Abosom, A Theological Issue in the Celebration of Odwira by the Akuapem of Ghana

Ernestina Afriyie

Issue: Vol.2  No.1 April 2020 Article 2 pp. 9-20
DOI : https://doi.org/10.32051/MOTBIT.2020.042   |   Published online 2nd April 2020.
© 2020 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CCBY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).


The people of Akuapem in the Eastern Region of Ghana celebrate Odwira annually. Akuapem Christians see the celebration of Odwira as bosomsom (service or worship of gods/deities/divinities) which conflicts with their faith as God commands that “Christians” should not worship abosom (Ex. 20: 3–4). This paper makes use of Bibles, Bible concordances, commentaries, and literary works of theologians and others in the field of religious studies, and interviews in analysing theologically the concept of abosom, with reference to the first commandment. With the view that Akuapem Christians may have arrived at this conclusion based on the Akan translation of this passage in the Bible, the article considers the words used in the translation and also looks at the Akan translation of other passages in the Bible where the words “gods” and “idols” appear. The findings are that the translation of the Bible into a mother tongue can affect the religious concepts of the people. The paper also shows how the concept of abosom may come into the conversion story of the Akan. The contribution of the paper to scholarship is that it further strengthens the view that Bible translation into mother tongue requires a knowledge and understanding of the religious categories and concepts of the people into whose mother tongue the Bible is being translated. It falls in the disciplines of mother tongue theology and Bible translation.

Keywords: Akuapem, Odwira, Onyame, abosom, ahoni spirits, gods, and idols.

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Ernestina Afriyie, PhD is a Research Fellow at the Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission and Culture, Akropong-Akuapem, Ghana. Email: afriyieernestina@yahoo.co.uk

Afriyie, Ernestina. “Abosom, A Theological Issue in the Celebration of Odwira by the Akuapem of Ghana.” Journal of Mother-Tongue Biblical Hermeneutics and Theology 2, no. 1 (2020): 9-20. https://doi.org/10.32051/motbit.2020.042

© 2020 The Author(s). Published and Maintained by Noyam Publishers. This is an open access article under the CCBY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).