chapter  1
Introduction - Locating Ancient Egypt in Africa: Modern Theories, Past Realities
Pages 22

This chapter discusses some of the ways in which Ancient Egypt informed the worldview of missionaries in southern Africa, arriving from the early 19th century, and the lasting effect this had on local Christian and secular thinking. The Old Testament included the record of the origins of humanity and the history of that part of it which had been central to the salvation history of the Christian religion. Classical learning comprised Greek and Latin writings, and such other parts of the knowledge of the ancient Mediterranean as had been preserved within them. Missionaries, in seeking to understand the populations they were evangelizing, made use of the sources most familiar to them first the Bible, and of course their knowledge of their own societies, but also their knowledge of classical literature. Missionaries drew parallels both with Semitic cultures and with Ancient Egypt, the latter especially with reference to the Sotho-Tswana animal totems, but also sometimes with reference to circumcision.