Of Bridge Building
  • The Challenge Of Reconciliation Of Black Africa And North Africa
  • The Roots Of The Term Africa
  • Overcoming The Ingrained Lack Of Awareness
  • Excommunicating The North
  • Arguing For African Unity
  • Defining "early African Christianity" As A Descriptive Category Of A Period Of History
  • How African Is The Nile Valley?
  • <strong>5 Temptations </strong>
  • Tilted Historical Predispositions
  • The Catholic Limits Of Afrocentrism
  • Ignoring African Sources
  • The Cost Of The Forgetfulness
  • Overlooking African Voices In Scripture
  • How Protestants Can Celebrate The Apostolic Charisma Of The Copts
  • The Christian Ancestry Of Africa
  • <strong>part Two: African Orthodox Recovery</strong>
  • <strong>6 The Opportunity For Retrieval</strong>
  • Surviving Modernity
  • The Steadiness Of African Orthodoxy
  • The New African Ecumenism
  • Pruning Undisciplined Excesses
  • Burning Away The Acids Of Moral Relativism
  • Orthodoxy: Global And African
  • Historic Christian Multiculturalism
  • Reframing Modern Ecumenics Within Classic Ecumenics
  • <strong>7 How The Blood Of African Martyrs Became The Seed Of European Christianity</strong>
  • Whether Classic Christian Teaching Is Defined By Power
  • How The History Of African Martyrdom Shaped Christian Views Of Universal History
  • Recalling The Exodus As An African Event
  • Amassing The Evidence
  • The Challenge Of Young Africa
  • <strong>8 Right Remembering</strong>
  • Remembering The Scripture Rightly Through The Spirit
  • The Heart Of African Orthodoxy
  • Transcending Material Worldliness
  • Avoiding Racial Definitions Of Apostolic Truth
  • <strong>9 Seeking The Reconciliation Of Christianity And Islam Through Historical Insight</strong>
  • The Risks Scholars Take
  • Empathizing With Sub-saharan Suspicions Of The North
  • Conjointly Studying The History Of Islam And Christianity
  • The Rigorous Language Requirements Of African Research
  • Learning From Primary Sources
  • A Personal Challenge
  • <strong>appendix: The Challenges Of Early African Research </strong>
  • Three Aims Of Future Research
  • The Precedent
  • The Scope
  • The African Center Of The International Consortium
  • The Consortium Of Scholars
  • Assembling The Pieces Of The Puzzle
  • Academic Leadership
  • Maximizing Digital Technologies
  • Publishing Outcomes
  • Conclusion
  • <strong>literary Chronology Of Christianity In Africa In The First Millennium</strong>
  • <strong>bibliography</strong>

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