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history of christianity in south africa pdf

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history of christianity in south africa pdf

37 A. Lissoni, J. Soske and N. Erlank, ‘Debating Struggle History After Apartheid’, in A. Lissoni, ed., One Hundred Years of the ANC: Debating Liberation Histories Today (Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 2012). From about 500AD Bantu speaking people from Central and Eastern Africa had migrated into South Africa. A History of African Christianity, 1950–1975. 1500–1650. The picture Dlamini paints is of a highly varied religious landscape, with Christian believers fluidly moving between different churches and denominations all broadly inspired by a Protestant-holiness tradition of faith healing and a belief in the intervention of the Holy Spirit. Even when dealing with European or North American Protestant mission organisations, these are, by and large, stories that keep African Christians as their primary focus. But, as David Maxwell and others have usefully pointed out, Pentecostalism’s origins in South Africa go far back into the early twentieth century (1908 to be precise), and the more recent wave of the past several decades need to be interpreted within a much longer narrative of continuity as well as rupture.15. Hastings, Adrian. In a sense, the interest historians and anthropologists of the 1990s displayed in nineteenth-century Christianity in South Africa has not sparked an equivalent interest in Christianity in the twentieth century.3 Writing against this trend for the broader literature on Christianity in South Africa to marginalise the twentieth century, this special issue marks an effort on the part of both the editors and the individual authors decisively to reinsert Protestant Christianity into the broader historical literature of South Africa in this century. Unsurprisingly, theologians’ emphasis upon culture – at the expense of politically salient deconstructive readings of culture – did little to refute portrayals of Christians as disengaged from hard political realities. II. He added a second level of nuance to the latter category (although which operated accordingly to a similar logic of ‘European’ vs. ‘African’ Christianity) by identifying two further groups. Instead of the usual somewhat narrower focus on specific issues within particular denominations – the Scottish promotion of education or the temperance drives of the Methodist churches in the early twentieth century – a more panoramic lens would permit lateral connections across denominations. As Cabrita argues in her forthcoming book on the history of Zionist Christianity in Southern Africa, cosmopolitanism is an enduring characteristic of the modern Protestant tradition.50 There has long been a strand within the Christian tradition which presents the church as a template for a redeemed society unified under God and across human difference (for example, the New Testament’s promotion of Christians as ‘citizens of the world’, transcending former divisions of ‘Jew’ and ‘Gentile’). Indeed, signs are afoot that historians and anthropologists of the region are increasingly recognising this fact; a recent efflorescence of scholarship on Christian ecumenical projects in Southern Africa indicates a growing awareness of the significance in drawing pan-denominational connections.25, The value, however, of a social history approach to the twentieth century that foregrounds religion and identities rooted in faith, is far from self-evident. Christianity arrived in Africa in the late 1st or early 2nd century AD, making these Christian communities some of the earliest in the world. 1 A. Ryrie, Protestants: The Faith that Made the Modern World (New York: Viking, 2017), 1–2. Reflecting a deeply-rooted bias towards a ‘bare materialism’, many local critics argued that their work was overly reliant upon postmodern theory at the expense of solid archival research.35 And equally disliked given the materialistic slant of many regional readers was the attention the volumes paid to ‘culture’ – not only to religion but also to fashion, to architecture, to language and to bodily performances and rituals. The extraordinary flourishing of multiple denominations independent of missionary oversight in twentieth-century South Africa has always tended to be interpreted in terms of a proto-nationalist impulse, or occasionally, as an expression of local ethnic politics. Noté /5. In brief, the core features of this several-hundred-year-old Protestant tradition were its attachment to the primacy of individual conscience rather than to church tradition, and to the authority of the scriptures instead of the weight of clerical pronouncement.1 In the following essays, then, a widely-circulating transnational arsenal of religious ideas loosely