More Information
ISBN: 9781783684649
Imprint: HippoBooks
Format: Paperback
Dimensions (mm): 229 x 152 x 14
Publication Date: 28/02/2019
Pages: 252
Language: English

African Hermeneutics


Interpretation of Scripture occurs within one’s worldview and culture, which enhances our understanding and ability to apply Scripture in the world. However, few books address Bible interpretation from an African perspective and no other textbook uses the intercultural approach found here. This book brings both an awareness of how one’s African context gives a lens to hermeneutics, but also how to interpret texts with integrity despite our cultural influences.

African Hermeneutics was born of Prof Elizabeth Mburu’s frustration at only having textbooks that predominantly followed a Western worldview to teach her African students. Mburu’s approach to hermeneutics is one that begins in Africa, moving from the known to the unknown as students learn to apply her ‘four-legged stool model’ to biblical texts, namely examining: the parallels to African contexts, the theological context, the literary context, and the historical and cultural context. This textbook will help students and pastors interpret Scripture with greater accuracy in their own context, allowing for faithful application in their local contexts.

Author Bios

Elizabeth Mburu

ELIZABETH MBURU was the first woman to gain a PhD from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, North Carolina, USA. She is an Associate Professor of New Testament and Greek at International Leadership University, Africa International University and Pan-Africa Christian University in Nairobi, Kenya. Dr Mburu is on the board of the Africa Bible Commentary and is the editorial coordinator and New Testament editor for its revision, as well as the Africa Regional Coordinator for Langham Literature. Professor Mburu is also the author of Qumran and the Origins of Johannine Language and Symbolism, T & T Clark, 2010 and a contributor to all three books published so far in the Africa Society of Evangelical Theology Series from Langham Global Library: Christianity and Suffering, 2017, African Contextual Realities, 2018, and Governance and Christian Higher Education in the African Context, 2019.


Elizabeth Mburu lays down principles for a four-legged stool model of an intercultural biblical hermeneutics in Africa and applies it to both Old Testament and New Testament texts. Her contribution deserves close attention from any reader who is interested in the development of intercultural hermeneutics in Africa.

Jean-Claude Loba-Mkole, PhD
United Bible Societies, Kenya
University of the Free State, South Africa

This new book will certainly redirect the course of biblical scholarship, especially in Africa, where this new approach will resonate with African emphasis upon the traditional value of storytelling as a sure and valid tool of biblical interpretation.

Yusufu Turaki, PhD
Professor of Theology and Social Ethics,
ECWA Theological Seminary, Jos, Nigeria

It is my privilege to commend this helpful and readable work. Communicating clearly and logically developing observations from African life and the biblical text, Elizabeth Mburu articulates a sound and fruitful African hermeneutic. She skilfully compares African and biblical worldviews, offering foundations for contextualization in a way that brings together the interpretive horizons.

Craig S. Keener, PhD
F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies,
Asbury Theological Seminary, USA

The author of this exciting book, African Hermeneutics, has aptly referred to African Christianity as “dichotomized Christianity.” To remove this split Christianity, Mburu proposes that African Christians must contextualize the interpretation of the Bible by using known African categories of interpretation. Her proposal is new, fresh, engaging and potentially revolutionary and paradigmatic. In my mind, this is a must read for all African theological educators, missionaries, students and pastors.

Samuel Waje Kunhiyop, PhD
Author and General Secretary of ECWA (Evangelical Church Willing All)

Table of Contents

  1. Foreword
  2. Preface
  3. Acknowledgements
  4. Abbreviations
  5. Part I: General Principles of Hermeneutics
    1. 1. Introduction
    2. 2. The African Worldview: Theological Aspects
    3. 3. The African Worldview: Philosophical aspects
    4. 4. An African Hermeneutic: A Four-Legged Stool
  6. Part II: Specific Principles of Hermeneutics
    1. 5. Understanding the Context of the Bible
    2. 6. Interpreting Stories
    3. 7. Interpreting Wisdom
    4. 8. Interpreting Songs
    5. 9. Interpreting Letters
    6. 10. Conclusion
  7. Further Reading
  8. Bibliography
  9. Index of Subjects
  10. Index of Names
  11. Index of Scripture

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