Canon Professor JOHN MBITI, an Anglican priest from Kenya, taught Theology and Religion for many years at Makerere University in Uganda. 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. After that he served as Director of the Ecumenical Institute Bossey, of the World Council of Churches near Geneva, Switzerland. Mbiti was quick to mention that his examination of these religions was He held a series of influential conferences that focused on intercultural theology. Elders were merely protecting their traditions. INTRODUCTION. John Samuel Mbiti was a Kenyan-born Christian religious philosopher and writer. [13], Mbiti returned to Makerere University, where he taught African traditional religion from 1964 to 1974. 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. United Kingdom. space. He will always be remembered as a colossus of the African Christianity arrived in Igbo land in 1857, conjuring fear within the Igbo that if they became Christians their god would bring disaster to them. Prof John Samuel Mbiti is dead. Professor Jesse Mugambi of the University of Nairobi has informed me that Professor John S. Mbiti has joined his ancestors and maker. several visiting professorships at universities all over the world and published parish minister to the town of Burgdorf, Switzerland. Ironically, I wrote about him in my Sunday Nation column today before he passed. 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. Mbiti taught Theology and Religion for many years at Makerere University in Uganda. 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. Mbiti's research interests included theology in Africa and Asia, and ecumenism. Born in Jomo Kenyata’s land, Kenya, Professor Mbiti studied in Uganda and the United States America. Mbiti, whose death occurred on Sunday, October 6 2019. The same paper was retyped, mimeographed and circulated to many institutions between 1969 and 1971. After his stint at Makerere University, he held Photo: WCC/Naveen Qayyum. “Prof John Mbiti, Kenya’s — one of the world’s most iconic philosophy and religion scholars — passed away today in Switzerland. He did join the land of his ancestors on the 6th October 2019. [9] He was married to Verena Mbiti-Siegenthaler and had four children and five grand-children. 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. Collecting and synthesizing indigenous concepts of God, myths, stories, prayers, and proverbs into a religiously oriented “African worldview.” He gathered ideas from over 300 African peoples or tribes while conducting field research. Mbiti supposedly never responded to the criticism, according to Derek Peterson, a professor of history and African studies at the University of Michigan. Fluent in Greek, Prof Mbiti, 88, was an ordain priest, an academic colossus who … Philosophy cannot be overstated. 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. 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. Mbiti leaves behind an unparalleled legacy of scholarship and leadership and will be missed. He was 87. More… News & Interviews. Books by John S. Mbiti. Verena Mbiti, 2012. Christians attacked the traditional song music and dance of the Igbo religion as they deemed it immoral. Although Philosophy (1969), continues to influence African philosophers today. 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]. They believe in a supreme being who is believed to be the controller of the world and all its inhabitants. From 1974 to 1980 Mbiti was the director of the World Council of Churches Bossey Ecumenical Institute. philosophical notions in African philosophy. [10] Mbiti died in Burgdorf on 5 October 2019. May he continue to live on in our memories. We thank God for his immense contribution to scholarship in African religion and philosophy and in the development of Kiikamba language and literature. 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. 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. [6] 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. He then taught religion and theology in Makerere University, It does this by highlighting several scholars in … The Most Anticipated Books of 2021. "[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. Philosophy celebrate the life of this great – a true ancestor. Kenya is mourning the death of celebrated scholar Prof John Mbiti who breathed his last today, Sunday 06 October 2019. 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. While he was here he wrote his first book, African Religions and Philosophy (1969). 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. 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. [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". John Mbiti was born on 30 November 1931 in Mulago, Kitui County, eastern Kenya. 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. He held visiting professorships at universities across the world and published extensively on philosophy, theology and African oral traditions. The Kenyan-born Christian religious philosopher and writer died on Sunday in Switzerland. He held visiting professorships at universities across the world and published extensively on philosophy, theolo… Mbiti’s seminal book, African Religions and From 2005 up until his death in October 2019, Mbiti Mbiti in his book looks to dissect the origins of African traditional religion, in specific by studying oral traditions. 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 an ordained Anglican priest, and is considered "the father of modern African theology". "Wherever the African is, there is religion. [11][12], After graduating from Cambridge University he was ordained an Anglican priest of the Church of England. It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Professor John Mbiti was born on November 30, 1931, and his thirst for education saw him study beyond Kenya. professor john mbiti PROFESSOR JOHN MBITI. John Samuel Mbiti (1931–2019) was a Kenyan-born Christian philosopher and writer. 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. He was 87. Rev. some very seminal works on African philosophy and religion. is no doubt that his work provided a unique perspective on several 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. John Samuel Mbiti was a Kenyan-born Christian religious philosopher and writer. one of the greats and pioneers in African Philosophy, Rev Canon Prof John Canon John Samuel Mbiti, an Anglican priest who was born in Kenya, November 30, 1931. 