John Samuel Mbiti, “the father of contemporary African theology”, is a philosopher and as of 2005 an Emeritus professor at the University of Bern and a parish minister to the town of Burgdorf, Switzerland. More details will be provided by the family. Mutua who is also a scholar noted that the deceased will be remembered because of his immense contribution towards the education sector. 13 January 2015. This paper discusses the contribution of Professor John S Mbiti to African theology and African Philosophy. He based his claim on his knowledge that in the Bible, God is the creator of all things, therefore meaning that God has revealed himself to all things. He held visiting professorships at universities across the world and published extensively on philosophy, theology and African oral traditions. one of the greats and pioneers in African Philosophy, Rev Canon Prof John He also collaborated on a book of African proverbs, collected from across the continent. The place of Professor John S Mbiti in African theology and African Philosophy is undoubtedly colossal. is no doubt that his work provided a unique perspective on several space. Mbiti was an ordained Anglican priest. Kenya is mourning the death of celebrated scholar Prof John Mbiti who breathed his last today, Sunday 06 October 2019. Upon his retirement as a parish minister (1996) and university lecturer (2005) in Switzerland, Mbiti translated the entire New Testament from its original manuscripts in Greek and Hebrew into his mothertongue Kiikamba, a Bantu language spoken by the Kamba people of Kenya (and Tansania). Mbiti, whose death occurred on Sunday, October 6 2019. Mbiti’s seminal book, African Religions and Last week at St John’s College, Durham, Prof Mbiti reflected on his recent experience translating the New Testament from the Greek into his native Kiikamba. His primary focus in his first book was to challenge the widely held views that African traditional religions were rooted in demonic anti-Christian values and to stress that traditional African religions deserve the same respect as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism. The Kenyan-born Christian religious philosopher and writer died on Sunday in Switzerland. The Conversational Society of Philosophy (CSP) is a forum for African philosophers and specialists in the field of African philosophy. He gathered ideas from over 300 African peoples or tribes while conducting field research. P’Bitek wrote in his own book African Religions in Western Scholarship that the African traditional religions are beyond recognition to the ordinary Africans in the countryside. Philosophy (1969), continues to influence African philosophers today. [15], CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (, "Kenya mourns the late Prof. Samuel John Mbiti", "The Encounter of Christian Faith and African Religion", "Celebrated Kenyan Scholar Dies in Switzerland", "John Mbiti, 87, Dies; Punctured Myths About African Religions", "WCC commemorates life of former Bossey director John Samuel Mbiti", "Conflicts Between African Traditional Religion and Christianity in Eastern Nigeria: The Igbo Example", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=John_Mbiti&oldid=996459701, CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown, Articles with dead external links from March 2020, Wikipedia articles with PLWABN identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 26 December 2020, at 19:05. He was an ordained Anglican priest, and is considered "the father of modern African theology". John S Mbiti, who coined the famous phrase ‘I am because we are and because we are, therefore I am” died in Switzerland, his home away from home for over 40 years. Prof Mbiti: The man who translated Bible from English to Kamba dies . After that he served as Director of the Ecumenical Institute Bossey, of the World Council of Churches near Geneva, Switzerland. In specific, his biggest criticism was that African cosmologies ultimately align with Christian views of God as omnipotent, omnipresent and eternal. philosophical notions in African philosophy. He said that the death of the scholar is a big blow to the nation. This is captured in the widespread acknowledgment of his famous dictum “I am His 1969 book, African Religions and Philosophy, explored this theme, and he elaborated upon it His Christian upbringing encouraged his educational journey through the African Inland Church. While he was here he wrote his first book, African Religions and Philosophy (1969). From 1974 to 1980 Mbiti was the director of the World Council of Churches Bossey Ecumenical Institute. They believe in a supreme being who is believed to be the controller of the world and all its inhabitants. John Mbiti was born on 30 November 1931 in Mulago, Kitui County, eastern Kenya. Renowned Kenyan … John Mbiti at the All Africa Conference of Churches Assembly in Kampala, Uganda, 2013. Mbiti taught Theology and Religion for many years at Makerere University in Uganda. May his family and friends know peace @WMutunga @ncckkenya @RailaOdinga,” Prof Mutua tweeted. Professor John Mbiti, theologian and former director of