On-line version ISSN 2412-4265
Print version ISSN 1017-0499
Studia Hist. Ecc. vol.40 n.1 Pretoria May. 2014
Balcomb, A. 2014. Journey into the African sun: Soundings in search of another way of being in the world. Pretoria: Research Institute for Theology and Religion, ix + 191 pages. ISBN 978-1-86888-761-3. R140-00; $25.00; £15.00; €18.00.
Reviewer: Prof GA Duncan, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa.
This book purports to be about 'soundings' about an alternative means of existence in the world, the African world. It is a collection of papers. and published articles that adhere to the central theme. It is a personal reflection and so it is, to a degree, a subjective struggle. It is honest and reveals a theologian who is constantly questioning his own being-in-the-world in South Africa, a by no means easy task for a white person in these days.
Unfortunately, the title of the book reflects little of its contents. It is primarily about the European Enlightenment, a recurring theme, which, it is claimed, detracted from and continues to detract from the formation of an authentic African worldview, if there is such a thing. Despite serious attempts, the author fails to take the leap out of his own European worldview even when he is discussing African thinkers, such as Kwame Bediako who is given pride of place among a growing cohort of African philosophers and theologians. While he delves deeply into the thinking of European and American thinkers, it almost seems as if he is afraid to engage with their distinguished African counterparts at a similar level. For instance, the now somewhat dated book by N Chabani Manganyi, Being-black-in-the-world(1973), could have been a valuable resource. In chapter six, where he discusses shifting the paradigm from a Euro-centric paradigm to an African paradigm for theological education, he fails to recognise that paradigms arise out of the particular context and are not imposed; they grow imperceptibly for a period before they are recognised as newly established models. Nonetheless, the author gets nearest to an African approach to being-in-the-world in chapter eight where he discusses various Eastern Cape responses to Christian colonialisation. This could have provided one innovative means of engaging with being-in-the-world from an oppressed African perspective. Yet, he continues to quote from scholars outside the black community when, for example, Tiyo Soga is, through his own writings, well able to speak for himself, but is never afforded the opportunity to do so.
When discussing development, Balcomb acknowledges the tensions that arise from attempts to define it, but struggles to understand that development is an intensely theological matter, despite what, for instance, social science authors say, aiming at the fullness of life for all, and a material and spiritual telos.
One of the biggest problems of putting together a book from various writings produced for other purposes is the lack of consistency. Explanations and critique of the Enlightenment abound, all from a Euro-centric perspective, become rather tedious to read and re-read. Worse still is the tendency to include articles/papers in their entirety without subjecting them to the editing process. For example, on pages 87 and 171, the same words are repeated in two different papers. On page 162, following a reference to Sartre: 1948 there is a note reading 'reference to be ascertained'.
Upon reading the title of this book on its flyer, I was excited and hopeful that we could have something substantial here to grapple with, written from a non-westem perspective. I have been sadly disappointed, although I am much more clued up about the European Enlightenment and its impact on Africa.
Cook, John Granger 2010. Roman altitudes toward the Christians from Claudius to Hadrian.WUNT 261. Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck. Xv + 363 pp., cloth. ISBN 978-3-16-150553-9. Price: €99.00.
Reviewer: Prof Dr Christoph Stenschke, Biblisch-Theologische Akademie Wiedenest and Department of Ancient and Biblical Studies, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa.
With an entire range of imperial or anti-imperial interpretations of various New Testament texts, the early Christian attitude towards the Roman Empire and the impact that Rome had on the early Jesus movement have been at the forefront of New Testament scholarship in the past decade. However, what did the Romans, or at least some of them, make of early Christianity? When and how did Roman authors note and write about Christians? The present, well-researched monograph deals with these questions and offers an in-depth study of the earliest interaction between Roman authorities and Christians. This is important for our understanding of the earliest Christian history, it may impinge on the interpretation of some New Testament texts like the Gospel of Mark, 1 Peter and the Book of Revelation, and it also sheds light on Roman policy towards religious minorities or new movements.
In the "Introduction" (1-10), Cook describes the scope of the inquiry, the perils involved ("Scholars of NT and early Christianity should tread the fields of Roman literature, history, law, archaeology and inscriptions with caution", If) and the necessity of dealing with this subject:
For those interested in the NT and ancient Christianity a fresh reading of some well-known Roman sources offers insights into the conflict that sometimes developed between Roman magistrates and the Christian faithful. Theologians sometimesread the material too quickly. The payoff for the field of NT can be immense for the "slow reader" (2)
In order to understand the relationship between the Romans and the Christians, Cook uses the concept of "othering": "There were some Roman intellectuals and officials who viewed ('constructed') the Christians as 'the other' - a novum that they comprehended with difficulty" (2). Cook further discusses the problem of fact and fiction in the Roman perception of Christians, and notes that "once Christianity, in the eyes of the Romans, separated from Judaism and began converting pagans that some Romans quickly began to suspect that Christianity had the potential of tearing the fabric of Roman society apart. 'Atheism' and 'atheists' are an important part of the Roman 'construct' of Christianity" (4). This can be seen in statements of the Roman satirist Lucian and the social conservative Celsus (4-9).
