Christianity in South Africa: An Annotated Bibliography

Christianity in South Africa: An Annotated Bibliography

Christianity in South Africa: An Annotated Bibliography

Christianity in South Africa: An Annotated Bibliography

Synopsis

In all its diversity, Christianity has been a powerful force in South African life. From the history of colonial missions, through the development of denominations, to the emergence of African initiated churches, Christianity has assumed a variety of distinctively South African forms. This comprehensive guide offers detailed reviews of over 600 works that have established the importance of Christianity in South African history, society, and religious experience. Of interest to scholars and students of religious studies, cultural anthropology, African Studies, and history, this volume, together with African Traditional Religion in South Africa and Islam, Hinduism, and Judaism in South Africa (both Greenwood, 1997), will become the standard reference work on South African religions.

Excerpt

We were standing in the airport in Cape Town, flight delayed, on our way to represent the Institute for Comparative Religion in Southern Africa (ICRSA) at a conference in Utrecht, when we met the prophet of the Church of Qamatha. Claiming to have established a direct line to the supreme God, as that God was designated under His African name in Xhosa, the prophet explained that the Gods of all other religion--Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, and so on--provided legitimate but subordinate avenues to the spiritual reality overseen by the highest God, Qamatha. in theological terms, the prophet saw all other divine beings as mediators between humans and the supreme God of Africa, the God that could only be reached directly through the Church of Qamatha and the prophet of that church. Under pressures of airline rescheduling, we had to end this conversation abruptly. Yet questions lingered as we headed north from Africa to Europe: Was the prophet's religious vision African? Was it Christian? Was it both? Was it neither? What is Christianity in South Africa?

This bibliography collects and annotates resources for wrestling with these questions. Unfortunately, the Church of Qamatha has not yet been documented in the literature under review. Certainly, it would pose a problem for the standard accounts of European missions, mainstream denominations, and African initiated churches that have dominated research on Christianity in South Africa. While the research in these three basic areas has been collected here, substantial gaps remain in our understanding of the impact and influence of Christian discourses and practices. in the case of the prophet of the Church of Qamatha, for example, the Christian religion represents an inferior path to be rejected. Yet the basic parameters of the prophet's religious mission--his role as prophet, his church, and his theological reflections--have all been informed . . .

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