Course: MARY AFST 546: African Traditional Religion Interprets the Bible
The course investigates the underlying basic requirements of a truly African method of interpreting the Bible and compares it with the Historical Critical Method. The aim of the course is to guide the students to appropriate an authentic African exegesis of the bible in order that they might proclaim its message in symbols and values that are immediate to Africans.
Most Bible commentaries and everyday written exposition of scriptural texts generally presuppose European and North American cultural thought patterns. This is quite evident in the much accepted Historical Critical Method. As an alternative to this way of interpretation, this course will offer students a chance to investigate the African way of understanding biblical culture and milieu in terms of African culture and milieu. It investigates whether it is possible to arrive at concrete African hermeneutic principles. It asks how Africans read the Bible and profitably inculturate the ever enduring biblical message into their existential situation without a historical critique of the biblical settings. It asks what Africans understand the Bible to say on issues such as: Marriage and the Family, African Contemporary Culture, Bridewealth, Rites of Passage, Death and Rites of Incorporation into life after death.
The students will seek to find out how Africans read and interpret the Bible through field research involving participation, observation and interviews in the following situations:
– Street preaching
– Independent and Pentecostal Services
– Mainline church services
– Bible colleges
– Bible unions in schools
– Campus ministries including New Age Religions.
– Scripture professors
This will be contrasted with the Historical Critical Method as applied to specific biblical passages.
ATTN: This course can substitute for the course on African Traditional Religion: Major beliefs, Practices and Contemporary Forms, a required course for students registered in the Master degree programs.