n Missionalia : Southern African Journal of Mission Studies - Africa's understanding of time and history : the line over against the cycle

Volume 37, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0256-9507



The distinction between cyclical and linear views of time and history is used to describe and analyse the belief-systems of African traditional religions, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and secularism (humanism and communism) in past and present Africa. Asian theologians such as M.M. Thomas and Kosuke Koyama and African theologians such as John S. Mbiti and David J. Bosch have each in their own way contributed to the rethinking of the line over against the traditional cycle. This article stipulates that in the contemporary setting of Africa the cycle seems to be much more powerful than the leading publications of Mbiti and Bosch suggest.

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