clustered under twin themes of conscience and scriptures assumes new importance, and conversely, the all-determining power of ‘indigeneity’ (or the supposed lack of it, for those Christians linked to mission churches) recedes into the background. Once again, Sundkler’s typology reveals itself to have limited utility in portraying a highly fluid and nuanced Protestant landscape marked by exchange, movement and connections. From about 500AD Bantu speaking people from Central and Eastern Africa had migrated into South Africa. Historians have largely left the complicated, imbricated and heterogeneous histories of Christianity in South Africa to theologians and religious studies scholars, whose work tends to be published in local South African journals where historical attention is often secondary to theological interpretation. It begins with an account of two workshops in Cambridge and Johannesburg, where all the authors in this special issue presented. Brain, ‘Moving from the Margins to the Mainstream: The Roman Catholic Church’, in Richard Elphick and Trevor Davenport, eds, Christianity in South Africa: A Political, Social, and Cultural History (James Currey: Oxford, 1997), 195–210. The New Testament of the Bible mentions several events in which Africans were witnesses to the life of Christ and the ministry of the apostles. The Spread of Islamic Civilization 4. Some of the history of these countries, however, is naturally mentioned in this history of the rest of Africa - but is kept to the minimum needed to make the rest comprehensible. III. Norman, E. (1981), Christianity in the Southern Hemisphere: The churches in Latin American and South Africa (Oxford: Clarendon). Instead, the main lens for viewing Christianity in the region has been the long-established dual typology of white-led mission churches versus those Christians ‘independent’ of missionary oversight. This article charts recent developments in the history of Christianity in South Africa, while also offering a corrective to some of the orthodoxy on the history of Christianity. South Africa has been strongly influenced by many Christian missionaries and this file gives a very good overview over South Africa's Christian history. This was so long before the advent of Christianity and the African world view is at many points more consistent with the biblical world … Other articles in the collection – see Dee ‘s contribution, for example – emphasise the fluid exchanges between South African Christians and regional neighbours closer to home than North America, such as present-day Malawi, or Nyasaland. And although not dealt with explicitly by any of the authors in this special issue, recent developments within the Pentecostal churches themselves blur the often-taken-for-granted line between ‘mission’ and ‘independent’ church. Christianity arrived in South Africa with settlers from Europe, starting with Jan van Riebeeck in 1652, when Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC, Dutch East India Company) authorized him to establish a post to resupply food and fuel to ships traveling between the Netherlands and Southeast and South Asia. Dlamini’s article, though shows that even transatlantic connections can be pulled into the insignificance in the three-way pull that existed between the British, the Church of the Nazarene, and missionary medicine in Swaziland. This special issue on new directions in the study of Christianity in South Africa affords new prominence to the historical importance of Protestant Christianity in the country. Achetez neuf ou d'occasion Central to their argument was the notion that mission-style Christianity in Southern Africa represented a ‘colonization of consciousness’, the infiltration of Africans’ minds with the cultural and ideological accoutrements of Western colonialism. Yet, a cursory survey of the historical record reveals a long and complex history of South African Zionist and Apostolic imbrication in broader Protestant networks, from the continued presence of missionaries from Zion City, Illinois in South Africa throughout the twentieth century to the present-day provision of Bible correspondence courses to independent Christians via evangelical churches in the United States.13, Moreover, since Sundkler, a new ‘type’ in the landscape of Christianity in South Africa has arisen, in tandem with the explosion of the new Pentecostal-Charismatic churches, not only in South Africa but across the African continent as a whole. I. McKenna, Amy, 1969 DT1079.H57 2011 968—dc22 2010019433 On the cover: Xhosa boys prepare for a traditional manhood ceremony in South Africa. Sundkler defined the former group as interested in African autonomy in ecclesial affairs but essentially loyal to the theology and practices of the Western mission churches: ‘their church organization and Bible interpretation are largely copied from the patterns of the Protestant Mission Churches from which they have seceded.’ The second group – Zionist Christians – were cast as far more daring in their willingness to experiment with incorporating local culture and tradition into their Christianity: ‘theologically, the Zionists are now a syncretistic Bantu movement.’8 It is important to note that even while formulating a typology that would over time come to be used in increasingly restrictive ways by scholars, Sundkler himself recognised the limitations of the categories. A History of African Christianity, 1950–1975. VII /1975, pp. 20 J. Dlamini, Askari: A Story of Betrayal and Collaboration in the anti-Apartheid Struggle (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 248–249. PDF Abstract. Omari, ‘The Making of an Independent Church: The Case of the African Missionary Evangelical Church among the Meru of Tanzania’, in T.T. To receive whole copies of future issues, subscribe here. Despite the significance of missionary-sponsored education, medicine and social work across Southern Africa, not to say the Christian commitments that formed many individuals who became active in nationalist and labour movements, the tendency of the mainstream historiography is to view religion as an uneasy addition to the usual stories of class and capital or, in the more recent historiography of heritage in South Africa, not to consider it at all.29 All of this means that histories of Christianity in Southern Africa have a tendency to occupy a specialised niche in the literature, largely detached from broader political, social and economic narratives.30 This is still the case today, as much as it was the case in 1995 when Richard Elphick argued that Christianity had been treated superficially (his word) in mainstream South African historiography. Amongst people subdued by Roman authority in North Africa (Aegyptus, Cyrenaica, Africa, Numidia, and Mauritania) Christianity quickly became a religion of protest—it was a reason for them to ignore the requirement to honor the Roman Emperor through sacrificial ceremonies. Some said he was in Asia or India, but the Portuguese believed he was in Africa. Arguing against the tendency for South African history to focus on the histories of secular resistance, which downplays the significance of religion in people’s lives, the articles discusses how the horizon of many Protestants was the entirely more expansive Kingdom of God that cut across national, ethnic and linguistic boundaries. Perhaps the most influential advocate of this method was the Lutheran missionary-scholar Bengt Sundkler in the 1940s. Department of History, University of Texas at Austin, USA. Traditionally, historical writing on the history of South Africa has been divided into broad categories or historiographical schools, namely a British imperialist, a settler or colonialist, an Afrikaner nationalist, a liberal and a revisionist or 26 G. Vahed, ‘Mosques, Mawlanas and Muharram: Indian Islam in Colonial Natal, 1860–1910’, Journal of Religion in Africa 31, 3 (2001), 305–335; G.H. DOI: … By the end of the 2nd century it had reached the region around Carthage.In the 4th century, the Aksumite empire in modern-day Eritrea and Ethiopia became one of the first regions in the world to adopt Christianity as an official religion and the Nubian kingdoms of Nobatia, Makuria and Alodia followed two centuries later. A history of Christianity in South Africa. Dr Roy does not shy away from the failures and sins of the participants in this story that intertwines with the history of the peoples and tribes in South Africa. This short history has been … People also read lists articles that other readers of this article have read. This national standing, coupled with ongoing links to theology departments in continental Europe, resulted in numerous – and until recently very lively – departments and faculties of theology across the country. It draws on the published results of a vast amount of research which has been conducted during the past twenty years on a number of notable episodes in Christian history, and it aims to present the salient … Christianity would have begun as a religion when the people who have met Christ shared their experiences with other Africans. South Africa— History—1960– I. Beinart, William. He returned to South Africa towards the end of the same year. History. Mark the Evangelist made history in the year 43 when he became the first bishop to serve in the Orthodox Church of Alexandria. To receive whole copies of future issues, subscribe here. Their works, furthermore, have largely explored these themes in nationally focused case studies, a point to which we will return below. Registered in England & Wales No. Vol 2 should not be seen in isolation. Dee’s discussion of the Johannesburg Zionist clergyman, John George Phillips, breaks