Out of Africa

Christianity owes its early development to Dark Continent thinkers? Author Thomas C. Oden says scholars for too long have ignored a legacy | Marvin Olasky

Thomas C. Oden, a leading expert on Christian writings from A.D. 100 to 500, is the author of many theological works and the general editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture.

Recently retired from Drew University’s Theological School, he has returned to Oklahoma, the state of his birth, and written the just-published How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind (Intervarsity, 2008). It’s a short book that may jumpstart a re-examination of Tertullian, Cyprian, and Augustine as African thinkers: They all came from the Maghreb, the area (now part of Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco) between the Atlas Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. (Maghreb means “place of sunset” or “west” in Arabic.)

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