Liberty University Sample Book Review Chhi 520 Essay

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How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind: Rediscovering the African Seedbed of Western Christianity By Thomas C. Oden Downers Grove, Ill: Intervarsity Press, 2008, 204 pp, $ 19.00 hardcover. Thomas Oden, an accomplished scholar in systematic and historical theology, and retired professor at Drew University, has offered a compelling and positively provocative work in How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind. A work of scholarly repentance, he ably repudiates the posture of western theologians and historians (i.e. Harnack, Bauer, Schleiermacher) toward Africa’s theological legacy (pp. 57-59). His present work is the fruit of thirty years of reading the early African fathers, and in the last fourteen, he has served as the general editor of the…show more content…
In chapter six, “The Opportunity for Retrieval,” Oden confronts the postEnlightenment worldview and hermeneutics of suspicion that has effectively diminished Africa’s theological heritage. Chapter seven, “How the Blood of the Martyrs Became the Seed of European Christianity,” proposes Africa’s history of martyrdom and the exodus event as alternatives to a Christian view of history marked by power. In chapter eight, “Right Remembering,” Oden asserts that orthodoxy is not a prize awarded to theological victors, but rather the fruit of correctly remembering the apostles’ teachings. In chapter nine, “Seeking the Reconciliation of Christianity and Islam Through Historical Insight,” he makes a case for the risky but necessary endeavor of engaging African Muslims in dialogue over their Christian heritage. In the appendix, Oden moves from being a scholar to an activist, laying out a strategic plan to implement his vision for recovering Africa’s theological legacy, which includes the website, and the Journal of African Christianity. The book concludes with a helpful “Literary Chronology of Christianity in the First Millenium,” including key personalities, writings, and movements in the period. Perhaps the most relevant set of works to How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind is Oden’s own Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. Western theological hegemony has also been
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