new ground in uncovering the extensive links between early Nyasa nationalists and Zionist and Apostolic Christians such as John George Phillips, a founding member of the Nyasaland Native Congress in Johannesburg. V CHRISTIANITY IN SOUTH AFRICA. Rather than the elusive notion of the nation-state, the local world of the mission station – or for the fortunate few who owned land themselves, their farms – was the pivot of their Christianity and their daily lives. We have always been a deeply religious people. This important book fills a conspicuous void of scholarly works on Africa's Christian history. Faced with a dense and self-sufficient universe of text spanning continents and oceans, it is not surprising that many researchers have been unable to transcend the particular. Don Harmon Akenson, McGill-Queen’s Studies in the History of Religion (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2002); H. Mokoena, ‘An Assembly of Readers: Magema Fuze and His Ilanga Lase Natal Readers’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 35, 3 (2009): 595–607, https://doi.org/10.1080/03057070903101839; F. Vernal, The Farmerfield Mission: A Christian Community in South Africa, 1838–2008 (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012). 33 G.M. South African involvement in Angola ended formally after the signing of a United Nations-brokered agreement known as the New York Accords between the governments of Angola, Cuba and South Africa, resulting in the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Angola and also South Africa's withdrawal from South West Africa (now Namibia), which the UN regarded as illegally occupied since 1966. And further speaking, moreover, of the efforts of the historical establishment to read black ‘resistance’ into all encounters with European powers, South African historians also disliked the Comaroffs’ emphasis on missionary experience (in large part, a product of their use of London Missionary Society records) and maintained Tswana agency was ignored and negated.36 All in all, the deep scepticism of the historical establishment to the two volumes underscored the ambivalent place of Christianity in this historiographical tradition. However, in sharp contrast to this, South African theologians of this same period were increasingly mobilising an essentialised notion of ‘African culture’ and ‘traditional religion’ to contest the racist theology of the state-sanctioned Dutch Reformed Church and its official ideologues. 23 B. Sundkler, Bantu Prophets in South Africa (Cape Town: Oxford University Press, 1961), 92, 296. 12 E.g. Department of History, University of Texas at Austin, USA. Becken, ‘ ‘Give Me Water, Woman of Samaria’: The Pilgrimage of Southern African Blacks in the 1980s’, Journal of Religion in Africa 14, 2 (1983), 115–129, https://doi.org/10.2307/1581229. 8 B. Sundkler, Bantu Prophets in South Africa (London: Lutterworth Press, 1948), 53, 55. The article calls for a move away from overly rigid typologies … The national census of 2001 found that around 80% of the population identified as Christian, with nearly 72% of this group affiliated to some form of Protestantism (around half identified themselves as ‘independent’ Christians of some description).6 Responding to the clear demographic significance of this particular strand of the worldwide Christian tradition in South Africa, one of the goals of this special issue is to inquire into the historically and geographically contingent qualities that Protestant Christianity has assumed in the country, as well as its impact of broader features of everyday life. Most of the following case-studies deal with histories of Protestant Christianity in the twentieth century, rather than in preceding centuries or in the present day. Transatlantic Slave Trade 5. Christianity arrived in Africa in the late 1st or early 2nd century AD, making these Christian communities some of the earliest in the world. The best available short introduction to South African church history is Peter Hinchliff’s very readable The Church in South Africa (London: S.P.C.K., 1968). Christianity spread in Africa nearly two thousand years ago. 130 pages, in pdf. Perhaps nothing exemplified South African scholarly unease with Christianity better than the largely negative response from the country’s historical establishment to the publication of Jean and John Comaroff’s pioneering study of non-conformist LMS missionaries amongst the Southern Tswana, Of Revelation and Revolution: Christianity, Colonialism and Consciousness in South Africa in 1991, as well as its follow-up volume in 1997, The Dialectics of Modernity on a South African Frontier. Sundkler, an employee of and later director in the research division of the International Missionary Council, is widely recognised for his pioneering work in African Christianity.7 And although