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The Oxford Illustrated History of the Bible A richly illustrated account of the story of the Bible written by leading scholars.

A Word on ‘Africa’ by Way of Conclusion

Throughout this chapter the proper name ‘Africa’ has been used in an unproblematized manner. Postmodern studies remind us, however, to be cautious about inherited constructs, particularly when they are the constructs of the dominant and dominating discourse. Such is certainly the case with ‘Africa’. Why, for example, do introductions to the Bible, histories of Israel, maps of the Bible lands, dictionaries of the Bible, and the work of church historians and theologians minimize the role of Africa? Might we, for example, consider Mesopotamia as a part of north-east Africa? ‘Africa’ is one of the constructs of Western colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism. Africans themselves have had little say in the way ‘Africa’ has been constituted by the dominant discourse of discovery, civilization, colonialization, industrialization, and capitalization.

Problematizing and destablizing the proper name ‘Africa’ is a painful and potentially dangerous thing to do, just as we are recovering and revelling in our ‘Africanness’. But we will have to deconstruct the dominant discourse's constructions as we construct our own understanding of ‘Africa’ and ‘African’. African biblical studies clearly have a contribution to make, connecting as they do with every aspect of Africanness.

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