A History of the Church in Africa by Bengt Sundkler

By Bengt Sundkler

The overdue Bengt Sundkler, missionary, bishop, and educational, pioneered the research of self reliant church buildings in Africa. during this magisterial paintings, he reports the full historical past of the improvement of Christianity in all areas of the continent. not like the normal specialize in the missionary company, Professor Sundkler locations the African converts on the centre of the learn. African Christians, quite often drawn from the margins of society, reinterpreted the Christian message, proselytised, ruled neighborhood congregations, and organised self sufficient church buildings. Emphasising African tasks within the means of Christianisation, he argues that its improvement used to be formed by means of African kings and courts, the heritage of labour migration, and native reports of colonisation. This long-awaited publication turns into the normal reference on African Christian church buildings.

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A History of the Church in Africa

The past due Bengt Sundkler, missionary, bishop, and educational, pioneered the examine of self reliant church buildings in Africa. during this magisterial paintings, he stories the total background of the advance of Christianity in all areas of the continent. not like the normal specialise in the missionary firm, Professor Sundkler areas the African converts on the centre of the learn.

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One of the three Ecumenical creeds, the `Athanasian' (Quicumque vult), is named after him. He was himself exiled from his Alexandria see by the Emperor no less than ®ve times, altogether for a period of some twenty years. ) His friend and colleague was the liturgically creative Serapion of Thmuis. In this book we are not likely to forget that it was St Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, who consecrated Frumentius as Bishop of Aksum, thus establishing the links between the Church in Egypt and the Church in Ethiopia which were to last for 1,600 years.

Here a Christian church from about the ®fth century was built with pagan mussel-shells also used as symbols in the Christian Church, thus testifying to unhampered survival of symbols. Here also the Egyptian cross took shape in the form of the beginnings of the `TAU' cross devoted to the Victorious Christ. 16 Some of the pre-Christian temples such as the one in Philae devoted to Isis, the goddess of fertility and salvation, were used for the new Christian religion until about AD 580. From that date, for a period of sixty years (580±640) Christian worship could, without pagan in¯uences, develop its speci®c forms and expressions.

34 nubia The 1,000 years of Nubia's Church history ± 450? to 1450? ± stand out in the record of the Church in Africa. Consider the drama of its discovery, made only recently in the 1950s and 1960s. For centuries this history had been hidden, until the concerted scienti®c archaeological efforts of the world community, co-ordinated by UNESCO ± with ®fty-nine archaeological expeditions to Nubia in the period 1959±1969 ± uncovered an extraordinary Christian culture, in ruins, yet suf®ciently well-preserved to allow a breathtaking impression of the glorious riches of this ancient Church.

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