Exploring Religion in Africa

Established in 2014, this series of essays collections and monographs is a sub-series of Bible in Africa Studies (BiAS). The special character of  Exploring Religion in Africa (ERA) is the purpose to offer an international forum for topics related to religion in Africa even beyond the discipline of Biblical Studies. ERA welcomes excellent studies focussing on recent or historical developments in Christianity and/or other religions in Africa. ERA shares with BiAS the ideals of academic accuracy, the option for the poor, gender fairness, diversity and environmental responsibility. Online publication is without any costs; printed exemplars need to be funded.

Edited by Joachim Kügler, Kudzai Biri, Ezra Chitando, Rosinah Gabaitse, Masiiwa R. Gunda, Johanna Stiebert & Lovemore Togarasei.

ISSN: 2700-8932, ISSN bis Band 7: 2190-4944, eISSN: 2750-0195

Schriftenreihe im Forschungsinformationssystem (FIS) der Universität

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Nehanda : Women’s Theologies of Liberation in Southern Africa (Circle Jubilee Volume 3) / Nelly Mwale, Rosinah Gabaitse, Fundiswa Kobo, Dorothy Tembo (Eds.)

Bamberg: Univ. of Bamberg Press, 2024
(Bible in Africa Studies ; 41) (Exploring Religion in Africa ; 15)

Preis: 27,00 €

This volume is the third part of BiAS volumes clelebrating the jubilee of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians (the Circle). BiAS 41/ ERA 15 is framed on the notion of theologies of liberation in order to show case women’s contributions to liberation theologies in response to multiple oppressions in southern Africa. Anchored on Nehanda, the book is framed in the narrative of Nehanda Charwe Nyakasikana, popularly known as Mbuya Nehanda (Grandmother Nehanda) who was a spirit medium and renowned for leading a rebellion against British occupation in the 19th century in Zimbabwe. This is to demonstrate resistance to all forms of oppression by the matriarchs and their handmaids in the Circle. Through this volume, authors resist different forms of oppression and demonstrate the active roles of Afri-an women in shaping the narrative of theologies of liberation. As per the indigenous teachings of the Shona that Nehanda, a powerful and revered ancestral spirit speaks through female mediums, authors in this volume speak through writing to celebrate the work of our Circle matriarchs and their handmaids. Authors also claim freedom from oppression, socio-economic, environmental and all forms of global injustices using the narratives of the Circle matriarchs and the theologies which have been generated by them.

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Queen of Sheba : East and Central African Women’s Theologies of Liberation (Circle Jubilee Volume 2) / edited by Loreen Maseno, Esther Mombo, Nagaju Muke and Veronica Kahindo

Bamberg: Univ. of Bamberg Press, 2024
(Bible in Africa Studies ; 40) (Exploring Religion in Africa ; 14)

Preis: 23,00 €

This volume, named after a legendary biblical woman, the Queen of Sheba, is celebrating the wisdom of pioneers of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians’ (CIRCLE). It rose within the context of producing biographies of the founding members of the CIRCLE. The three regional volumes are: Sankofa: Liberation Theologies of West African Women, ed. by S. Amenyedi, M. Yele & Y. Maton (BiAS 39); Queen of Sheba: East and Central African Theologies of Liberation, ed. by L. Maseno, E. Mombo, N. Muke & V. K. Kahindo (BiAS 40); Nehanda: Women’s Theologies of Liberation in Southern Africa, ed. by N. Mwale, R. Gabaitse, D. Tembo & F. Kobo (BiAS 41). Thus, this essays collection, being the second partof the CIRCLE jubilee trilogy, focuses on East and Central African women, their lives and struggles and their powerful Queen-of-Sheba-Wisdom in contributing to liberation in theory and practice.

The editors and authors:
Loreen MASENO (Lead Editor — Kenya) | Esther MOMBO (Ass. Editor — Kenya) | Nagaju MUKE (Ass. Editor — Rwanda) | Veronica K. KAHINDO (Ass. Editor — DR Congo) | Daniel ASSEFA (Ethiopia) | Tekletsadik BELACHEW (USA/ Ethiopia) | Musa W. DUBE (USA/ Botswana) | Witness ISSA (Tanzania) | Heleen JOZIASSE (Netherlands/ Kenya) | Dorcas JUMA (Kenya) | Joy Isabirye MUKISA (Uganda) | Hope Karangwa MUNEZERO (Rwanda) | Telesia MUSILI (Kenya) | Christine NAKYEYUNE (Uganda) | Françoise NIYONSABA (Rwanda) | Joyce Damian NGANDANGO (Tanzania) | Pauline NJIRU (Kenya) | Monica OSUKA (Kenya) |

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Sankofa : Liberation Theologies of West African Women (Circle Jubilee Volume 1) / edited by Seyram B. Amenyedzi with Yosi Apollos Maton and Marceline L. Yele

Bamberg: Univ. of Bamberg Press, 2023
(Bible in Africa Studies ; 39) (Exploring Religion in Africa ; 13)

Preis: 27,00 €

BiAS 39 is an essay collection on women’s Liberation Theology in West Africa, issued as one of three regional volumes commissioned in preparation of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians’ (CIRCLE) return to Ghana, its place of birth, after 35 years. The volumes rose within the context of preparing the meeting in July 2024 by remembering the founding members of the CIRCLE. The three regional volumes focus on exploring South (BiAS 41), East/Central (BiAS 40) and West African (BiAS 39) womanist/feminist Liberation Theology generated since the launch of the CIRCLE in 1989. The contributions on the lives and works of groundbreaking African women in the Theology of Liberation constitute an international, interreligious, and interdisciplinary compendium for redemptive theological research. The book is dedicated to Rabiatu Deinyo Ammah, the first Muslim woman in the CIRCLE and one its founding matriarchs.

