African Foundations of World Religions. (Religion)

New African, July-August 2001 | Go to article overview

African Foundations of World Religions. (Religion)


We conclude, with Part 3, Femi Biko's series on how world religions were based on, or borrowed heavily from, African religious systems and repackaged the source they had borrowed from. The last instalment in our May issue ended with the influence of Akhenaten on both Jewish and Christian traditions. Please read on...

Akhenaten's intervention marked a turning point by which attitudes towards the religious process (mass rituals) vigorously challenged the spiritual process, the process of inner enlightenment. It also marked a major turning point in the direction of temporal affairs, dissolving the idea that religious and scientific dogmas are mutually exclusive.

Whether viewed as an "heretic" or a "reformer", Akhenaton was undoubtedly a "precursor of modern ideas". The complex legacy of the Aten religion rejects our modern distinctions between the rational and the spiritual, and in fact served as a precursor of the theory of grand unification. As Professor Hornung contends:

"In Amarna religion, for the first rime in history an attempt was made to explain the entire natural and human world on the basis of a simple principle. Like Einstein, Akhenaton made light the absolute reference point, and it is astonishing how clearly and consistently he pursued this concept in the 14th century BCE (Before the Christ Era), making him in fact the first modern human being." (Akhenaton And The Religion of Light, 1999).

In theological terms, Islam today is perhaps, in many respects, the nearest to the uncompromising monotheism of the religion of Aten. Akhenaton's conception of the singular manifestation of God had spread rapidly to Near Eastern regions, especially to Egyptian colonies of the New Kingdom such as Byblos, Palestine and Arabia.

Through its colonial policies, Ancient Egyptian cultural and religious influence was to dominate much of the Near East and Mediterranean and this influence was later reflected in both Christian and Muslim formulations in the subsequent years.

Just as Judaism and Christianity had previously borrowed from Ancient Egyptian sources, Islamic sources in turn derived several of its doctrines from the anterior traditions.

Ancient Egyptian hatred of the pig was legendary in the Old World and remained so until the Late Period as Herodotus reported in the 5th century BC.

In Islam, the pig also became Haram (forbidden). Judaic and Moslem scholars have certainly not failed to recognise the connection between the three faiths (see Maurice Bucaille's The Bible, Quran and Science, 1976).

Similarly, Herodotus, who had observed the Ancient Egyptians to be "the most scrupulous in religious observation amongst all people", was certain that "Ethiopian and the Egyptians were the only races from ancient times to have practised circumcision".

Following his research into the genesis of the practice, Herodotus would affirm that Semitic groups such as "the Phoenicians and Syrians of Palestine themselves admit that they adopted the practice from [Ancient] Egypt" (see Herodotus' Histories p2:104).

From the Cape to the Sahara and from the Atlantic coast across to the Horn, the initiation practice of circumcision was universal amongst settled and nomadic paleo-African cultures. Its diffusion to the Near East was probably due to Semitic diffusion.

The Hebrew adoption of circumcision practices from Pharaonic Egypt was subsequently explained as a sign of the favoured status of the Israelite nation in a covenant with God (see Genesis 17: 8-14).

Be that as it may, the link between religious narratives and the male phallic finds its most elaborate expression in the Ancient Egyptian Tekhen (Obelisk) legends pertaining to Min, Amen and their chief deity Osiris. (Note: All references to Egypt or Egyptian in this article means Ancient Egypt).

For the Egyptians, the obelisks were monuments symbolic of supreme procreativity, as they were identified with the earth in union with the sky, in Egyptian terms Geb's phallus in perpetual intimacy with Nut's womb. …

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

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.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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

African Foundations of World Religions. (Religion)
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?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access 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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.