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The Hermeneutics of an African-Igbo Theology

Peter Chidi Okuma

One of the great problems among most theologians and theologies today is to restrict and to think of theology only in terms of mere intellectual enquiry without any fundamentum in rei in the lives of peoples. The book is aimed at overcoming this gap. It establishes this reality through the story of all stories, i.e. the Resurrection of Christ, as the foundation of and the hermeneutics for doing theology in concrete qua tale, especially as it affects the African-Igbo.
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It is arguably true that one of the seemingly most balanced and erudite works written on the evangelization of the Igbo (Ibo) vis-à-vis their Sitz-im-leben (living situation) is the 1949 work of John J. Jordan (c.s.s.p) titled: Bishop Shanahan of Southern Nigeria. One of the reasons for this seemingly successful effort was the firsthand and apparent balanced account of the author (who was Educational Adviser to the Catholic Missions of Nigeria and the British Cameroons)2 within the world of the Igbo that he saw. This is au courant with the argument of Stanley Hauerwas that “we can only act within the world we can see and we can see the world rightly by being trained to see. We do not come to see just by looking, but by disciplined skills developed through initiation into a narrative. We cannot see the world rightly unless we are changed, because contrary to our assumptions, we do not desire to see the world truthfully.”3 The life of a people, the narrative of a people – their story, their worldview is a way of ‘seeing’ a people, of being initiated into the people and consequently being able to see them truly.4

This ‘way of initiation’ could be called in our context here a hermeneutics. Where this has to do with the ‘biblical metanarrative’ as we attempted here, it becomes “a very complex activity with receptive and creative dimensions.”5 In this way, this technical term, hermeneutics here denotes this...

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