How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind: Rediscovering the African Seedbed of Western Christianity  -     By: Thomas C. Oden
Buy Item $11.99 Retail: $18.00 Save 33% ($6.01) Add To Cart
Add To Wishlist

How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind: Rediscovering the African Seedbed of Western Christianity

Inter-Varsity Press / 2010 / Paperback

$11.99 (CBD Price)
|
Retail: $18.00
|
Save 33% ($6.01)
Availability: In Stock
CBD Stock No: WW837050

  • Other Formats

    Description Price Availability Quantity AddInclude
    Hardcover $14.99 Retail: $22.00 Available to ship on or about 09/17/14. Add To Cart
    Paperback $11.99 Retail: $18.00 In Stock Add To Cart
    Add To Cart
    Add To Cart

Product Description

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 in How Africa Shaped Christianity 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.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 204
Vendor: Inter-Varsity Press
Publication Date: 2010
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0830837051
ISBN-13: 9780830837052
Availability: In Stock

Related Products

  1. Early Christianity in North Africa
    Early Christianity in North Africa
    Francois Decret, Edward Smither
    Cascade Books / 2009 / Trade Paperback
    $26.00
    Availability: In Stock
    CBD Stock No: WW356926
  2. The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia and How It Died
    The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia and How It Died
    Philip Jenkins
    Harpercollins Publishing / 2009 / Trade Paperback
    $10.99 Retail: $15.99 Save 31% ($5.00)
    4 Stars Out Of 5 4 Reviews
    Availability: In Stock
    CBD Stock No: WW472817
  3. A History of Christianity in Africa
    A History of Christianity in Africa
    Elizabeth Isichei
    Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 1995 / Trade Paperback
    $23.99 Retail: $36.00 Save 33% ($12.01)
    Availability: In Stock
    CBD Stock No: WW0843
  4. Christianity in Africa: The Renewal of Non-Western Religion
    Christianity in Africa: The Renewal of Non-Western Religion
    Kwame Bediako
    Orbis Books / 1996 / Trade Paperback
    $27.00 Retail: $30.00 Save 10% ($3.00)
    Availability: In Stock
    CBD Stock No: WW0750483

Publisher's Description

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.

Author Bio

Thomas C. Oden (PhD, Yale University), is the general editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture and the Ancient Christian Doctrine series as well as the author of , a revision of his three-volume systematic theology. He is the director of the Center for Early African Christianity at Eastern University in Pennsylvania and he formerly served as the Henry Anson Buttz Professor of Theology at The Theological School of Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. Oden is active in the Confessing Movement in America, particularly within the United Methodist Church and serves on the board of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. He suggests that Christians need to rely upon the wisdom of the historical Church, particularly the early Church, rather than on modern scholarship and theology and says his mission is "to begin to prepare the postmodern Christian community for its third millennium by returning again to the careful study and respectful following of the central tradition of classical Christianity."

Endorsements

"Rarely has a work of such brevity distilled so much vintage wisdom with such élan. How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind fills a crucial gap between the early church in Africa and Western Christianity, and represents a timely challenge to Christian Africans and to a post-Christian West. It will be impossible--and foolhardy-- to ignore this book."
—Lamin Sanneh, Professor of World Christianity and of History, Yale University

"How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind is a bold call to rehabilitate the earliest African contributions to the shaping of world Christianity. As such, it is a major resource for all people interested in the history of the Christian movement. Oden's focus on the intellectual dimension of Africans' role in the formation of Christian culture may surprise some, but it is a much-needed welcome corrective to the assumptions held by many. In my opinion, this book is one of the most significant contributions to the literature on world Christianity. Must reading!"
—Tite Tiénou, Dean and Professor of Theology of Mission Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"[A]n outline and an agenda for research . . . [by] classic forward-thinking Oden. . . . The story of Christian theology has been told from a European perspective. Oden wants to tell that story differently: classical Christian theology was heavily shaped by Africans."
—David Neff, ChristianityToday.com, February 29, 2008

"Read it, be challenged, consider--and beware: for some it may lead to a life work!"
—The Rev. Dr. Colin Reed in Church Missionary Society--Victoria, March 2008

"In a little more than 200 pages, Dr. Oden documents how some of the most crucial intellectual achievements of Christianity were explored and understood in Africa long before they were in Europe. In this landmark book, Oden gives several ways Africa has shaped the Christian mind. From Africa came the idea of university, the development of Christian exegesis of scripture, the earliest intimations of ecumenical conciliar patterns, the rise of monasticism and categorization of Christian dogma."
—Jim Miller Book Review, February 12, 2008

"Some of the major Church Fathers were from Africa. These Church Fathers were greatly involved in theological disputes of the time. Oden presents the case that these theologies moved from Africa to Europe and Asia. Oden proposes that present-day Africans need not create a new theology, but rediscover the theology that was born on the continent before the Arab conquests. Oden reminds Christians of the major cultural and religious centers in North Africa."
—Br. Benet Exton, O.S.B., Curled Up with a Good Book (www.curledup.com), February 2008

