n Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions - Humanistic basis for African traditional religious theology and ethics : (a challenge to the church in Nigeria)

Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2276-8386
  • E-ISSN: 2408-5987



African Theology has been a very confused term in theological discurse. It has been described as the Theology of African Traditional Religion or African version of Christian Theology. Each view has had its own strong supporters and has been projected to imply African ideas. In this paper, the present writer would uphold African Theology to mean and represent the theological expression of the Traditional African Religion which is the modern version of the religion of the ancestral founding fathers of the communities. The ethics also relate to the same religious faith of the ancestors. Christian theology is yet to be made African both in its ontological existence and expression by African indigenous Christians. Sad enough, many African Christians have no Christology in their vernacular and cannot think of God and Jesus in their local language. Many in fact find it difficult to pray in vernacular and as such cannot express Christian theological ideas in their own language, thought-pattern and conceptual scheme. This lack of in depth experience of Christianity in many African minds has made African brand of Christianity a mere epiphenomenon on both African life and society. The Jewish cosmology and milieu which formed the core background of Jesus' teaching and explanation of the universe while he was here on earth has continued to be appropriated by many different African groups who cannot fully decode and apply Jesus' teaching in their own context. It is sad to note that the early attempt to translate the Bible in many African Languages, though a noble effort, was mere transliteration rather than deep meaningful and contextual translation. A deep and analytical reading of the Igbo Bible in particular, by one who understands classical Hebrew and Greek would discover many pitfalls in the efforts of those early translators whose knowledge of Hebrew and the Igbo was not deep enough. More so, they translated from the King James Version of the Bible with its numerous weaknesses and errors.

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