Christianity: Out of Africa

By Morrison, Pat | National Catholic Reporter, September 13, 2002 | Go to article overview

Christianity: Out of Africa


Morrison, Pat, National Catholic Reporter


Thanks to a largely white, Western take on history, many Catholics tend to think that Christianity arrived on the African continent as the result of European-based missionary efforts that began in the 15th century. But a closer look at church history reveals a much different picture.

The first mention of Africa and the Good News of Jesus occurs in the first pages of the Acts of the Apostles--before the conversion of Saul. In the eighth chapter of Acts, the apostle Philip encounters an Ethiopian, the chief treasurer of the queen of Ethiopia. Joining the early African chief financial officer in his chariot, Philip gives him a crash course in scripture that explains Jesus in the teaching of the prophets. When they reach a body of water, Philip baptizes the Ethiopian, who "goes on his way rejoicing.

"Apparently the Ethiopian's newfound faith put down strong roots on the African Continent. By the second century, beginning in North Africa, a vibrant Christianity was in evidence and lasted well into the seventh century. In 206 A.D., the Carthage-born noblewoman Perpetua and her slave, Felicity, were among thousands of Christians who gave their lives as martyrs during fierce Roman persecutions. As the next wave of persecution, under the Roman emperor Diocletian, roared across North Africa, church historian Eusebius relates in 303 that he personally witnessed hundreds of Christians being martyred around Alexandria. The exploits of these African witnesses spawned a whole new literary genre, "acts of the martyrs." The vivid and inspiring (and frequently gory) tales became so popular that, just a century later, St. Augustine had to restrain Christians in his diocese from reading the stories in church as they did the scripture.

St. Augustine was born in 354 in Tagaste, North Africa--modern-day Algeria. His mother, St. Monica, was a member of a family that had been Christian for several generations. With the possible exception of Thomas Aquinas, Augustine has been described as "the greatest single intellect the Catholic church has ever produced" (source: A Concise History of the Catholic church by Thomas Bokenkotter). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Christianity: Out of Africa
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.