The Church in Africa, 1450-1950

Hastings, Adrian
Date published: 
March 1996

"I can merely admire his courage in tackling so complex and difficult a subject; he should succeed in stimulating a fresh generation of research ... this well-written, intelligent and lively study will greatly stimulate anyone fortunate enough to read it." Christianity provided the constitutive identity of historic Ethiopia. From the sixteenth century, and increasingly from the nineteenth, it entered decisively into the life and culture of an increasing number of other African peoples. In the course of the twentieth century, African Christians have become a major par t of the world Church, and arguably modern African history as a whole is not intelligible without its powerful Christian element. Yet despite the great advance in African historiography over the last forty years, this is the first major volume to consider the historical development and character of the Christian Church in Africa as a whole, linking together Ehtiopia Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and the numerousm 'Independent' churches of modern times. The book focuses throughout on the role of coversion, the shaping of Church life and its relationship to traditional values, and the impact of political power. Professor Hastings also compares the relation of Christian history to the comprable development of Islam in Africa.

`well-written, intelligent and lively .. will greatly stimulate anyone fortunate enough to read it' (TLS). This is a unique, major history of the Christian church in Africa spanning five centuries and the whole compass of different Christian movements from the old Ethiopian Church to Catholic and Protestant missionaries and the `independent' churches of today.