More thoughts on the Africa Bible Commentary...
Responding to the post directly below, Africa Bible Commentary; a preliminary review..., a brother writes asking for recommendations of good commentaries "written by African-Americans or Africans."
The question isn't easy, partly because of the definition of "African." Do you define "African" as someone who is black, who was born on the sub-Saharan part of the continent, and who continues to live there? Or is it someone who is black and was born on the sub-Saharan part of the continent, but it doesn't matter where he lives now? Or does skin color trump all, and someone who is black qualifies as an African no matter where he was born or presently lives?
At first it appears the editors view skin color as absolute since one contributor is listed with his country designated "African-American." But then, in the text of this preview document, John Stott claims these modern Bible interpreters are a "resurgence in the continent that gave us such interpreters as Augustine and Athanasius." Under this view, the continent trumps all.
So then, what do we do with those born and raised in Africa--even sub-Saharan Africa--who aren't black? Say, for instance, a white South African--is he African or is he a man without a continent?
A shipping supply station was set up by the Dutch on the Cape of Good Hope in 1652 and Dutch settlements grew from it over the next two centuries. If a man is a descendant of those Dutch settlers, is he African or European? And what if his great great grandfather married a Christian black African? Are their descendants African?
Now about this time some readers are thinking this is a rather delicate subject that no true gentleman would raise. I must demur.
If race relations are ever to be healed...
the healing won't start until we speak truth all around, black to white and white to black. If whites who immigrated to the US in the late nineteenth century are Americans, and Hispanics who immigrated to the United States in 1963 are Americans, then by the same logic, whites who immigrated to Africa in the seventeenth century are Africans and should be included in the Africa Bible Commentary.
So why is there not one South African--black or white--who made the cut for contributing to the Africa Bible Commentary? About this time, I'm thinking the editors made a slight mistake in naming the volume. It ought not to have been called Africa Bible Commentary but African Bible Commentary; or maybe even better, Black Sub-Saharan African Bible Commentary with Exceptions Granted for Blacks Who Live in the US.
This whole ABC venture strikes me as somewhat misguided. What is needed by our brothers and sisters in African is a Bible commentary that addresses the African context through African eyes, white or black. And it must address that context with boldness and courage, starting with the courage to recognize that an African is an African is an African, no matter the skin color. Then we could speak of Augustine, Athanasius, Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, O. Palmer Robertson, Joe Simfukwe, Joe Kapolyo, and Samuel Ngewa in the same breath, all for one and one for all.