Kings, Marriage, Ancestors, and God

Adrian Hastings

in The Church in Africa, 1450-1950

Published in print March 1996 | ISBN: 9780198263999
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600623 | DOI:

Series: Oxford History of the Christian Church

 Kings, Marriage, Ancestors, and God

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Aims to focus attention instead on African Africa, the great sweep of the continent still dominated until the 1880s by the internal norms of its tradition—diverse, conflictual, and black. These were, moreover, norms which, while politically undermined almost everywhere by the turn of the century, continued to control the cultural and social core of the real world of the vast majority of Africans through the greater part of the twentieth century. The chapter addresses the question of how far these cultural structures were inimical to the spread of Christianity, or favoured it, or were, at least, capable of serving it. It points out that the history of the Christianization of Africa has usually been written within a context of the diffusion of European culture, and that while this is not a false context, it is, nevertheless, for most Africans, a subsidiary one, since their own principal context was their traditional, but not unchanging, thought world. The fate of Christianity depended upon its ability to be reread in terms and with implications, for the most part, unimagined by its propagators.

Keywords: Africa; African culture; Christianity; Christianization; culture; Europe; history; traditional culture

Chapter.  13649 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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