Chapter one studies the Roman emperor Claudius and the Christians (11-28). It examines Chrestus mentioned by Suetonius and his relation to Jews and Christians, Claudius' relations with the Jews (see their expulsion from Rome, Acts 18:1-3), the identity of Chrestus, the date given by Orosius for the events and the tradition in Cassius Dio. Cook concludes:
We know from Acts and the Pauline epistles that there were conflicts in the Jewish Community over Christ. If Suetonius understood Chrestus to be the "author of the Christian superstition", then Chrestus was a troublemaker - in Suetonius' eyes. That would help explain Suetonius' lack of compassion for the Christians (of a "new and maleficent superstition") that Nero punished. A reliable result ... is that by the time Paul wrote Romans 16, Nero had cancelled Claudius' decree (28).
Chapter two'sfocus is on Nero and the Christians (29-111). Cook first surveys the pagan sources (IG VII, 2713and Nero as Zeus Liberator), then he discusses Nero's traces in the New Testament and then, in great detail, the well-known text of Roman historian Tacitus (Ann. 15.44) regarding the fire of Rome and Nero's persecution of the Christians and the persecution according to Suetonius. Cook also examines Christian authors on this persecution (Tertullian) and Peter, Paul and other martyrs of Nero; Peter, Mark and Tacitus; Nero and Revelation (Nero as an interpretive reference point in Revelation, the worship of Nero and the worship of the beast).
Chapter three moves on to Domitian and the Christians (112-137), reflecting first on the imperial ideology of the time (architecture, the emperor as Dominus et Deus,inscriptional evidence). Then Cook examines the ancient evidence of the persecution of Christians under Domitian (Bruttius, Cassius Dio, Suetonius, maiestasand atheism, Domitian and anti-Judaism, Dio, Judaism and Flavia Domitilla, political grounds for the trials against his relatives), discussing in closing whether there is evidence of trials of Christians in Domitian's principate (1 Clement, Pliny's trials of the Christians). There is no evidence of major persecution of Christians under Domitian, and he also persecuted some elite Romans who were sympathetic to Judaism. Thus, the Domitianic dating of documents that may reflect persecution, such as 1 Peter and Revelation, is highly questionable.
The most extensive fourth chapterfocuses on Trajan and the Christians (138-251). Most of the chapter is devoted to the analysis of the correspondence between Roman official, Pliny, and emperor, Trajan: Pliny's career, Pliny in Bithynia, the text of the letter to Trajan and Trajan's response, the question of extraordinary procedure in Roman trials, the rhetorical structure and nature of the letter, Pliny's trials of Christians and earlier trials, the judicial investigation and punishments for Christians, flagitia, the nomen Christianorum, the executions, obstinacy and contumacy, madness, charges, anonymous pamphlets, prayers and supplications, the use of incense and wine and of statues/images of Trajan and the gods, sacrificial meals, evidence for Christian "revenge", reviling Christ, informers and apostates, the former guilt and error of the apostates, Christian meetings before daylight on a certain day, singing to Christ, Christus and maiestas, the oath of the Christians, common and harmless food, associations, the torture of the ministrae, the corrupt and immoderate superstition, suspended trials, the growth of Christianity and its repression, temples and their revenues, Trajan's response, "supplication of our Gods" as a proof of "repentance" and toleration of the Jews. Next Cook examines the persecution of Christians in 1 Peter (capital sentences, arguments against a background in Trajan's reign; however, "Thus 'Christian' in 1 Pet 4:16 is not just an insult but also an 'indictment' or 'charge' in the eyes of some Romans", 246). The same questions are raised regarding Revelation. Cook concludes:
Pliny's correspondence remains a powerful witness to the attitudes of a cultured and decent Roman governor seeking to understand and cope with a religious phenomenon that he believed had been responsible for emptying the temples. The source of the problem was the "corrupt and immoderate superstition". Pliny's letter indicates that the primary opposition was between worship of Christ as a god and reverence for the Roman gods. Trajan agreed with him and made a sharp contrast between Christians and those who were willing to "supplicate our gods" ... For both Pliny and Trajan, Christianity was outside the bounds of acceptable religious practice. It did not have the traditional protections enjoyed by the Jewish community who could claim to be an ancient nation ... There is an analogy between the Christians' experience at Pliny's hands and Domitian's treatment of certain upper rank Romans who apparently abandoned their religion for that of the Jews during his principate and whom he accused of atheism. Pliny probably viewed the Christians as individuals who had abandoned their Roman faith, as did the later critics such as Celsus, Porphyry, and Julian. This attitude had long-term consequences for Christianity. Hadrian followed in Trajan's footsteps, as did many of their successors. The history of this period ... illuminates the cultural conflict that ancient Christians had to cope with occasionally until the peace of Constantine (2S0f).
Chapter five is devoted to Hadrian and the Christians (252-280). Of particular interest is Hadrian's rescript to the governor of Asia Minor concerning Christians. Cooks treatment includes Q. Licinius Silvanus Granianus and C. Minicius Fundanus, the governor's addresses, Hadrian's travels and image, martyrdoms under Hadrian, the text of this rescript in Justin and Rufinus, the interpretation of Hadrian's Epistula,the question of the council of Asia, Hadrian's humanity, prosecution and punishment of informers and the correct legal procedures against accused Christians. Cook defends the authenticity of the rescript according to which
... the accuser had to prove to the court that the accused had acted against the laws - the necessary proof was precisely the confession of Christianity ... Hadrian's insistence on strict procedure, however, probably saved many Christians' lives. The paucity of evidence that Hadrian's magistrates put Christians to death is a strong argument for this contention. Suetonius and Tacitus, however, were both probably writing their texts about the Christians during Hadrian's time, and both certainly believed that convicted Christians deserved punishment. This belief coheres well with Hadrian's rescript (279f).
