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Biblical Studies, Theology, Religion and Philosophy

An Introduction for African Universities

James N. Amanze

Publication Year: 2012

This book introduces the study of Biblical studies, theology, religion and philosophy from an African perspective. The book comprises twenty six chapters divided into four sections. The first section deals with Biblical studies, the second with theology, the third with religion and the fourth with philosophy. The contributions are from 20 eminent scholars from African and Caribbean universities.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title page

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Copyright page

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pp. vi


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pp. vii-ix

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pp. 1-8

This book introduces students to the study of Biblical studies, theology, religion and philosophy from an African perspective. It has been written by scholars with great international reputations and with many years’ experience in teaching and research at reputable international universities. ...

Part One: Biblical Studies

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Chapter One: The Bible: A History of Interpretation and Methods

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pp. 11-36

The Bible is the number one bestseller. It has been a unified, widely used, read and studied text for so long that it is easy to forget that the Bible did not always exist. Also, it did not fall out of heaven in one immaculate piece! The story of the formation of the Bible and, subsequently, of its interpretation, ...

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Chapter Two: An Overview of the Old Testament

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pp. 37-52

The first part of the Bible is known by Christians as the Old Testament (OT). Jews, however, are not comfortable with this description since the New Testament is not very important to them. The appropriate description of the OT for Jews is the Hebrew Bible. ...

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Chapter Three: Major Themes in the Old Testament

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pp. 53-68

Approaches to Old Testament theology are very much varied. For some, it is about the place of the Old Testament for a modern believer1 while for others it concerns the overarching themes of the Old Testament (the Hebrew Bible).2 In this chapter we are not interested in the debate on what methodology Old Testament theology should take. ...

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Chapter Four: A Survey of the New Testament

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pp. 69-88

The place of the New Testament (or the Bible in general) in African Christianity cannot be overemphasized. Writing about the place of the Bible in Africa, South African theologian, Gerald O. West says, “— the Bible is meaning and powerful both opened and closed.”1 ...

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Chapter Five: Major Themes in the New Testament

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pp. 89-106

This study is an introduction to the New Testament. It focuses on the major themes found across the twenty-seven New Testament writings. These have been chosen for their theological significance. There are in fact too many major themes in the New Testament to deal with adequately within this chapter alone. ...

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Chapter Six: Religion, Race, Gender and Identity

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pp. 107-114

Racism is a concept based on the assumption that an aggregate of descendants of a common ancestral origin have superior characteristics, coupled with a belief in their right to dominate others who differ decisively from their own distinct identity traits. ...

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Chapter Seven: Reading and Understanding the Bible as an African

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pp. 115-136

One of the most contentious issues in the missionary field over the years has been the relationship between the Bible and African culture. In a number of instances, the Bible has been set against everything and anything African, on the assumption that the African way of life is ungodly and evil ...

Part Two: Theology

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Chapter Eight: Introduction to Christian Theology: Its Tasks and Methods

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pp. 139-162

Theology is as important, challenging and interesting as any other academic subject. If taken seriously, it can be very enriching, exciting and useful. This chapter introduces students to the study of Christian Theology as an academic discipline, and attempts to answer some of the common questions about theology and its use in society. ...

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Chapter Nine: African Theology: A Contextual Analysis of Zimbabwe

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pp. 163-176

This paper seeks to explore the contribution of African scholarship to African theology in Zimbabwe. It starts with a brief history of the church in Zimbabwe, describing the missionary incursion in the country. It then tracks the growth and development of African theology in pre- and post-independence contexts ...

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Chapter Ten: Rethinking the Role of Liberation Theology

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pp. 177-200

The question as to whether or not Liberation theology is relevant today remains a significant problem area for many people. The difficulty is brought about by the end of the wars of freedom and subsequent attainment of political independence by the former colonies. ...

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Chapter Eleven: Major Themes in Black Theology

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pp. 201-212

‘Black Theology refers to an aspect of the rather recent theological genre known as Liberation Theology’.1 It is the kind of Christian Liberation Theology that is historically associated with the oppressed Black people mainly of USA and South Africa.2 ...

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Chapter Twelve: What is in a Name?-Forging a Theoretical Framework for African Women’s Theologies

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pp. 213-228

Feminism has become the shorthand for the proclamation that women’s experiences should become an integral part of what goes into the definition of being a human. It highlights the woman’s world and her worldview as she struggles side by side with the man to realize her full potential as a human being ...

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Chapter Thirteen: Theology of African Independent Churches

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pp. 229-248

This chapter discusses the theology of the African Independent Churches (AICs) in Southern Africa. It focuses on Southern Africa with references to the whole of Africa. The chapter argues that there has been a theological shift in the AICs, defined in three stages: anti-missionary, collaborative/ecumenical, and modern. ...