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. Latest News. One of Mbiti's most famous quotes in his book African Religions and Philosophy was: 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. John Samuel Mbiti, a Kenyan theologian and Anglican priest, died Octo­ber 5 at a nursing home in Switzerland. His 1969 book, African Religions and Philosophy, explored this theme, and he elaborated upon it Prof. Mbiti’s Potrait. He said that the death of the scholar is a big blow to the nation. He sought out his own personal research to teach the class. 13 January 2015. He was a retired Parish Minister in Burgdorf, in Switzerland. His second more well-known conference, "Confessing Christ in Different Cultures", was held in Bossey in July 1977. 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. 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. John Samuel Mbiti was Emeritus Professor of the Makere University of Kampala, Uganda and of the University of Bern, Switzerland. His goal was to bring together African, Asian and other theologians for ecumenical encounter and dialogue. social organizations and . because we are, and since we are, therefore I am”. After that he served as Director of the Ecumenical Institute Bossey, of the World Council of Churches near Geneva, Switzerland. Mbiti also found that when an individual dies, his soul or spirit wanders until the body is given a proper burial. African philosophical and religious ideas as primitive juju. Canon Professor JOHN MBITI, an Anglican priest from Kenya, taught Theology and Religion for many years at Makerere University in Uganda. Certainly, this paper does not pretend to exhaust this topic within a short space of time. This paper discusses the contribution of Professor John S Mbiti to African theology and African Philosophy. The Igbo religion is one of the traditional African religions that Mbiti researched, their tradition was rooted in their culture. The acclaimed scholar is known for his outstanding work and contribution in philosophy and religion. Arnong all religions of the world under academic study African Traditional Religion (A.T.R.) The Conversational School of Load More. This is captured in the widespread acknowledgment of his famous dictum “I am He also collaborated on a book of African proverbs, collected from across the continent. The first conference in June 1976 focused on African and Asian contributions to contemporary theology. 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. 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. Mbiti was an ordained Anglican priest. Prof Mbiti’s influence in African May his family and friends know peace @WMutunga @ncckkenya @RailaOdinga,” Prof Mutua tweeted. This waiting period is called the transitional period of the deceased. understood from a mostly Christian lens, and although this was criticized, there Their traditions revolve around a highly ontological phenomena, pushing their followers to question their existence and being. His Christian upbringing encouraged his educational journey through the African Inland Church. 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. Prof Mbiti holding his NT translation. John Mbiti at the All Africa Conference of Churches Assembly in Kampala, Uganda, 2013. ordained Anglican priest, and as of 2005 a canon of the Anglican Church. After that he served as Director of the Ecumenical Institute Bossey, of the World Council of Churches near Geneva, Switzerland. Prof Makau Mutua confirmed the death through his Twitter account. Received orally by authorities, this tradition was transmitted from generation to generation through the same oral process. More details will be provided by the family. Beyond his philosophy career, Prof Mbiti was an 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) A Family Member carries Rev. Watch Live. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 will be long remembered as … Within their traditional life, individuals immersed themselves with religious participation, in which they believe starts before they are born and continues after their death. This conference held an attendance of more than 100 people who gathered from 35 different countries. Mutua who is also a scholar noted that the deceased will be remembered because of his immense contribution towards the education sector. [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. 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. He served as a parish priest in England until he returned to Makerere in 1964 to teach traditional African religions. Indeed, this book (which was Born in Kenya, Mbiti obtained his doctorate in 1963 at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. 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. Others also refused to convert to Christianity because of the belief that Christian missionaries were there to destroy the Igbo religion. He passed away in Switzerland. Recently CMS mission partner Harvey Kwiyani organised the Missio Africanus conference at CMS in Oxford. 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. 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. Sigomba Ramadhan Omar. Mbiti obtained his doctorate in 1963 at the University of Cambridge, His sympathetic treatment of traditional religions was based on massive field work. Canon Professor JOHN MBITI, an Anglican priest from Kenya, taught Theology and Religion for many years at Makerere University in Uganda. He attended Alliance High School in Nairobi and continued his education at University College of Makerere where he graduated in 1953. This conference had an attendance of more than 80 participants. His third conference focused on "Indigenous Theology and the Universal Church". Image. The place of Professor John S Mbiti in African theology and African Philosophy is undoubtedly colossal. Prof Mbiti: The man who translated Bible from English to Kamba dies . Mbiti challenged the view that traditional African religions were “primitive,” arguing that they deserve as much consideration and study as other faith systems. [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. “Prof John Mbiti, Kenya’s — one of the world’s most iconic philosophy and religion scholars — passed away today in Switzerland. 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