Kwame Bediako and African Christian Scholarship

Emerging Religious Discourse in Twentieth-Century Ghana

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Sara J. Fretheim
African Christian Studies
  • Eugene, OR: 
    Pickwick Publications
    , April
     252 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu forthcoming.


In a departure from current theologically-focused scholarship on Ghanaian theologian Kwame Bediako, this book places him within the wider historical continuum of twentieth-century Ghana and reads him as a leading Christian scholar within the African study of African religions. The book traces a variety of influences and figures within this emerging African discourse in Ghana, including aspects of missions and colonial history and the voices of poets, politicians, prophets, and priests.

Locating Bediako within this complex twentieth-century matrix, this intellectual history draws upon his published and key unpublished works, including his first masters and doctoral dissertations on Négritude literature, an abiding influence on his later Christian thought and an essential foundation for interpreting this scholar. This book also “reads” the Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission, and Culture as “text” by Bediako, revealing essential components of his intellectual and spiritual itinerary revealed in the Institute’s community and curriculum.

This approach challenges narrowly-focused theological scholarship on Bediako, while highlighting critical methodological divisions between African, Western, confessional, and non-confessional approaches to the study of religion in Africa. In doing so, it highlights the rich complexity of this emerging African discourse and identifies Bediako as a pioneering African Christian intellectual within this wider field.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Sara J. Fretheim is a post-doctoral Researcher based in Vancouver, Canada. She is a contributing author to the Routledge Companion to Christianity in Africa (2016), and is the first Canadian scholar to complete a Master of Theology (African Christianity) from the Akrofi-Christaller Institute, Ghana.

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