At the end of the volume, Cook briefly summarises the evidence for Christian attitudes towards pagans (281-287) and Jews (287-290). Cook concludes that "Christianity was a 'charge (or crime) of religion' in the minds of some imperial magistrates (the crimen nominis Christianorum).The emperors and governors were easily able to use the legal apparatus to pursue the Christians when they chose, just as they could occasionally use the legal apparatus to help Christians avoid prosecution" (292). Cook notes:
The first attitudes toward the Christians between the reigns of Claudius to that of Hadrian were the germ of the future ... The prophecy of Matt 10:22 showed itself to be true with alarming regularity in the next centuries. Roman "constructions" of Christians as "the other", in the intermittent attacks that followed are analogous perhaps to the unfortunately repeated attempts in history whenever a dominant group in a society seeks to demonize a minority (293).
Pliny and Trajan probably began to perceive the real danger that Christianity posed to the Roman social order, itself founded in so many ways on the cohesiveness of its gods, temple cults, public sacrifices, city festivals, games, liturgical calendars, emperor worship and so on. Pliny and Trajan were both decent people, but undoubtedly, like Tacitus, they could see that the elimination of accused Christian believers served the "public utility" - the perceived good of the Roman community.
Bibliography and various indexes close the volume. A paperback edition of the volume was published in 2011 (ISBN 978-3-16-150954-4).
Cook has offered a detailed and by and large persuasive critical analysis of the ancient data. His focus is on the Roman attitudesprimarily (3). The questions of how representative the Roman "construction" of Christianity is, are not the main focus ("... my purpose is to consider Roman thought with regard to the Christians - particularly the thought of Roman officials", 4). In his discussion of NT texts, strong arguments for the early dating of some NT books are not noted sufficiently. Cook rightly notes that the subject constitutes an interesting test case of dominant majorities (or individuals and minorities?) demonising others and perceiving them to be a threat to the fabric of the society which they cherish and seek to preserve.
Cook occasionally mentions the treatment, which the Jews of the ancient world experienced from Rome (see index s.v. "Synagogue"). While some members of the Roman elites with Jewish inclinations were persecuted (127-131), by and large, the Jews fared better under Roman rule, as "The Christians were a 'sect', not a 'nation' like the ancient Jews" (291); for a detailed survey see E.M. Smallwood, The Jews under Roman Rule from Pompey to Diocletian: A Study in Political Relations, 2 ed. (Boston, Leiden: Brill, 2001). While the early Christians in some ways benefitted from being considered an entity of their own rather than a subdivision of Judaism (e.g. in the aftermath of the Jewish rebellions in 66-73 and 132 135 AD with the Roman imposition of the particular fiscus ludaicus, etc.), the present volume indicates that they also paid a high price for this Roman perception. Although such a perception obviously depended on the Roman assessment and also on Jewish attempts to distance themselves from an increasingly Gentile-dominated early Christianity, one wonders whether early Christianity would have fared differently (and perhaps better), had it emphasised its continuity with Judaism, rather than distancing itself from its mother religion, at times in vitriolic fashion, as was often the case. For a survey see E. Kessler, An Introduction to Jewish-Christian Relations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).
The relevant sources (Greek, Latin with German translation), including all patristic sources, can be found in P. Guyot and R. Klein, Das friihe Christentum bis zum Ende der Verfolgungen: Erne Dokumentation Band I: Die Christen im heidnischen Staat (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buch-gesellschaft, 1997).
Gathogo, Julius 2011. The pangs of birth in African Christianity: essays in commemoration of one hundred years of Mutira Anglican Mission (1912-2012). Saarbriicken, Germany: LAP Lambert Academic Publishing. ISBN: 978-3-8443-0606-4. 476 pages. Price: No price quoted.
Reviewer: Dr Catherine Nyambura Mwihia, University of Kabianga, Kericho, KENYA.
As the author says, The pangs of birth in African Christianity: essays in commemoration of one hundred years of Mutira Anglican Mission (1912-2012),traces the growth of protestant Christianity since 1844 when Ludwig Krapf, a German missionary working for the English body, Church Missionary Society, reached the East African Coast with the sole aim of converting local people to Christianity. The book has successfully demonstrated how the European missionaries of the 19th and 20th century in East Africa managed to make a minuscule village in Kenya, Mutira, to appear in the map of the world after Christianity was introduced by the European missionaries at the beginning of the 20th century CE. In other words, peoples' lifestyles were permanently changed. The book has revealed inner fine details on the pangs of birth in African Christianity. In particular, cultural conflicts, boardroom disagreements among church leaders especially among the Anglicans in particular, the ecumenical challenges, the denial and struggles against patriarchy as some people in the 1980s sought women ordination among other pangs of birth of Christianity.
