Friday, January 19, 2001

The History of Christianity in Africa

by Elizabeth Isichei

Most books I like or dislike from the get go--this one grew on me. I picked this up from the library after seeing it on the shelf at a bookstore. At first I was a bit skeptical of its quality -- I have a 500 page book called The History of Christianity in Asia that covers the first 1500 years and Isichei's book covers that same period in her 32 page first chapter. But the book certainly had more information than I had ever read, so I checked it out anyway. I was impressed. I felt a combination of pride and guilt when reading the accounts of my fellow Christians. The pride came when reading of the many who suffered for their Lord, enduring physical violence from enemies or prejudice and exploitation from supposed friends.  The guilt came in when identifying with those Christians who fell short, both the European missionaries who tried to bring in too much culture and the African leaders who tried to throw out too much truth when establishing their own identity as God's people. Professor Isichei tells of them all, pointing out their shortcomings without demonizing them. I still might wish for a more extensive history, but this book is a good overview and I could always stop being lazy and check out the books referenced in her notes. Anyway, it looks like that bookstore is going to be getting my money anyway, when I get around to putting this on my shelf.

LibraryThing link


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