African Traditional Religion in the Study of the New Testament in Africa
The use of the Bible in Africa has a very long history. With Christianity being a religion of the book, the Bible was introduced as early as when the religion itself was introduced, at least in its oral form. In this long history of usage, the Bible has been studied at various levels. It is read by individuals, by families, in Bible study groups, in churches, in schools and at institutions of tertiary education. This chapter discusses the use of African Traditional Religion (ATR) in the study of the New Testament (NT) in Africa. Of course, this sounds over ambitious. It is an over ambition in a number of ways. First, the long history of the study of the New Testament in Africa makes it impossible for one to do justice to the topic. Second, Africa is a large continent divided not only along political and linguistic lines but also along colonial historical lines. Literary works produced and demonstrating the use of African Traditional Religion in the study of the New Testament are therefore in different languages. Often Africa is divided into Anglophone, Lusophone, and Francophone countries. A comprehensive and exhaustive discussion of an African subject would therefore require competence in the English, Portuguese, and French languages in which most of the literature exists. For this reason it is therefore important for me to begin by defining the boundaries of my discussion of the use of ATR in the study of the NT in Africa.