Synopses & Reviews
Catholic theologians have developed the relatively new term inculturationto discuss the old problem of adapting the church universal to specific local cultures. Europeans needed a thousand years to inculturate Christianity from its Judaic roots. Africans' efforts to make the church their own followed a similar process but in less than a century. Until now, there has been no book-length examination of the Catholic church's pastoral mission in Zimbabwe or of African Christians' efforts to inculturate the church.Ranging over the century after Jesuit missionaries first settled in what is now Zimbabwe, this enlightening book reveals two simultaneous and intersecting processes: the Africanization of the Catholic Church by African Christians and the discourse of inculturation promulgated by the Church. With great attention to detail, it places the history of African Christianity within the broader context of the history of religion in Africa. This illuminating work will contribute to current debates about the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe and throughout Africa.
"One of the greatest challenges to the Church in the 20th and present century is to adapt "cultural "and sacramental life of a Rome-centered institution "to non-European cultures. Professor Nicholas Creary's "in-depth study of the Jesuits' "attempts to establish the faith in Zimbabwe "has much to teach us -- especially if we can learn from our mistakes."--Raymond Schroth, S.J., Saint Peter's College"Creary's attentiveness to cultural and theological predispositions shaping both Zimbabweans and Jesuit missionaries allows him rich insights into their interactions. The study of African Christianity needs more studies like this one that shed light on the evolution of African Christian identity."--Paul Kollman, CSC, Notre Dame
"Creary's attentiveness to cultural and theological predispositions shaping both Zimbabweans and Jesuit missionaries allows him rich insights into their interactions. The study of African Christianity needs more studies like this one that shed light on the evolution of African Christian identity."--Paul Kollman, CSC, Notre Dame
This book, a reminder of the lasting impact of European missionaries inAfrica, is aimed at readers who believe that Africans have alwaysdecided for themselves what to do with Christianity. Domesticating andImport is telling us to wake up to the fact that there are limits toinculturation. Coming as I do from the background world of converts toChristianity described, it is no wonder I ended up on a search for themeaning of Christianity in its long history in western cultures.Nicholas Creary's book is thought provoking.-Isabel Mukonyora
Challenging the view that Western missionaries colonized African minds, Creary explores the transformation of the Catholic Church from below, using colonial Zimbabwe as a case study. He examines the ways in which Shona people shaped the Church by incorporating African beliefs, symbols, and cultural practices and how the Church, in turn, responded to their initiatives. Creary's book is innovative, insightful, and compelling. It is bound to have a significant impact on future scholarly interpretations of Christianity in Africa--and elsewhere in the colonized world.-Elizabeth Schmidt
One of the greatest challenges to the Church in the 20th and present century is to adapt ÿcultural ÿand sacramental life of a Rome-centered institution ÿto non-European cultures. Professor Nicholas Creary's ÿin-depth study of the Jesuits' ÿattempts to establish the faith in Zimbabwe ÿhas much to teach us - especially if we can learn from our mistakes.-Raymond Schroth, S.J.
About the Author
is an Assistant Professor of History and African Studies at Ohio University. He is the editor of Intellectuals and African Decolonization (Ohio University Press, 2010) and Returning to the Sources: New Critical Perspectives on African Indigenous Knowledges.