University of Leicester
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Concepts of salvation, African and European. prolegomena to African Christian theology.

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posted on 2015-11-19, 08:49 authored by Stephen Orabazinalum. Okafor
The perception of God, man and salvation, which are related notions, are further bound up with the question of cosmology. A given primary interpretation or revelation (i.e. the meaning) of the world is the raison d'etre of a given religious system. God is meaning; meaning is whatever God (or 'God') is to a given religious system or culture-world; for instance, life (hence our term, ankhological), or mind (hence our nousological term). To both Jewish and traditional African religions God is life. This understanding pervades the biblical data. Jesus is its greatest expresser. The earliest Jewish Christianity had kept to this ankhological perception of God despite the disagreement over whether the Father is still the immediate source and focusser of meaning; Paul and Hellenistic Jewish Christianity maintained that Jesus is, since his resurrection, its immediate focusser; Palestinian Jewish Christianity rejected this 'modification'. The initial mass conversion of the Gentiles meant an inevitable clash between the ankhological and the nousological perceptions of God; the nousological perception was the bequeathment of the Greek world. The Gentile Church's insistence that the biblical data be brought within the nousological terms of reference gave rise to heresies, and to the undermining of the ankhological standpoint. Saint Augustine was a great believer in the nousological re-interpretation of the biblical data. The Western Church was converted to his view point. But the scientific spirit has marginalised both the nousological interpretation and the Western Church. African mission Churches are obviously nousologically structured. And contextualisation theology is a misleading attempt to adapt African cultural data to the nousological viewpoint. Misleading, because African congregations are primarily informed by the ankhological meaning. Instead what is demanded from African Christian theology is the recovery and the holding up of the ankhological revelation as the criterion of Christian theology, African or otherwise.


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College of Arts, Humanities and Law

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University of Leicester

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  • Doctoral

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  • PhD



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