The book is divided into 3 parts. Part one deals with the birth of Christianity in Africa. Part two deals with essays with essays on: "Histories on the Pangs of the Birth of African Christianity." The essays include: "Ecumenical endeavours", "women ordination debates", and "missionaries and colonial authorities" among others. And the last section, part 3, deals with Essays that addresses on: "Contemporary Concerns in African Christianity." Such concerns include suffering, neo-colonialism, poverty, disease, violence, xenophobia, identity crisis, negative ethnicity, inculturation, ecumenism, reconstruction and reconciliation among others.
The book is further divided into seventeen solid chapters. The first two chapters cover almost half of the entire book; and constitute the first part of the 3 sections book. The beauty of the book is the author's optimism that African Christianity has the capacity to effectively address theo-social and theo-philosophical challenges facing post colonial Africa. And by sampling Mutira village in Kenya, as a case study, the book shows that the early Christian missionaries had a task to carry out, especially when dealing with culture and Gospel.
The weakness with the book is that while it starts as a pure history book, in its first and second part, it ends, in its last section with theological analysis on contemporary African challenges such as xenophobia, afro-biblical hermeneutics, histories of African women's theologies among others; thereby rendering it a theo-socio-historical book. Nevertheless, this could have weakened it as a historical treatise; while at the same time giving it a wider appeal. It is recommendable to researchers of diverse shades particularly on African histories, theologies, anthropologies, sociologies - in tertiary institutions and universities.
Kelly GB. & Nelson FB. 2002. The cost of moral leadership: the spirituality of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. xvii +300 pages. ISBN 978-0-8028-0511-9. Price: $26.00; £17.99.
Reviewer: Prof Graham Duncan, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa.
This is a fascinating new contribution to studies on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Although it was published a few years ago, it has not yet received the recognition it so richly deserves. It moves in a racy, yet not hasty matter, and deals with the enormous scope of Bonhoeffer's theological and pastoral interests, which reveal a truly authentic and integrated life. Simply written, it helps beginners, especially, to integrate Bonhoeffer's distinctive theology, which has set a style and standard for the decades up to the end of, and even after, the twentieth century.
In her Foreword, Renate Bethge makes it clear that for Bonhoeffer, theology and ethics were inseparable, and in the preface the authors link this to the threat of a living, active faith under pressure from an ideology which threatens Christianity and civilisation. In this, Bonhoeffer demonstrated exemplary moral leadership as the basis for his spirituality. This was demonstrated in his statement in Discipleship, 'Wherever Christ calls us, his call leads us to death'. Few are prepared to follow as Bonhoeffer did - to the end. This was the meeting place of his theology and ethics - the cross of Christ.
Chapter one is devoted to Dietrich Bonhoeffer's life and martyrdom. In many earlier attempts, we came face to face with the authentic Bonhoeffer as someone we can identify with even if we cannot emulate his sense of responsibility and commitment. Despite his innovative approach to theology, he was a strong adherent to the value of tradition, which enabled him to move imperceptibly from lecturer to pastor to seminary teacher. The second chapter considers the ground of his spirituality in Christ, which is manifested in prayer and action for justice. This is forged in the context of the increasing brutality of the Nazi regime in the 1930s Germany towards the Jews in particular. It is a contextual practical theology. Bonhoeffer is deeply critical of the church of his day and this thinking is mirrored in the South African context in Steve Biko's trenchant critique of the role of the church in apartheid in South Africa. The key to his christo-centric spirituality is solidarity with the suffering. Prophetic leadership is the core of chapter three. This is again grounded in a challenge to the heretical Reich Church based in the power of the Word of God through the teaching of the Holy Spirit, which led to a dual response of building up individual relationships and a community that represents Jesus Christ to the world. This is communion with God. Chapter four develops this theme with a discussion of Bonhoeffer's spirituality of liberation, exemplified in solidarity with the oppressed.
Chapter five moves into the vexed realm of Bonhoeffer's moral leadership and the centrality of his progressive stand from the ideal of pacifism to violence, representing one of the eternal paradoxes of his thinking. Here he struggled with his practical sense of responsibility for the victim of the Nazi regime, linked to the forgiving power of Christ. Even in the contest between conscience and concrete responsibility, the free decision must be made for Christ. On one ground there was to be no compromise -only peace with social justice represented in Christ. When the authors raise the matter of a comparison between this situation and contemporary terrorism in the USA, we are faced with constant questions regarding who is the source of evil and whose evil is original - the chicken or the egg? Christ moves even more to the crux of Bonhoeffer's spirituality in chapter six. Our ultimate relationship to Christ is obedience through service as the essence of faith. His sense of moral leadership is directed by the Beatitudes whose foundation is paradoxical, a theme of his theological method. Chapter seven takes up Bonhoeffer's strong sense of community as the foundation of spiritual life. This arises out of God's identity with humanity throughout history and was grounded in the student community he forged at Finkenwald. There is a natural progression to God's vulnerability in chapter eight. An excellent chapter nine follows, based in a valuable analysis of Bonhoeffer's sermons, and the concluding chapter gives us some insight into his spiritual position through his prayers and poems. Then follows a section on discussion questions.
Written by two long-term scholars committed to Bonhoeffer's prime focus on the gospel of Christ in action, this book will become a leading reference to Bonhoeffer's studies in years to come. This is the best book on Bonhoeffer I have ever read and is certainly the next best thing to reading Bonhoeffer himself.