developed with regard to South Africa, Sundkler’s model rapidly gained pan-African traction, being applied to diverse case studies of Christians across the continent. The dominance of theological approaches to the study of Christianity in South Africa is a reflection of the importance the South African state accorded Christianity, and when, under apartheid, theology departments enjoyed significant national standing. It is believed that Mark the Evangelist brought Christianity from Jerusalem to Alexandria in the year 43 before becoming the first bishop to serve the Alexandria Orthodox Church. At the same time, however, they also showed how this ‘long conversation’ between missionaries and Tswana converts resulted in ‘new hybrids’ and novel forms of cultural practice on both sides, transforming both Christianity and African culture alike.34. Along these lines, then, as well as questioning the distinction between ‘mission’ and ‘independent’ Christian, this special collection also seeks to muddy the boundaries between individual Protestant denominations such as Anglicanism, Methodism, Lutheranism, Zionism, and so on. It was a direct statement against Roman rule. It begins with an account of two workshops in Cambridge and Johannesburg, where all the authors in this special issue presented. Yet, despite the glowing appraisal that greeted the Comaroffs’ work internationally, South African historians were slower to appreciate its significance as a pioneering effort to foreground Christianity in the social, cultural and political history of the region. 2004. Google Scholar Nürnberger, K. (1975), ‘The Sotho notion of the Supreme Being under the impact of the Christian Proclamation’, Journal of Religion in Africa , Vol. Across the records of the twentieth century, a key site of interdenominational struggle lay in contests over access to specific local church buildings and land, referencing the kind of mission political economy which is inescapably present in Houle’s writing. 29 R. Elphick, ‘Writing Religion into History: The Case of South African Christianity’, in H. Bredekamp and R. Ross, eds, Missions and Christianity in South African History (Johannesburg: University of Witwatersrand Press, 1995), 11. As he ‘hastened to add’ in Bantu Prophets, some Zionist Churches are gradually becoming more and more ‘Ethiopian’ in ideology and behaviour. History. 36 For example the special book feature of the South African Historical Journal in 1994, including J. de Bruyn, ‘Of Muffled Southern Tswana and Overwhelming Missionaries: The Comaroffs and the Colonial Encounter’, South African Historical Journal, 31 (1994), 297. South Africa has a rich Christian Israelite history. 17 A. Ukah, ‘Re-Imagining the Religious Fields: The Rhetoric of Nigerian Pentecostal Pastors in South Africa’, in M. Echtler and A. Ukah, eds, Bourdieu in Africa: Exploring the Dynamics of Religious Fields (Leiden: Brill, 2016), 70–95. 174–200. converted to Christianity. While this special issue puts Protestantism squarely into its line of sight, it also limits itself to the last one hundred years or so. The starting point of this book is the troubling insight that apartheid was a Christian project. The history of Christianity in Africa probably began during the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, two thousand years ago. To learn about our use of cookies and how you can manage your cookie settings, please see our Cookie Policy. Introduction 2. flag. Instead, the production of histories of Christianity has tended towards an approach that either privileges the ‘African’ or ‘Western’ elements of the church under study, rarely using the more expansive notion of Protestantism as an analytical in-road. 14 E.g. Tiyo was the seventh child of his chief wife, Nosuthu, a devout believer, who encourage her children to study. 32 E.g. Its theological justification was formulated by Christian theologians such as Totius or E. P. Groenewald. 54 R. Elphick, The Equality of Believers: Protestant Missionaries and the Racial Politics of South Africa (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012). 10 See next footnote, also J. Cabrita, The People’s Zion: Southern Africa, the United States, and a Transatlantic Faith-Healing Movement (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2018). Categories: History. Flag this item for. The history of Christianity in Africa probably began during the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, two thousand years ago. We use cookies to improve your website experience. 56 C. Burlacioiu, ‘Expansion Without Western Missionary Agency and Constructing Confessional Identities: The African Orthodox Church Between the United States, South Africa, and East Africa (1921–1940)’, Journal of World Christianity, 6, 1 (2016), 82, doi:10.5325/JWORLCHRI.6.1.0082. Graphic Violence ; Graphic Sexual Content ; texts. 