According to L. E. Ugwueye and I. L. Umeanolue, The Hebrew Bible or “the Old Testament can be said to be coterminous with African culture.” African life and thought share in many ways the life and thought of ancient Israel. Hence, the African culture can serve as a springboard for the internalization of Old Testament values and vice versa. This makes the study of the Old Testament crucial to African Christianity. Researches in areas that make Africans appreciate the message of the Old Testament in the own cultural framework therefore constitute a key tool in enhancing the growth of the Church in Africa.
The need for developing Old Testament Studies in Africa has led to many publications by many African scholars. Yet, many areas still need to be attended to. It is against this backdrop that Essays in The Old Testament and African Life and Thought has been published as a modest attempt to show some areas of continuity and discontinuity between the Old Testament and African life and culture.
The nature of the work made the comparative approach a suitable methodology. In using this approach the authors applied most of the following principles outlined by John H. Walton: (1) a comparative study involves a consideration of both similarities and differences; (2) not all similarities are the result of borrowing; similarity may be the result of a common cultural environment; (3) it is common to find similarities at the surface and differences at the conceptual level (or vice versa); (4) a comparative study must be preceded by contextual study; (5) factors such as proximity of time, geographical location and cultural spheres have higher potential of fostering interactions that leads to influence; (6) a case of literary borrowing needs to be investigated for possible and likely modes of transmission; (7) literary works of different genres usually have lesser tendency of showing similarities than those of the same genre; (8) different genres may perform similar functions in different cultural contexts; (9) borrowed literary or cultural elements may be transformed into something quite different from what was borrowed, and (10) a single culture usually has many sub-cultures.
The continent of Africa is a mixed bag with different groups of different cultural values. However, there are similar cultural values held in almost all African societies. In preparing this book the authors made use of common contextual issues where possible and where this was not possible a particular African society was named and used. The main thesis of this study is that Africans can better understand the Old Testament if they use their own culture as a framework for interpretation while guarding against any tendencies of syncretism.
Isaac Boaheng holds a Master of Divinity Degree from the Trinity Theological Seminary. He is an ordained minister of the Methodist Church Ghana and a Translator with the Bible Society of Ghana. Some of his recent publications include: A Study of Amos and Hosea: Implications for African Public Theology (2020); Is the Bible Really the Word of God (2019) and Basic Biblical Hebrew (2019). Isaac has research interests in Public Theology, Biblical Studies, and African Christianity. He is married to Gloria and they are blessed with Christian, Benedict and Julia.
Ebenezer Asibu-Dadzie Jnr is an ordained minister of the Methodist Church Ghana. He holds a master’s degree from the Trinity Theological Seminary. His research interest lies in Biblical Studies, African Christianity and Translation Studies. He is married to Dorcas and the marriage is blessed with two children.
CHAPTER ONE – GOD IN THE OLD TESTAMENT 1
Names of God
Attributes of God in the Old Testament
CHAPTER TWO – GOD IN AFRICAN THOUGHT 13
The Origin of Belief in God in Africa
Evidences of African Belief in God before encountering other Cultures
Attributes of the Supreme Being in African Thought
CHAPTER THREE – CREATION IN THE OLD TESTAMENT 31
Activities in the Creation Week
Old Testament Account of the Creation of Humankind
The Essential Nature of Man
CHAPTER 4 – CREATION IN AFRICAN THOUGHT 37
Creation in African Myths
The Origin and Nature of Humanity in African Thought
The Concept of Person in African Thought
How God Separated from Human
CHAPTER 5 – DEATH & FUNERAL RITES IN ANCIENT ISREAL 47
Jacob’s Last Word and Death
Pre-Burial Rituals: Jacob’s Embalment
Funeral Procession to the land of Canaan
The Burial of Jacob
The Post-Burial Activities
CHAPTER 6 – DEATH AND FUNERAL RITES IN AFRICAN THOUGHT 53
Life in African Thought
Death in African Thought
Concept of Good and Bad Death
Preservation of the Corpse
One Week Celebration
Laying-in-state and Public Viewing
Widowhood Rites in Africa
Journey to the Land of the Departed
CHAPTER SEVEN – CHIEFTANCY INSTITUTION 84
Understanding the Concept of Chieftancy
Origin of Chieftancy
Structure of Chieftancy
Choices/Selection/Election of Kings 87 Ritual of Confinement
Personal Ornament of the Chief