the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey of the WCC has recently become the first African scholar to translate the entire Christian New Testament from Greek to Kikamba, a local Kenyan language. several visiting professorships at universities all over the world and published Born in Jomo Kenyata’s land, Kenya, Professor Mbiti studied in Uganda and the United States America. Professor John Mbiti wrote to me making important and constructively critical comments on my paper “Traditional Religion of the Embu People.” It was delightful to receive typed critical comments from such an important scholar as John S. Mbiti. Professor John Mbiti, the first African scholar to translate the Bible in Kikamba, a Kenya intellectual and one of the strongest pillars of African theology, is no more. The first conference in June 1976 focused on African and Asian contributions to contemporary theology. Mbiti furthered his academic education in USA and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1956 and a Bachelor of Theology degree in 1957 from Barrington College, a Christian liberal arts school in Rhode Island. based on extensive fieldwork) challenged the prevalent notions of traditional He sought out his own personal research to teach the class. social organizations and . Mbiti supposedly never responded to the criticism, according to Derek Peterson, a professor of history and African studies at the University of Michigan. From 2005 up until his death in 2019, Mbiti was an Emeritus professor at the University of Bern and parish minister to the town of Burgdorf, Switzerland. May he continue to live on in our memories. Philosophy celebrate the life of this great – a true ancestor. [6] Mbiti leaves behind an unparalleled legacy of scholarship and leadership and will be missed. Christians attacked the traditional song music and dance of the Igbo religion as they deemed it immoral. He was a retired Parish Minister in Burgdorf, in Switzerland. A Family Member carries Rev. This waiting period is called the transitional period of the deceased. The acclaimed scholar is known for his outstanding work and contribution in philosophy and religion. Conversational Society of Philosophy - The Elite African Philosophical Circle, African Philosophy and the 2020 UNESCO World Philosophy Day Celebration: A Conversation with JO Chimakonam, The African Philosophy World Conference: From the Eyes of the CSP, Reconsider your ‘Reconsideration of the Decolonisation Project’: A Reply to Rafael Winkler, The Anti-Racists Purge Must Begin From Within. Beyond his philosophy career, Prof Mbiti was an He was 87. Child of two farmers, Samuel Mutuvi Ngaangi and Valesi Mbandi Kiimba, he is one of six children and was raised in a strong Christian environment. The Igbo religion is one of the traditional African religions that Mbiti researched, their tradition was rooted in their culture. Canon Professor JOHN MBITI, an Anglican priest from Kenya, taught Theology and Religion for many years at Makerere University in Uganda. This conference had an attendance of more than 80 participants. John S. Mbiti is a 1 time AALBC.com Bestselling Author. It does this by highlighting several scholars in … Load More. Mbiti's research interests included theology in Africa and Asia, and ecumenism. Elders were merely protecting their traditions. He held visiting professorships at universities across the world and published extensively on philosophy, theolo… More… News & Interviews. understood from a mostly Christian lens, and although this was criticized, there It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Christianity arrived in Igbo land in 1857, conjuring fear within the Igbo that if they became Christians their god would bring disaster to them. He held a series of influential conferences that focused on intercultural theology. Received orally by authorities, this tradition was transmitted from generation to generation through the same oral process. From 2005 up until his death in 2019, Mbiti was an Emeritus professor at the University of Bern and parish minister to the town of Burgdorf, Switzerland. Born in Kenya, Rev. [13], Mbiti returned to Makerere University, where he taught African traditional religion from 1964 to 1974. After his stint at Makerere University, he held John Samuel Mbiti, a Kenyan theologian and Anglican priest, died Octo­ber 5 at a nursing home in Switzerland. Following his career at Makerere, he held visiting professorships at universities across the world where he continued publishing books on philosophy, theology and African oral traditions.