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Towards an African Theology

The Igbo Context in Nigeria


Peter Chidi Okuma

Towards an African Theology. The Igbo Con text in Nigeria is a study about the challenge facing contemporary African theology today. It aims at transposing the theoretical doctrines of faith into practical guidelines. The author outlines the history, culture and life setting of the Igbo in Nigeria and develops a theological hermeneutics that would give an answer to African Christians’ present faith and situation. He discusses Igbo theology in praxis and as a discipline and considers what contribution Igbo theology could make to the church, humanity and world order.


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CHAPTER FOUR. Developing the Hermeneutics of Igbo Theology 81


81 CHAPTER FOUR Developing the Hermeneutics of Igbo Theology “Jesus’ life itself can also be understood as the hermeneutic adven- ture of a human being attempting to name God and thereby to value life. Jesus himself takes the risk of entering into the narrative and culture created by the authors of the Old Testament, who attempted to unfold the history of God and God’s people. In taking that risk, Jesus attempts to discover and uncover God, and to make a claim concerning what is worth living for.”1 In this vein, Paul Ricoeur writes, “I assume that the primary sense of the word ‘hermeneutics’ concerns the rules required for the interpretation of the written documents of our culture.”2 In a way ‘Culture’ and ‘values’ are like a ‘text.’3 Since according to Jacques Haers S.J. the concept of ‘Text’ is a difficult one in Ricoeur, this is based on the fact that Ricoeur does not necessarily mean “written text” when he talks about ‘Text’; but refers to ‘an entity that is there and challenges one at the same time.’4 “To explain a text was essentially to 1 J. HAERS, “A Risk Observed,” in T. MERRIGAN (ed.), Louvain Studies 21(1996), 55. 2 P. RICOEUR, Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences, trans and edited by J. B. Thompson, New York, 1980, 197. The phrase ‘written documents of culture’ could also be applied to ‘archives.’ Culture has archives. 3 “By the expression of ‘self-understanding,’ I should like to contrast the self which...

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