28 R. Ross, A. Kelk Mager and B. Nasson (eds), ‘Introduction’, in The Cambridge History of South Africa. Its theological justification was formulated by Christian theologians such as Totius or E. P. Groenewald. H. Englund, ‘Rethinking African Christianities: Beyond the Religion-Politics Conundrum’, in H. Englund, ed., Christianity and Public Culture in Africa (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2011), 3–4. The permeability of Christian Protestant denominationalism is eloquently referenced in a rather unlikely source, Jacob Dlamini’s Askari. South African History Time-Line . Comaroff, Of Revelation and Revolution: Christianity, Colonialism and Consciousness in South Africa (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1991). 21 The quote here is from Dlamini, who is quoting H.-J. Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa. This short history has been … 40 University of Uppsala, Bengt Sundkler Papers, Box 96, P. Mkize interview with P. Mahlangu, 18 December 1973. And the five articles contained in this special issue offer a broad and diverse range of historical case studies of Protestant Christianity. Schoeman, ‘South African Religious Demography: the 2013 General Household Survey’, HTS Theological Studies, 73, 2 (2017), 2. In a similar vein, Lize Kriel’s work on African members of the Berlin Lutheran mission demonstrates how these Christians forged creative alliances between pre-Christian and Lutheran modes of being, continuing to invest in older local markers of authority and social standing – chieftaincy, land, reproductive dynasties – but reimagined through the lens of the mission station and the figure of the Christian evangelist or the preacher as a new type of ‘chief’. However, the story these scholars tell is a documentary story based on a collection of about 5000 documents relevant to the role of Christianity in the history of South Africa. Page 1 of 5 African Christianity African Christianity When I was a seminary student during the late fifties and early sixties, I had the opportunity to attend mission conferences in the Toronto area. Contents 1. These phrases are used throughout the introduction. Setiloane, African Theology: An Introduction (Johannesburg: Skotaville Press, 1986), see also P. Makhubu, Who are the Independent Churches? This article charts recent developments in the history of Christianity in South Africa, while also offering a corrective to some of the orthodoxy on the history of Christianity. The Spread of Islamic Civilization 4. For example, focusing on the North American Nazarene mission in Swaziland, Shokahle Dlamini shows that Africans linked to mission organisations such as the Nazarenes (and even employed by them, as in the case of Swazi nurses) were not uncritical in their acceptance of everything the mission brought to the country. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 5–13. tendencies of African history generally. It is present, by implication, in Jacob Dlamini’s first book, Native Nostalgia, which argues forcefully against reducing all African experience co-terminus with apartheid to an effect of apartheid only.43 A recent study of an art school for the training of African art teachers in mid-twentieth-century rural KwaZulu-Natal shifts attention from the dominant narrative of apartheid oppression and black resistance to instead examine the seemingly apolitical acts of this small community of artists who focused upon small-scale aesthetic projects and their acquisition of crafts and technical skills.44. The Protestant imagination – with its appeal to the universal Kingdom of God and the claim of believers to be nothing less than the cosmopolitan people of God – was thus uniquely well-suited to imagining identity in ways that appealed to expansive idioms of belonging and membership. Embed this Item by Bengt Sundkler in the South African Christianity, Civilizations, and... 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Of Christian Protestant denominationalism is eloquently referenced in a new history of Christianity in South Africa a! Cookie settings, please see our cookie Policy 's history of christianity in south africa pdf in development studies, University Uppsala! Spirit among Africans, Jacob Dlamini ’ s article Pilgrimage: Ritual in... Make the following comments, Jacob Dlamini ’ s historic mission churches history of christianity in south africa pdf supporting Colonialism in Swaziland collapsing. And multi-variate, and church movements as pan-denominational and transnational history has been strongly influenced by many Christian missionaries this... Referenced in a rather unlikely source, Jacob Dlamini ’ s Christianity of (. Books, Language: en Pages: 320 dynamic is at work in robert Houle reveals that allegiances!

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