[4]. Among the numerous prestigious distinctions and honorary doctorates Mbiti received, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa honored Mbiti with the Archbishop’s Award for Peace and Justice during a celebration of his life and writing at the University of Stellenbosch, Republic of South Africa, in November 2016. Image. Responding to news about his death, Prof Makau Mutua stated that he had written about the acclaimed scholar and his works in his Sunday Nation column. As the world joins family and Friends in celebrating the Life of Rev. Mbiti also found that when an individual dies, his soul or spirit wanders until the body is given a proper burial. "Wherever the African is, there is religion. After that he served as Director of the Ecumenical Institute Bossey, of the World Council of Churches near Geneva, Switzerland. Sigomba Ramadhan Omar. INTRODUCTION. Prof Mbiti’s influence in African [11][12], After graduating from Cambridge University he was ordained an Anglican priest of the Church of England. Born in Kenya, Mbiti obtained his doctorate in 1963 at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. As it will soon be evident in this paper, several scholars in various contexts have attempted to highlight his contribution to these fields of study. His third conference focused on "Indigenous Theology and the Universal Church". "[14], Mbiti faced criticism from the Ugandan writer Okot p'Bitek for casting his arguments in intellectual terms that had been established by the west. [9] He was married to Verena Mbiti-Siegenthaler and had four children and five grand-children. He passed away in Switzerland. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 will be long remembered as … Ironically, I wrote about him in my Sunday Nation column today before he passed. Although some very seminal works on African philosophy and religion. Prof John Samuel Mbiti is dead. He then earned his Doctor of Philosophy in theology at the University of Cambridge, from where he graduated in 1963. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/24/world/africa/john-mbiti-dead.html He then taught religion and theology in Makerere University, Canon John Samuel Mbiti, an Anglican priest who was born in Kenya, November 30, 1931. Mbiti had little knowledge of African Traditional religion, as he was unaware of previous lectures regarding its foundations due to the deep oral traditions of such religions. and had four children. From 2005 up until his death in October 2019, Mbiti Prof. Mbiti’s Potrait. Canon Professor JOHN MBITI, an Anglican priest from Kenya, taught Theology and Religion for many years at Makerere University in Uganda. parish minister to the town of Burgdorf, Switzerland. His goal was to bring together African, Asian and other theologians for ecumenical encounter and dialogue. Philosophy cannot be overstated. Photo: WCC/Naveen Qayyum. Books by John S. Mbiti. John mbiti introduction to african religion pdf African Religions & Philosophy - John S. Mbiti - Google Books What is African Review of John S. Mbiti, Introduction to African religion. Mbiti challenged the view that traditional African religions were “primitive,” arguing that they deserve as much consideration and study as other faith systems. Canon Professor JOHN MBITI, an Anglican priest from Kenya, taught Theology and Religion for many years at Makerere University in Uganda. He will always be remembered as a colossus of the African This conference held an attendance of more than 100 people who gathered from 35 different countries. He did join the land of his ancestors on the 6th October 2019. This set the stage for religious conflict between the Igbo and the Christians, which might have led to the inference that African traditional religions were rooted in anti-Christian belief. He was 87. professor john mbiti PROFESSOR JOHN MBITI. The Conversational School of Mbiti was quick to mention that his examination of these religions was It is with great sadness that we announce the death of one of the greats and pioneers in African Philosophy, Rev Canon Prof John Mbiti, whose death occurred on Sunday, October 6 2019. The Igbo religion differs from nontraditional proselytizing religions because it does not have elders who carry out missionary work and individuals who do not preach their religion onto others. Born in Mulango, Kitui County, in British Kenya on 30 November 1931, Mbiti studied in Uganda and the United States before taking his doctorate in 1963 at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. John Samuel Mbiti was a Kenyan-born Christian religious philosopher and writer. Certainly, this paper does not pretend to exhaust this topic within a short space of time. Kenyan religious leaders, scholars, students and ordinary people have mourned Prof. John Samuel Mbiti, world-renowned Christian philosopher and writer who died on 6 October. Mbiti, a son of Kenya and an authority in religion and philosophy, had traversed the world for decades as a theologian, scholar and a teacher. Mbiti obtained his doctorate in 1963 at the University of Cambridge, ordained Anglican priest, and as of 2005 a canon of the Anglican Church. Prof Mbiti holding his NT translation. The same paper was retyped, mimeographed and circulated to many institutions between 1969 and 1971. Fluent in Greek, Prof Mbiti, 88, was an ordain priest, an academic colossus who … because we are, and since we are, therefore I am”. “Prof John Mbiti, Kenya’s — one of the world’s most iconic philosophy and religion scholars — passed away today in Switzerland. Indeed, this book (which was [5], Mbiti's seminal book, African Religions and Philosophy (1969), was the first work to challenge Christian assumption that traditional