Phiri, Isabel Apawo Phiri & Werner, Dietrich (eds.) 2013. Handbook of Theological Education in Africa. Regnum Studies in Global Christianity. Oxford: Regnum Books International. Xlii + 1110 pages, hardbound. ISBN 978-1 -908355-19-5. Price: £48.97.
Reviewer: Prof Dr Christoph Stenschke, Biblisch-Theologische Akademie Wiedenest and Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa.
The present large format - a substantial volume of more than 1 100 pages -can hardly be reviewed: it consists of 113 contributions and covers a wide range of subjects in six parts, each of which is a collection of essays of its own. Interaction with individual essays is impossible or the focus will be on the first part as it addresses issues in the history of theological education in Africa.
The volume opens with several forewords that are autobiographical in nature (personal experiences with theological education in Africa or the lack thereof) and address the fundamental issue in theological education in the African context. The authors are John Mbiti (Uganda and Switzerland, xv-xvii); Andre Karamaga (xviiif, Rwanda, General Secretary of the All-Africa Conference of Churches); H. Russel Botman (xx, South Africa); Olav Fykse Tveit (xxi-xxii, Norway, General Secretary of the WCC in Geneva); Mercy Oduyoye (xxiii-xxii, Ghana, with a focus on women as subjects of theological education) and Denise Ackermann (xxv-xxvi, South Africa).
The "Editorial" (xxvii-xxxiii) of this first published Handbook summarises the origin and development of this major task and achievement. It lists the five major goals which the project endeavours to meet:
- To provide regional surveys of the developments and recent challenges of theological education in the different regions of Africa
- To identify some key common themes and challenges for the future of theological education in Africa
- To describe the different and newly emerging forms of theological education in Africa (TEE, church-related colleges, secular universities, Christian universities, distant-learning institutions) to provide more visibility and a comprehensive mapping of theological education institutions in Africa
- To accompany the process of revitalizing associations of institutions of theological education by creating a common platform and presenting TE developments in Africa, which will be crucial for both churches within Africa and their support for TE, as well as for relating to partners outside Africa (xxvii).
Some of the major issues that became clear in the conception and production of the volume are summarised as follows in the editorial (xxviii-xxix):
1. Growing Christianity in Africa needs well-informed and biblically sound theological education and formation of its priests, ministers and church leaders ... It is expected that Africa will have 600 million Christians by the year 2025. Yet, the theological institutions are not producing enough ministers to provide leadership for this growing church. In some cases, we have a situation of one minister being responsible for around 7 000 church members.
2. The issue of the social, political and public relevance of Christian theology on the African continent. Theological education in its varied forms is absolutely vital not only for the future of African Christianity and for future African church leaders, but also for the social and political witness of Christian churches in African nations and for informed political and prophetic witness in civil society. This is due to the fact that Christian churches are often a major, or the only, partner in civil society in the African continent...
3. The work for strengthening collaboration and quality standards for theological education through the work of regional associations of theological schools, which has re-started in the new century, supported by both WCC and the All-Africa Conference of Churches, has great potential...
4. Churches of different denominational traditions on the African continent can learn from each other and complement each other in their understanding and practice in theological education. The formation of a new style and commitment of ecumenical cooperation in theological education in Africa is needed urgently against tendencies for each denominational tradition to only seek its own advantage ...
5. Women contributed greatly to African theological wisdom, knowledge and expertise in theological research, particularly in areas that are vital for the very survival of humanity in Africa, such as issues of HIV and AIDS, gender and overcoming violence. Only good scholarly collaboration between men and women in African theological education can pave the way for a brighter future.
6. Another major issue is proper exposure to theological materials produced by African theologians and religious scholars. This project proves that African theologians are writing relevant theological materials to equip African church leaders to face African challenges. Unfortunately, many theological institutions do not regard the buying of books and journals from the continent itself as a priority. As a result, their libraries are full of donated books from the global north that address contextual theological questions from other contexts, which the African church itself is not asking ...
7. The vastness and size of the African continent also implies that it is not easy for those working (for instance) in a context such as Egypt to know what is going on in a context like that one DRC or Namibia. Thus, African theological education, while emphasising the continued need for "contextualisation" of theology and theological curricula in the different cultural and national contexts, also has to strengthen "intercontex-tuality" in theological education today, that is, proper understanding and partnership relationships with other forms of Christian traditions in different social, national and cultural settings in different settings of the same continent and beyond.
The editors also note some of the shortcomings of the volume and some thematic gaps (xxixf). Drawing on the studies of Thomas C. Oden (How Africa shaped the Christian mind), the editors express, toward the end of the editorial, their hope that this Handbook will promote the formation of a new kind of African ecumenism. The Handbook "underlines not only the historical depth and tradition theological scholarship on the African continent, but also its cultural and geographical breadth and broadness" (xxx). The Handbook should therefore
- contribute to the preparation for this new ecumenism in African theological education
- facilitate better networking between African theological researchers and educators within the continent and beyond
- create more working relationships between institutions of theological education and research in different regions of the African continent
- support the visibility and public recognition of the relevance of Christian theology and religious studies in higher education on the African continent
- help to enrich theological curricula and courses by using the multitude of selected thematic bibliographies added to each of the articles brought together here
- increase and encourage strategic dialogue between the leadership of African churches, and institutions and theological education on the future of ministerial formation and Christian lay training on the African continent
- encourage the younger generations of African theologians to enter into the world of theological discourse and to make their voices heard with regard to contextual African theological reflection
- enable many institutions of theological education to meet the current needs of both African churches and societies for responsible religious leaders
- contribute to the development of proper and contextual ly relevant forms of international partnerships for theological faculty development and research with theological education institutions on the African continent (which would strengthen African resources and programmes and avoid brain drain and too long periods of cultural estrangement in international PhD projects) (xxxif).
