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Introduction Introduction I t has always been my desire to reflect on the debate that has been going on, in Africa concerning the relationship between the African culture and the Bible. Why are African Christians becoming increasingly superficial? This debate has not been entertained even though it is right at our door step. Engaging in such a debate is a challenging task. This issue has been ignored and we seem most of the time unaware of it. Recently, I have been lecturing African theology, Biblical studies, Philosophy and Political science in a number of institutions around Nairobi, Kenya. Some of my students have been insisting that African Christians must have a complete transformation from their culture into the Christian Culture (Biblical). On the contrary, others insist that we ought to have a complete transformation from Christianity to our African culture. First, I thought it was naïve for University students to hold that opinion. It is impossible to abandon one’s culture for another culture. However, it is possible to incorporate new cultures, thereby making our culture dynamic. As a result of a heated debate in the lecture halls, I decided to write this book as an attempt to engage in this debate in a more scholarly manner. I have expounded on African culture and philosophy and shown how it relates to Christianity. I have also discussed the future of biblical hermeneutics and theology inAfrica. The setting for this reflection is providential, for it comes at a time whenAfrican biblical scholarship is in need of a paradigm shift. It is providential because we have the advantage of relating the African culture to specific teachings in the Bible. It is my hope that the insights shared here will project the discipline of Christian theology, especially A Transaction between the African Culture and the Bible hermeneutics and exegesis, beyond the parameters to which many of us are accustomed. This Introduction summarises all major arguments in the book in order to bring out the real issues of contention. Here an introduction of the main theme of the book is spelt out. The main task of this Introduction is to inform the reader of what to expect and set the tone for the arguments. Chapter 1 reflects on theAfrican culture and the Bible. It defines what we mean by culture, both fromAfrican and biblical perspectives. It reflects on culture as a tool of civilization and also demonstrates the possibilities and limitations of dialogue between the African culture and the Bible. The main purpose of this chapter is to demonstrate that the encounter between the Bible andAfrica is not a one-way affair: from Bible toAfrica. Both of them could alternate their roles from subject to object, because none of them has remained static. The culture1 of apeople is dynamic. There are no people without cultural heritage. One interesting thing within theAfrican culture is that it is similar in almost all areas, hence an outline of the three common areas for intercultural dialogue. Due to the diversity of the cultures of the African people, Chapter 2 outlines the culture of the Kikuyu people as an example of African culture. It explains who the Kikuyu people are, their location, religion as well as their way of life. It is impossible to deal withAfrican culture without being specific due to diversity of life in Africa. This is because though African culture is rich, it is not uniform. It has similarities, but there are also differences from one place to another and from one community to another. Then chapter three deals with the mapping of the transaction between the African culture and the Bible. This is juxtaposing the two. It argues that,Africa will no longer be acted upon, but is herself ________________________________________ 1 This word may specifically refer to the African way of life in terms of acting, behaving, and knowledge of the people manifested in art, music, dance, drama, housing, clothing, spiritual as well as governance. 2 Introduction an actor. Also, the Bible is no longer the agent, but is the object of the actions of both ordinary and academic readers.2 It outlines the development of the transaction in order to demonstrate that the dialogue has been going on for quite a long time. Here, an historical overview of this development is outlined to demonstrate that Christianity was planted on theAfrican soil and watered byAfrican rivers and that without these two it would definitely dry up. Hence chapter four outlines an interesting theme concerning the...


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