"Oden's book is a call to take seriously the oral and written tradition of material spoken and penned on the African continent. It is then a call to explore the past, present, and future impact of that legacy."
—Robert Kelleman, TitusOneNine blog, April 25, 2008

"I would recommend this book to anyone interested in church history."
—Shaun Tabatt, www.biblegeekgonewild.com, July 29, 2008

"While the book may be provocative to some, it is a potent reminder that Christianity is not a European religion but a worldwide religion and always has been."
—Chris White, www.soulepigraph.blogspot.com, June 25, 2008

"[A] great reminder that what we are doing is recovering a great Christian past, in which the entire Christian world owes a debt to early Africans."
—Gary S. Maxey, The Arminian, Spring 2008

"This book is a challenge, a shot across the bow of young historians. If Oden is correct, that Africa did in fact play a more decisive role in the formation of Christianity than just about everyone realizes, then the Church will profit from the investigation he calls for. This is a tremendous book and is worthy of being read by anyone who enjoys church history, or even African history. Thomas Oden has served the Church over the last few decades by editing the Ancient Christian Commentary Series and reminding us of the necessity of remembering our roots in the early church."
—Danny, www.bostonbiblegeeks.wordpress.com, March 2, 2009

"Oden has offered a compelling and positively provocative work. [This] significant and timely work ought to be read by undergraduate and seminary students studying early Christianity, intercultural studies, and historical and systematic theology. It will surely be a catalyst for future generations of scholarship."
—Edward L. Smither, Criswell Theological Review, Fall 2008

"Oden has condensed in a small but excellent starter book a great amount of information and he has provided convincing and compelling evidence for Christianity;s debt to its African roots. He has left me with a great hunger for exploring more deeply into this vitally important subject."
—Trevor O'Reggio, Seminary Studies, Andrews University, Autumn 2008

"I found this brief book both interesting and important. I am certain that everyone needs to know and process Oden's argument."
—Denis Haack, critique, issue three, 2009

"A helpful challenge to consider the primacy of African theology in the first centuries of the church. A very good beginning to what Oden sees as a multigenerational task."
—J. Scott Horrell, Bibliotheca Sacra January - March 2010

"An exciting book generously documented and passionately written."
—Gie Vleugels, Stone-Campbell Journal, Fall 2009

"A gripping and inspiring book."
—James Nkansah-Obrempong, Evangelical Review of Theology, April 2009

Product Reviews

3 Stars Out Of 5
3 out of 5
(1)
(1)
(2)
(1)
(1)
Quality:
3.5 out Of 5
(3.5 out of 5)
Value:
3.5 out Of 5
(3.5 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
1.3 out Of 5
(1.3 out of 5)
0%
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
SORT BY:
SEE:
Displaying items 1-5 of 6
Page 1 of 2 12 Next
  1. Robert
    Africa
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    1 Stars Out Of 5
    Wish I could be more positive.
    July 22, 2013
    Robert
    Africa
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Meets Expectations: 1
    I am sure that Dr Oden has the best of intentions in desiring to awaken interest in early North African Christianity. But he might have chosen a better way to do this than by attacking scholars who have worked for many years in this area.

    My problem with his book is his obvious ignorance of the vast amount of research and writing already accomplished on the early Christian history of North Africa. His bibliography makes no reference to the extensive work by French scholars, for example, nor to Frend on the Donatist Church, nor even to my own more modest contribution in "This Holy Seed: Faith, Hope and Love in the Early Churches of North Africa" (Tamarisk, 1992, 2nd edn. 2010).

    A theological school in New Jersey may not the best place from which to assess what is known and taught in Africa. Dr Oden admits to "residing on the other side of the earth from Africa." Those of us who actually live here may have a less romantic, fanciful and emotional view of the continent and its people and history. We may also have much more information about it. In Zambia, for example, I have found African lecturers well informed about the Christian history of the Maghreb. Has Dr Oden ever visited the region or spoken with scholars actually working on the ground? Is he aware of what is being taught here and in the theological faculties of France, Egypt and Jordan? It appears not.

    The problem is made worse by his tendency to condemn us with allegations such as, "It has become a distinctly modern European prejudice to miss this simple point" (page 58). He speaks of "European chauvinism" (p.23) and of "neglect" and "inattention" (p.30). He alleges that "Africa's ancient Christian heritage has languished for many centuries." He speaks of evidence being ignored and suppressed because we have "assumed the mental superiority of north to south" (p.31). These are racist allegations and highly offensive. They are also complete nonsense. European theologians have always held Augustine, Cyprian and other early North Africans in the highest regard.

