The Blessing of Africa: The Bible and African Christianity  -     By: Keith Augustus Burton
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The Blessing of Africa: The Bible and African Christianity

InterVarsity Press / 2007 / Paperback

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Product Description

Africa may soon boast the world's highest concentration of Christians. Explore how Biblical faith spread in the land of Ham from the Old Testament, to the early church, and onward! Burton's study traces its growth throughout the continent---and includes fascinating material on the rise of Islam, the impact of European colonialism, and the slave trade. 220 pages, softcover from InterVarsity.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 220
Vendor: InterVarsity Press
Publication Date: 2007
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0830827625
ISBN-13: 9780830827626

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Publisher's Description

According to some estimates, Africa will soon have the highest concentration of Christians in the world. But African Christianity has had a long and conflicted history. Even today, modern misinterpretations of Scripture argue for God's curse upon the dark-skinned peoples of Africa. In this comprehensive study, Keith Burton traces the story of biblical Africa and the place of the Bible in the land of Ham. Beginning with the Old Testament, he explores the geography of biblical Africa and moves beyond stereotypical discussions of African ethnicity and identity. He then chronicles the African presence in the church from the New Testament onward, paying particular attention to the growth of Islam in Africa as well as the impact of European colonialism and the slave trade. Coming to the modern era, he examines the achievements of African Christianity and visionary efforts to adapt and reclaim Christianity for the African context. Burton invites readers to discover anew the relevance of the biblical narrative for African Christians as well as Scripture's influence on African Christianity. This invigorating work places the story of the Bible and African Christianity in a wider global context and challenges readers to think differently about history and the biblical world.

Author Bio

Keith Augustus Burton (Ph.D., Northwestern) is president of Life Heritage Ministries. He is also adjunct instructor of religion at the Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences and coordinator for the Center for Adventist-Muslim Relations at Oakwood University, where he previously served as a professor of theology. His books include and .

Editorial Reviews

"It is imperative to commend The Blessing of Africa, which is based on extensive review of the literature by the author who provides the sources for his arguments and analysis. The author has also successfully demonstrated the point that Africa can by no means be ignored in the study of the history of the chosen people in the Bible, and that Africans have not been mere recipients, but also participants in the evolution of the history of Christianity."
"This is indeed a landmark publication as it is an invaluable contribution on the specificity of African Christian theology that has blossomed in the last thirty-five years since J. S. Mbiti's seminal article of 1972. I wholeheartedly commend The Blessing of Africa to all, especially Africans and African Americans who want to appreciate the Bible as the basis of African Christianity and its theology in the world today."
". . .a wonderful resourece to students of church history and students of the Bible in general."
". . .fascinating. . .a landmark publication."
"Those curious about Africa's active role in the Bible's text and times will find Burton's extensive geographical tracing of African places illuminating. Theologians interested in the unique historical and cultural forces framing a distinct African theology will find Burton's sketch most satisfying. Church historians will see missions in a new light."
"This book is worth reading. No reader will be disappointed after perusing its lucid pages."
"This is a very interesting book to read, very creatively crafted, well written, and adequately documented. . . . No reader will be disappointed after perusing its lucid pages."
"Keith Augustus Burton, in his new volume, The Blessing of Africa: The Bible and African Christianity, helps us to see that all roads do not lead to Rome. There is at least one highway that tends southward toward Ethiopia and even to the lands beyond its rivers. As Augustine said, 'God hath foretold that the Church should be in Africa.'

Dr. Burton's familiarity with the sources and his broad historical view make it possible for him to paint a vivid picture of Yahweh's word at work in the 'land of Ham.' In a day when historians, religion teachers, journalists and even filmmakers are rushing to grasp the significance of Africa's sudden turn toward Christianity, Burton makes solid sense of what is happening biblically, theologically and historically. He deserves our thanks. You will agree as you read it."
"I found this book fascinating and have learned from it considerably, both on matters I have previously studied and on material that was new to me. On points where my views differ, Burton has challenged and stimulated my thinking."

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  1. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    March 30, 2010
    Chester Cassel
    I have read many documentaries and books regarding Africa and its impact on ancient and modern culture and religion. This book continues that insight and provides even more clarity on the impact that the Hamitic line has had on shaping the world and cultures we know today. A worthing reading for everyone.
  2. 4 Stars Out Of 5
    July 9, 2008
    Nicholas Oyugi Odhiambo
    The hallmark of this book is two-fold: (a) its redefinition of what territorially constitutes biblical Africa and (b) its identification of Put with sub-Saharan Africa. Capitalizing on the tendency to equate Ham(ites) with Africa(ns) as evidenced by the common misconception that Noahs curse targeted Ham and thus the Africans, the author proposes that his readers consider the equation of biblical Africa with the land of Ham. Understood as such, biblical Africa would therefore encompass all the territories traditionally associated with the descendants of Ham as reflected in the Table of Nations. These regions include Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq, Egypt/Sudan, Ethiopia, Libya, Crete, Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, and Syria. In other words, an equation of biblical Africa with the land of Ham expands the definition of what encompasses Africa and who constitutes an African to include not just the continent of Africa and its dwellers, but parts of the Middle East and their respective citizens.Having argued for a broader definition of biblical Africa (part one, chapters 1-4) and cataloged the Africans in the Bible assuming the broader definition (part two, chapters 5-7), the book takes and maintains to the very end a historical slant during which the following historical topics are discussed: (a) the development of Christianity in biblical Africa (part three, chapters 8-10), (b) the growth of Islam in biblical Africa (part four, chapters 11-12), (c) the impact of European colonialism on biblical Africa (part five. Chapters 13-15) and (d) the place of the Bible in present-day biblical Africa (part six, chapters 16-18).Even if the reader does not buy into the authors attempt to promote a broad definition of what geographically constitutes biblical Africa and consequently who composes an African biblically, this book remains a wonderful resource to students of church history and students of the Bible in general.
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