This is followed by the list of the 100 contributors to the volume (xxxv-xlii).
Part one is devoted to the history of theological education in Africa. It contains the following essays: Andrew Walls (Scotland/USA). Theological Education from its earliest Jewish and African Christian beginnings - some currents in the wider history of Christianity (3-12); John S. Pobee (Ghana).
Good News Turned by Native Hands, Turned by Native Hatchets and Tendered with Native Earth - A History of Theological Education in Africa (13-27); Julius Gathogo (Kenya). Historical Developments of Theological Education in Eastern Africa - The Example of Julius Krapf (28-46); Dyron Daughrity (California, USA). Bishop Stephen Neill, the IMC and the State of African Theological Education in 1950 (47-63); Nyambura J. Njoroge (Kenya, Switzerland). Ecumenical Theological Education and the Church in Africa Today (64-69); Dietrich Werner (Germany, Switzerland). Viability and Ecumenical Perspectives for Theological Education in Africa: Legacy and New Beginnings as seen from ETEJWCC (70-83); Tharcisse Gatwa (Rwanda). The Cross-cultural mission: An Agenda for Theological Education in Africa (84-99); James Kombo (Kenya). The past and presence of Christian theology in African universities (100-107); Bill Houston (South Africa). The Future Is Not What It Used To Be: Changes and choices facing theological education in Africa (108-116); Jesse Mugambi (Kenya). The future of Theological Education in Africa and the Challenges it Faces (117-125).
Part two offers a number of regional surveys of theological education in different African contexts: Richard Hart (Jordan). Evangelical Theological Education in the Middle East and North Africa (129-145); Kwabena Asamoah Gyadu (Ghana). Theological Education in West Africa (146-153); Christopher Byaruhanga (Uganda). Theological Education in East Africa (154-163); Desta Heiiso (Ethiopia) Theological Education in Ethiopia (164-174); Tharcisse Gatwa (Rwanda). Theological Education in Francophone Africa (175-192); Simon Dossou (Senegal/Kenya), Un tour d'horizon des Facultes de theologie de francophone Afrique (193-217); Luciano Chianeque (Angola) Theological Education in Angola and Mozambique (218-222); James Amanze (Malawi/Botswana). Theological Education in Southern Africa (223-233); Laurent W. Ramambason. Theological Education and Ministerial Formation in Madagascar (234-238); Christina Landmann (South Africa). Theological Education in South Africa (239-245) and Afe Adogame (Nigeria/Scotland). If God Is For Us, Who Can Be Against Us? Theologising Survival: Hope and Mobility in the African Christian Diaspora (246-259).
Part three consists of denominational perspectives on theological education in Africa. It offers the following articles: Wedad Tawfik (Egypt). Theological Education in the Coptic Orthodox Church (The Church of Alexandria) (263-280); Ayalkibet Berhann Tesfaye (Ethiopia/South Africa). The Ethiopian Orthodox Church Tewahedo Church and its Traditional Theological Education System (281-291); John Cosmas Njoroge (Kenya). Theological Training and Formation in the Eastern Orthodox Churches in Africa (292-300); Gosbert Byamungu (Tanzania/Italy) Unleashing Theological Energy for Africa and the World Church - Roman Catholic Perspectives on African theological education (301-306); Paul Bere (Cote d'lvoire). STheological Formation in the Roman Catholic Church in Africa (307-314); Chika Eucharia Eze (Nigeria/South Africa). Theological Education for Roman Catholic Religious Sisters in Africa (315-322); Paul Isaak (Namibia). Studying and Doing Lutheran Theologies and Theological Education in Africa (323-335); Henry Mbaya (Malawi). Anglican Theological Education in African and the role of ANITEPAM (336-344); Isabel Apawo Phiri (Malawi/Switzerland). Theological Education in Presbyterian Churches in Africa (345-353); Nico Koopman (South Africa). Theological Education in South Africa from a Reformed Perspective (354-362); Hany Longwe (Malawi), Major Concepts and Understandings of Theological Education in Baptist Churches in Eastern and Southern Africa (363-379); Kwabena Asamoah Gyadu (Ghana). Theological Education in Methodist Churches in Africa (380-385); Bill Houston and Victor Nakah (South Africa/Zimbabwe) Theological Education in Evangelical Churches (386-392); Opoku Onyinah and Emmanuel Kwesi Anim (Ghana). Pentecostal Theological Education - A Ghanaian Perspective (393-401); Fidelis Nkomazana (Botswana), The Development and Role of Pentecostal Theology in Botswana (402-410). Kudzai Bin (Zimbabwe). Theological Education in African Pentecostal Churches - Perspectives from Zimbabwe (411-419); John Njeru Gichimu (Kenya). Theological Education in African Independent Churches in East Africa (420-422); Thomas Oduro (Ghana). Theological Education in African Independent Churches: A Plethora of Pedagogies (423-431); Obed Kealotswe (Botswana). Theological Education in the African Independent Churches in Botswana (433^39); Mary Getui (Kenya). Theological Education in the Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA) (440-442).
