Gerald O. West and Musa W. Dube
This volume of essays is more than a book; it is a collaborative project among African biblical scholars. And the project has not come to an end with the production of this book. When we began we hoped that the book would generate more than what it contains between its covers. So we used the opportunity to consult and call for contributions as widely as we could. We accessed every known mailing list of African biblical scholars, focusing where possible on the continent (particularly north of the Limpopo river) but not restricting ourselves to the continent. We also contacted those who work closely with African biblical scholarship. We literally sent out hundreds of invitations for contributions. We did not presume to chart beforehand what constitutes African biblical scholarship or what is happening with the Bible in Africa. We waited to see what we would be offered.
We have tried in every instance to err on the side of including a contribution; we feel that it is important to present in this volume as wide a sense of the presence of the Bible in Africa as possible. Unfortunately, we have not been able to include everything offered, nor has everyone who supported the project been able to offer something (in time). We have also lost contact with some of our potential contributors during the process; items posted have not reached their destinations, email contacts no longer function, and other forms of communication have failed. We apologise to those who feel we have let them down.
The project of collaboration among African (biblical) scholars has received considerable impetus from this book. Contacts have been made, meetings have taken place, resources have been shared, and new initiatives have been born. So the book has already, prior to its publication, fulfilled important expectations.
We did not set out to invite contributions to fit within a set format or our own particular construct of what constitutes the Bible in Africa. We are also fairly certain that the essays gathered here represent only a partial picture of the presence of the Bible in Africa.