Paulinus Ikechukwu Odozor, C.S.Sp.
Given the largely Eurocentric nature of moral theology in the history of the Roman Catholic Church, what will it take to invest the theological community in the history and moral challenges of the Church in other parts of the world, especially Africa? What is to be gained for the whole Church when this happens in a deep and lasting way? In this timely and important study, Paulinus Ikechukwu Odozor brings greater theological clarity to the issue of the relationship between Christianity and African tradition in the area of ethical foundations. He also provides a constructive example of what fundamental moral theology done from an African and Christian (especially Catholic) moral theological point of view could look like.
Following a brief history of the development of African Christian theology, Odozor examines responses of African theologians to African tradition and Christian responses to the reality of non-Christian religions. In a context where the African religious experience and heritage are powerful sources of meaning and identity, Christian evangelization raises questions both about the African primal religions and about Christianity itself and its claims. Odozor takes up the subject of moral reasoning in an African Christian theological ethics and concludes with case studies that show how the African Church has tried to inculturate moral discourse on a religiously pluralistic continent and relate the healing gospel message to African situations. Students and scholars of moral theology and ethics and church leaders will profit from the issues raised in Morality Truly Christian, Truly African.
“This is an ambitious book. The scholarship is sound and the author engages a range of authors and their views. Odozor takes seriously the critical and moral demands of Christian theology as well as those of African indigenous religions and their cultures. There is perhaps nothing so thoroughgoing on this topic since Bénézet Bujo’s _Foundations of an African Ethic: Beyond the Universal Claims of Western Morality.”_ — M. Shawn Copeland, Boston College
“This work is truly astounding in its breadth and depth, and is bound to become a standard textbook in African moral theology. New is the accent on received Christian tradition as a principal source of such moral theology. Odozor engages in dialogue with various moral theologians (Karl Barth, Paul Tillich, Paul Knitter, and James Gustafson) and theologians of African morality (John Mbiti, Laurenti Magesa, and Elochukwu Uzukwu). The seven guidelines for theological inculturation in Africa are particularly illuminating and may be a good entry point into this work for the nonspecialist.” — James Chukwuma Okoye, C.S.Sp., Duquesne University
“Odozor attempts to branch away from the Eurocentric nature of the Catholic Church’s history of moral theology in his book Morality Truly Christian, Truly African. Focusing on ethical foundations, he discusses the relationship between Christianity and the traditions of Africa. The continent’s rich traditions are powerful sources of meaning and identity in Christian evangelization.” — U.S. Catholic
“Odozor has written an outstanding work on African Christian moral theology. He places great emphasis on theological enculturation, a continual process of dialogue between theology and culture. For Odozor, the enculturation process involves a triple dialogue involving African Christian theologies, Catholic fundamental moral theologies, and African traditional religious ethics.” — Choice
“Odozor’s analyses of the meaning and function of tradition and culture, the encounter of African traditional religion and Christianity, the post-Vatican II encouragement to inculturate the faith, the relation of ‘new’ theologies to historical Catholic theology, and the impact of political divisiveness in a changing global political situation are comprehensive and complex. The African Church has much to teach us, and this text marks a paradigm shift in the study of Catholic moral theology.” — Catholic Library World
“Odozer analyzes African Christian theological ethics by simultaneously taking into account both the whole Christian moral tradition and African moral traditions. . . . I recommend this book to readers interested in becoming acquainted with the present status of African Christian theology and ethics; and moral theologians who want to engage with the growing contributions of current African Christian theological ethics will find this volume a valuable resource.” — Theological Studies
“The landscape of global Christianity has changed significantly in recent decades. This notion is the foundational premise of Odozor’s book . . . and he draws upon scholarship that suggests that the centre of global Christianity is shifting from Europe and North America to Africa, Asia and Latin America. . . . This shift in the epicenter of Church membership has consequences not only for the kind of theology that is required to answer questions faced in those particular contexts, but also for the theological project in its entirety as new contributions emerge from these places that shape how we understand our faith in its entirety.” — Studies in Christian Ethics