Part four is devoted to key issues and new frontiers in theological education in Africa. The first group of essays is devoted to biblical studies: Priscille Djomhoue (Cameroon). Les Etudes Bibliques Dans Venseignement Theologique En Afrique (446-453); Madipoane Masenya (South Africa). Biblical studies in South(ern) Africa: An Overview (454-465). Lovemore Togarasei (Zimbabwe/Botswana). Biblical Studies in Theological Education in Africa: Some Methodological Considerations (466-474). Levi Ngangula Manyanya (DRC) and Viateur Ndikwnana. L'hebreu biblique dans Venseignement theologique en Afrique centrale (475-485); Aloo Mojola (Kenya). Bible Translation and Christian Theological Education in Africa -A Historical and a Pan-African Overview (486^499); Gosnell Yorke and Edouard Kitoto Nsiku (West Indies and Mozambique). Bible Translation and Theological Education in Lusophone and Spanish Speaking Africa (500-507) and Jean-Claude Loba-Mkole (South Africa). The Significance of Bible Translations for African Theological Education (508-522).
Mission and dialogue are the focus of the following essays: Michael McCoy (South Africa). Restoring mission to the heart of theological education (523-529); Justin Ukpong (Nigeria). Inculturation Theology in Africa: Historical and Hermeneutical Developments (530-542); Paul Isaak (Namibia). The Contribution of Missiological Theology to the Theological Education in Africa (543-554); Chammah Kaimda (Zambia). Doing Theological Education from the Context of Migration in Southern Africa: A Theology of Reconstruction in Missiological Perspective (555-565); Tabona Shoko (Zimbabwe). Teaching African Religion in Theological Institutions (566-575); Tony Balcomb (South Africa). Theological education and the relevance of African Worldviews - shifting the paradigm (576-588); Peter Barrett (South Africa). Theological Education in Africa in the Context of Modern Science (589-599); Peter Nyende (Kenya). Ethnicity in theological education in Africa (600-610); Nathan Samwini (Ghana). Christian-Muslim Relationships in retrospect and lessons for theological education in Africa (611-623) and Johnson Mbillah (Ghana/Kenya). The Inclusion of the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations as an Imperative for Theological Education in Africa (624-631).
Another group of articles addresses issues of gender and HIV and AIDS: Sarojini Nadar (South Africa) and Isabel Apawo Phiri (Malawi/ Switzerland). HIV Research, Gender and Religion Studies (632-638); Priscille Djomhoue (Cameroon). Mainstreaming Gender in Theological institutions in Francophone Africa: Perspectives from Cameroon (639-646); Fulata Moyo (Malawi/Switzerland). "For Gaining Instructions in wise dealings, righteousness, Justice and equity": Theological Education for Gender Justice and Sexual Empowerment (647-652); Musa Dube (Botswana). Methods of interrogating HIV and AIDS in Biblical Studies (653-661); Ezra Chitando (Zimbabwe). Religion and Masculinities in Africa: An opportunity in Africanisation (662-670); Gerald West (South Africa). The Tamar Campaign: returning T amar's testimony to the church (671-681) and Verena Grueter (Germany). Gender, religion and politics in theological education (682-688).
Public theology - justice, peace and ecology - is addressed in the following contributions:
Godfrey Ngumi (Kenya). Political Theology in Theological and Bible Colleges Curriculum (689-697); Nico Koopman (South Africa). Theological education for dignity in Africa - A Public Theological Perspective (698-706); Ernst Conradie (South Africa). Sustainability in African Theological Education (707-713); Makamure Clement (Zimbabwe). Environmental Issues in African Theological Education (714-721); Rogate Mshana (Tanzania). Poverty and justice as crucial themes in African theological education (722-730); Samuel Kabue (Kenya) and Micheline Kamba (DRC). EDAN's Journey in Introducing Disability Studies in African Theological Education Institutions (731 743).
Next come essays on aspects of practical and pastoral theology: Maake Masango (South Africa). Pastoral Theology in African contexts (744 754); Marilyn Naidoo (South Africa). Spiritual Formation in Theological Education (755-770); Christo Lombaard (South Africa). Theological Education for African Ecumenism - Proposals from the Perspective of Christian Spirituality (771 778); James Amanze (Malawi/Botswana). African initiatives in the Ecumenical Movement - Theological Education for the Future of African Ecumenism (779-792); Peter M. Mumo (Kenya). Sunday Schools as the Foundation of Christian Nurture and their Relevance for Theological Education in Africa (793-802); Dirk Coetsee and Jan Grobbelaar (South Africa). A Church Where Children are Welcome: A New Paradigm for Children's Ministry in Africa (803-817).
Forms and models of theological education are discussed by a further group of essays in this part of the volume: Jurgens Hendriks (South Africa). Contextualizing Theological Education in Africa by Doing Theology in a Miss tonal Hermeneutic (818-831); Kangwa Mabuluki (Zambia). Theological Education for all God's People: Theological Education by Extension (TEE) in Africa (832-840); Vengesai Chiminige (Zimbabwe). Distance and Open Learning Models of Theological Education in Africa (841-851); John De Gruchy and Lyn Holeness (South Africa). Mentoring younger scholars in Theological Education in Africa (852-851); Esther Mombo (Kenya). Mentoring younger scholars in Theological Education in Africa (858-868); Gochvin Ironeng Akper. Academic Theology and the Church - A West African Perspective (869-874); Bill Houston (South Africa). What is 'Quality'in Theological Education? (875-880).