    Throughout his book, Dr Oden writes as though no one except himself has ever given serious thought to North African church history. I understand that he is a theologian, not a historian or archaeologist. But when a scholar steps out of his own speciality into a new field of study, it behoves him to do so with a measure of humility and deference to those who have been there before him and have indeed devoted a lifetime to matters of which he is ignorant.

    In my view, his judgment is flawed on two very specific issues which he unfortunately chooses to emphasize. Firstly, he vastly overrates the significance of the Medjerda river as a means of communication. It is hardly equivalent to the Nile. In fact early Christian remains are scattered throughout the region, not restricted to the banks of this small seasonal watercourse.

    Secondly, he identifies as "African" the Latin Christianity of the colonial elite in the coastal towns. He says, "For the purposes of this discussion, if a text was written in Africa it will be treated as African" (p.69). This skews the discussion considerably. To call this urban literary Latin Christianity "African" is naive, to say the least. It is equivalent to calling the Dutch Reformed faith of the Boers a manifestation of African spirituality. But Dr Oden barely mentions the Donatists or the Circumcellians of the inland areas, who were far more authentically African. In cultural terms, the most "African" of the early writers was Arnobius, but I can find no reference to him at all.

    Dr Oden gives no indication that he asked any recognised scholar to read and critique his text before publication. Had he done so, he might have seen good reason to revise and extensively modify what he wrote. To sum it up, I think that the title of this book claims far more than it offers. It is a lavish production but has no index, no footnotes, and very few references to known authorities. It is more akin to a political tract than a work of serious scholarship. It is an impassioned plea rather than a balanced assessment. In consequence, it must be treated with great caution.

    Finally, although I clearly have reservations about his book, I hope that Dr Oden's desire to awaken interest in this subject will be well rewarded.
  2. Pennypincher
    St. Petersburg, FL
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    A call to scholarly reearch, not church history
    August 12, 2011
    Pennypincher
    St. Petersburg, FL
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 1
    It was a disappointment, because I was expecting to find out about the contributions of early African Christians and the story of the African Church. Instead, it was a repetitive call for more research by Africans. I got more out of the listing in the back of the book, than the text itself.
  3. IanR
    Wellington
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    June 22, 2011
    IanR
    Wellington
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 3
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 2
    The topic is fascinating, but the writer presents it in a highly polemic manner. It is presented as a call for repentance by Western Christianity for their failure to acknowledge their debt to African Christians.

    I preferred Jenkin's presentation of the same topic.
  4. Tonya Fennell
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    May 23, 2010
    Tonya Fennell
    Not an easy read but a worthwhile one. I didn't know that so much of the happenings of the early church occurred in Africa. Dr. Oden explains church history using ancient maps not modern maps. It makes so much sense.
  5. David Roundtree
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    December 1, 2009
    David Roundtree
    This book was a breath of fresh air. Out of all the sermons, teachings, talks, and seminary lectures I have heard, no one wanted to talk about the 800 lb. gorilla in the room. It was nice to read an established minister and professor shed some light on this subject. The chronology in the back of the book should prove to be helpful to every serious pastor or teacher who wants to share biblical and historical insights. An excellent resource about a sensitive subject. Well done!
Displaying items 1-5 of 6
Page 1 of 2 12 Next

Ask Christianbook

Back
×

Ask Christianbook

What would you like to know about this product? Please enter your name, your email and your question regarding the product in the fields below, and we'll answer you in the next 24-48 hours.

If you need immediate assistance regarding this product or any other, please call 1-800-CHRISTIAN to speak directly with a customer service representative.

Other Customers Also Purchased

  1. Baptism Certificate (pkg. of 6)
    Baptism Certificate (pkg. of 6)
    Broadman / Holman Church Supply / 2011 / Other
    $7.99 Retail: $9.50 Save 16% ($1.51)
    Availability: In Stock
    CBD Stock No: WW113986
  2. African American History Month Daily Devotions 2014
    African American History Month Daily Devotions 2014
    Angela Roberts Jones
    Abingdon Press / 2013 / Trade Paperback
    $1.99 Retail: $2.49 Save 20% ($0.50)
    Availability: In Stock
    CBD Stock No: WW773740
  3. The Epistle to the Romans: A Gospel for All
    The Epistle to the Romans: A Gospel for All
    Lawrence R. Farley
    Conciliar Press / 2005 / Trade Paperback
    $14.36 Retail: $15.95 Save 10% ($1.59)
    Availability: In Stock
    CBD Stock No: WW212518
  4. Paul for Everyone: The Pastoral Letters: 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus
    Paul for Everyone: The Pastoral Letters: 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus
    N.T. Wright
    Westminster John Knox Press / 2004 / Trade Paperback
    $10.99 Retail: $16.00 Save 31% ($5.01)
    Availability: In Stock
    CBD Stock No: WW227940

Find Related Products

Author/Artist Review

Start A New Christianbook.com Search