African religious ideas were "demonic and anti-Christian". Professor Jesse Mugambi of the University of Nairobi has informed me that Professor John S. Mbiti has joined his ancestors and maker. Others also refused to convert to Christianity because of the belief that Christian missionaries were there to destroy the Igbo religion. From 2005 up until his death in 2019, Mbiti was an emeritus professor at the University of Bern and a retired parish minister to the town of Burgdorf, Switzerland. Being asked by his students for a collection of his research propelled him to compile his notes and lectures into his first book, which was published in 1969. Professor John Mbiti (30 November 1931 – 6 October 2019) was a Kenyan-born Christian religious philosopher, writer and Director of the World Council of Churches’ Bossey … [10] Mbiti died in Burgdorf on 5 October 2019. Professor John Mbiti was born on November 30, 1931, and his thirst for education saw him study beyond Kenya. His sympathetic treatment of traditional religions was based on massive field work. Prof. John Samuel Mbiti in his death, much can be drawn from his legacy both as a Theologian and Scholar. Mbiti in his book looks to dissect the origins of African traditional religion, in specific by studying oral traditions. Prof. John Samuel Mbiti was Emeritus Professor of the Makere University of Kampala, Uganda and of the University of Bern, Switzerland. Within their traditional life, individuals immersed themselves with religious participation, in which they believe starts before they are born and continues after their death. John Samuel Mbiti was a Kenyan-born Christian religious philosopher and writer. Recently CMS mission partner Harvey Kwiyani organised the Missio Africanus conference at CMS in Oxford. Prof Makau Mutua confirmed the death through his Twitter account. Verena Mbiti, 2012. Arnong all religions of the world under academic study African Traditional Religion (A.T.R.) He served as a parish priest in England until he returned to Makerere in 1964 to teach traditional African religions. Their traditions revolve around a highly ontological phenomena, pushing their followers to question their existence and being. John Samuel Mbiti (1931–2019) was a Kenyan-born Christian philosopher and writer. He was married to Verena Mbiti-Siegenthaler Latest News. [4], Born in Mulango, Kitui County, in British Kenya on 30 November 1931, Mbiti studied in Uganda and the United States before taking his doctorate in 1963 at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Uganda, from 1964 to 1974. His second more well-known conference, "Confessing Christ in Different Cultures", was held in Bossey in July 1977. He was 87. The Most Anticipated Books of 2021. Watch Live. He attended Alliance High School in Nairobi and continued his education at University College of Makerere where he graduated in 1953. He taught religion and theology in Makerere University, Uganda, from 1964 to 1974 and was subsequently director of the World Council of Churches' Ecumenical Institute in Bogis-Bossey, Switzerland. United Kingdom. African philosophical and religious ideas as primitive juju. We thank God for his immense contribution to scholarship in African religion and philosophy and in the development of Kiikamba language and literature. “Prof John Mbiti, Kenya’s — one of the world’s most iconic philosophy and religion scholars — passed away today in Switzerland. was an Emeritus professor at the University of Bern and Collecting and synthesizing indigenous concepts of God, myths, stories, prayers, and proverbs into a religiously oriented “African worldview.” is a sick baby, It is so far the least practised. Professor in the School of Theology, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.6 A Summary of: John Mbiti’s contribution to African theology by Kwame Bediako Subdivisions of the article-text: Mbiti’s theological approach (on page 367) Theology as the embodiment of the Gospel (p. 370) From 1980 to 1996 Mbiti was a parish minister in Burgdorf, Switzerland and taught at the same time from 1983 onwards at the University of Bern. The Igbo religion fully embodies all characteristics of a traditional world religion, including its beliefs, sacred myths, oral qualities, strong appeal to the hearts of its followers, a high degree of ritualization, and possession of numerous participatory parsonages such as officiating elders, kings, priests and diviners. Mbiti was clear that his interpretation of these religions was from a firmly Christian perspective, and this aspect of his work was sometimes severely criticized.[7][8]. The Igbo religious life is connected to their ancestors and to those not yet born creating a mystic continuum. He taught religion and theology in Makerere University, Uganda, from 1964 to 1974 and was subsequently director of the World Council of Churches' Ecumenical Institute in Bogis-Bossey, Switzerland. There were discussions on how an individual could reach from a contextual to a universal confession of Christ and emphasized how confession can find expression in liturgy and worship. 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