Part five deals with selected innovative models and case studies of theological education in Africa. It contains the following essays: Roderick Hewitt (South Africa/Jamaica). Theological Education as an Instrument of Socialisation and Church Growth of African-Jamaicans in the 19th Century (883-892); Esther Mombo (Kenya) and John Chesworth (Britain/Kenya). From St. Paul's Divinity School to St. Paul's University - A Story of Theological Education from Kenya (893-901); Peter M. Mumo (Kenya). Case Study on Theological Education and the African Inland Church in Kenya (902-911); Stephen Noll (Uganda). Higher Education as Mission: The Case of Uganda Christian University (912-918); Gerald West (South Africa). The School of Religion, Philosophy, and Classics: doing contextual theology in Africa in the University of KwaZulu-Natal (919-926); Peter Storey (South Africa). Seth Mokitimi - A New Way of Doing Seminary? (927-933); Hette Domburg and Isaias Titoce (Mozambique), Developments of Theological Education at the United Seminary of Ricatla, Mozambique (934-938); Gillian Bediako (Ghana). The Akrofi-Christaller Institute, Ghana, as an Innovative Model of Theological Education in Africa (939-946); Gillian Bediako (Ghana). The African Theological Fellowship - an Innovative Model for Evangelical Theological Education (947-955); Mercy Oduyoye (Ghana). Doing Popular Theology through the Institute of Women in Religion and Culture in Accra, Ghana (956-957); Michael Taylor and Craig Dunsmuir (South Africa). Theological Education by Extension - A Case Study on TEE College Johannesburg (958-965); Isabel Phiri (Malawi/ Switzerland) and Lilian Siwila (Zambia/South Africa). The Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians - Transforming Theological Education (966-973); Frank Agbi-Awume. CEPROFORE - Le Centre Protestant de Formation et de Rencontre in Togo (974-978); Henry Mbaya (Malawi/South Africa). The contribution of the Anglican Church to theological education in South Africa: the Case of St. Paul's Theological College, Grahamstown (979-989); Lilian Dube (Zimbabwe/USA). University of San Francisco in Zambia Service-Learning Program: A Synergist Approach to Theological Innovation (990-998).
Part six describes networks and resources for theological education in Africa: Jurgens Hendriks (South Africa). Reliable Leadership, Sustainable Seminaries: The NetACT Story 2000-2012 (1001-1017); James Amanze (Malawi/Botswana). Ecumenical Theological Education in Africa: The Case of the Theological Association of Theological Institution in Southern and Central Africa (ATISCA) (1018-1031); Thomas A. Oduro (Ghana). West African Association of Theological Institution (WAATI): History, Activities and Challenges, (1973-2011) (1032-1038); Edison Kalengyo (Uganda/Kenya). Association of Theological Institutions in Eastern Africa (ATIE A) (1039-1042); Priscille Djomhoue (Cameroon). The Association of Theology Institutions in Francophone Africa (L 'ASTHEOL) in the period between 1966 and 2011 (1043-1049); Chammah Kaimda (Zambia/South Africa). African Pentecostalism Coming of Age: The Association for Pentecostal Theological Education in Africa (APTEA) from an Ecumenical Perspective (1050-1058); Edwina Ward (South Africa). African Network of Higher Education and Research in Theology, HIV and AIDS (ANHERTHA) (1059-1063); Philippe Emedi (DRC/South Africa). ACTE A and Quality Assurance in Evangelical Theological Education in Africa (1064-1074); Simon Kossi Dossou (Benin). Le Role De la CETA Dans I'Enseignement Theologique en Afrique (1075-1082); Sylvain AHaboe. Le CITAF: Ensemble pour une formation theologique de qualite en Afrique francophone (1083-1087); Samuel Johnson (Cameroon). The place and role of theological training in CEVAA (1088-1092); Christoph Stueckelberger (Switzerland). Africa goes Online: The Global Library for Theology and Ecumenism (1093-1100); Jesse Mugambi (Kenya). Challenges for Theological Publishing and Scholarly Booh in Africa (1101-1105); Manfred Waldemar Kohl (Canada). Theological Education in Africa Needs Money (1106-1110).
The 113 articles by an international team of experts offer a fascinating survey of all aspects of theological education on the vast continent of Africa. The reviewer's experience of reading this comprehensive collection agrees with the editors' estimate of the process that led to its publication: "an overwhelming panorama enfolded of very diverse and multi-faceted realities as well as challenges for ministerial formation and theological education on the African continent" (xxviii). This volume is a must for all institutions of theological education in Africa and for all church officers entrusted with the training of clergy and laity alike. We welcome the fact that perspectives from Northern Africa are included, as often Africa is tacitly taken to mean sub-Saharan black Africa. The editorial announces that the entire content of this handbook will be made available online in GlobeTheoLib after a certain period of circulating the printed versions (xxix).
The printed versions are available from Acton Press (Nairobi, East African edition), Cluster Publications (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, African edition) and Regnum Books International (Oxford, GB, European Edition, referred to here).