Part Three: Religious Studies

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Chapter Fourteen: Introduction to Religious Studies

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pp. 251-262

Religious Studies as an academic discipline is a systematic effort by scholars and researchers to investigate religion and religious phenomena, applying other methods used in the study of such disciplines as humanities and social sciences as well as those exclusively used in theology.1 ...

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Chapter Fifteen: Phenomenology of Religion

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pp. 263-282

Despite the availability of different approaches,1 phenomenology of religion has been quite popular in the academic study of religion. This is particularly true of the study of religion in Africa. Many departments of religious studies in Africa offer phenomenology of religion as a course, especially to students who are in their first year at university. ...

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Chapter Sixteen: African Traditional Religions in Contemporary Africa: Challenges and Prospects

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pp. 283-312

The teaching of African Traditional Religion is now firmly established in a number of universities, theological colleges, Secondary Schools and, in some instances, as is the case in Botswana, Primary Schools as well. Let me hasten to say that in this chapter I have chosen to use the term African Traditional Religion (ATR) in the singular ...

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Chapter Seventeen: Christianity in Africa in the 20th Century

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pp. 313-342

The chapter investigates Christianity in the 20th century when Africa became central to global Christianity. Various themes will be examined in a variety of regional contexts. The chapter will, among other things, explore African indigenous/ initiated/independent churches that have indigenized Christianity ...

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Chapter Eighteen: Africa’s Muslims: Expressing Their Religious Identity

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pp. 343-380

Africa is a vibrant religious continent that is in Mbiti’s1 words ‘notoriously religious’. For many generations, the African Continent has been and remains the home of diverse linguistic communities, rich cultures and a variety of minor and major religions. ...

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Chapter Nineteen: Hinduism and Buddhism: An Introduction

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pp. 381-396

Over one billion people throughout the world follow the religions of Hinduism and Buddhism.2 This is significant for scholars of religion because a large percentage of the world’s population considers the views of these two Asian religions as true; ...

Part Four: Philosophy

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Chapter Twenty: A General Introduction to Philosophy: Its Tasks and Methods

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pp. 399-414

This work is largely a result of experience, spanning close to a decade, of teach ing an introductory course on philosophy at an African University. The primary aim of the chapter is to introduce the discipline to students who have never studied it formally, and who have been made by history to despise African cultures.1 ...

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Chapter Twenty One: Logic, Critical Thinking, and Science

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pp. 415-436

Critical thinking embodies the process and product of thinking correctly both within a formal academic enterprise and within the informal situations of eve ryday life. Such correct thinking is usually the product of effective identification, consideration and evaluation of information, ...

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Chapter Twenty Two: Introduction to Epistemology

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pp. 437-456

Philosophy has four main branches, namely, logic, epistemology, metaphysics and ethics. The first three branches are usually described as being speculative, and it is precisely due to their abstractness that novices in philosophy find them hard to understand. This chapter is confined to epistemology. ...

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Chapter Twenty Three: African Philosophy

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pp. 457-494

African Philosophy has had a curious history and, as a discipline, has under gone many changes over a period of three quarters of a century. It didn’t start out as “Philosophy” proper, because to ascribe philosophy and philosophic capacity to the progeny of enslaved, colonized, oppressed and BLACK peoples ...

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Chapter Twenty Four: Moral Theories

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pp. 495-516

Moral Philosophy or Ethics is one of the main branches of Philosophy, the others being Metaphysics, Epistemology and Logic. It is part of axiology, which is the study of values. Being a branch of philosophy, moral philosophy partly depends on or utilises some of the arguments from the other areas of philosophy. ...

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Chapter Twenty Five: Applied Ethics

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pp. 517-538

In this Chapter, we shall first define philosophy and show how ethics generally relates to philosophy. Thereafter, we shall then give a specific working definition of applied ethics. This is because a good grasp of what philosophy is will enable the reader to easily understand ethics generally and applied ethics in particular. ...

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Chapter Twenty Six: Philosophical Metaphysics in Africa

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pp. 539-554

In broad terms, metaphysics as a branch of philosophy is preoccupied with several perplexing and seemingly perennial questions concerning the structure of reality. More specific definitions of philosophical metaphysics depend on individual approach to the discipline of philosophy itself. ...


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pp. 555-590

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pp. 591-594

James N. Amanze:Associate Professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Botswana with specialization in systematic theology with reference to the Bible and African Culture. ...

Index of Personal Names

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pp. 595-599

Index of Subjects

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pp. 600-606

Back cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789966040244
Print-ISBN-13: 9789966734129

Page Count: 614
Publication Year: 2012