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The Bible, Quran, and COVID-19 Vaccines : Studies on Religion-based Vaccine Perceptions (Africa – Europe – Middle East) / edited by Joachim Kügler and Kathrin Gies 

Bamberg: Univ. of Bamberg Press, 2023
(Bible in Africa Studies ; 37) (Exploring Religion in Africa ; 12)

Preis: 21,00 €

This volume of the BiAS/ ERA series chooses a multi-religious approach to the religio-cultural aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the attempts to overcome it by vaccination. The book includes contributions focusing on African Traditional Religion, several branches of Christianity in Africa, and Islamic denominations. In contrast to other volumes, BiAS 37/ ERA 12 is not limited to a specific country – not even to the African continent. It gathers papers from the international and multi-religious workshop “COVID-19 and Religion” (November 2021, University of Bamberg) and some additional articles. The contributions to BiAS 37 focus on the vaccination debate. “Why should God, Scripture, and Church be against vaccination?” is the main question, and there are some indications that social and political factors that regulate the cultural application of religion might be more important for vaccinophobia than faith itself.

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Religion and Health in a COVID-19 Context: Experiences from Zimbabwe / Edited by Molly Manyonganise

Bamberg: Univ. of Bamberg Press, 2023
(Bible in Africa Studies ; 36) (Exploring Religion in Africa ; 11)

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BIAS 36 ist an essays collection that explores the intersection of religion and health in a COVID-19 context specifically focusing on Zimbabwe. With the menace of COVID-19 across cultures, this volume places its focus on this pandemic and how it has reshaped the discourse on the way, religion interfaces with health. The book further examines the ambivalence of religion in shaping attitudes towards health-seeking behaviour as well as influencing responses to pandemics. This book, therefore, makes a valuable contribution to the body of knowledge by offering an incisive analysis of how the pandemic has shaped the way religion has contributed both positively and negatively to the discourse on health in Zimbabwe. Such an analysis is crucial in informing policy on the future relationship between science and religion in public health both during this pandemic as well as in the post-pandemic era and the crises ahead. The book contains contributions by Molly MANYONGANISE (ed.) / Vengesai CHIMININGE / Enna Sukutai GUDHLANGA / Bernard Pindukai HUMBE / Angeline Mavis MADONGONDA / Clemence MAKAMURE / Gift MASENGWE / Peter MASVOTORE / Tawanda MATUTU / Tenson MUYAMBO / Bednicho NYONI / Nomatter SANDE / Jane TENDERE / Lovemore TOGARASEI / Lindah TSARA / Silindiwe ZVINGOWANISEI

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Daring Patriarchy? : A Biblical Engagement with Gender Discourses on Political Participation in Post-colonial Zimbabwe / Molly Manyonganise

Bamberg: Univ. of Bamberg Press, 2023
(Bible in Africa Studies ; 35) (Exploring Religion in Africa ; 10)

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Dominant religio-cultural discourses on political participation have deployed biblical texts in ways that have shaped Zimbabwe’s political terrain to be gendered space. BiAS 35 argues that the challenges women face in their endeavor to participate fully in politics in Zimbabwe are not only embedded in culture, but have also been reinforced by the way biblical interpretation pertaining to women’s public roles has been done. The study shows the influence of the Bible in shaping gender relations, even in ‘non-religious’ areas. This volume, therefore, seeks to open up more political space for women by examining how the everyday is suffused with politics, that is, politics as affecting interactions between individuals and groups thereby facilitating women’s participation in politics at all levels.

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An Anglican “Quest For Belonging”? : A Critical Historical Evaluation of the Anglican Diocese of Harare’s Decade of Turmoil, 2002-2012 / Farai Mutamiri

Bamberg: Univ. of Bamberg Press, 2022
(Bible in Africa Studies ; 33) (Exploring Religion in Africa ; 9)

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2002-2012, the Anglican Diocese of Harare went through a decade of turmoil caused by Bishop Kunonga’s break-off from the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA). The ‘doctrinal’ reason for forming his own province called the Anglican Province of Zimbabwe (APZ) was CPCA’s condoning homosexuality, which drew the ire of the state. Although Kunonga justified his actions in an anti-Western pattern, as an Anglican “quest for belonging”, the fierce fighting between the two provinces (with the state forces supporting APZ) was more about property and politics. In 2012, Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court brought the matter to its finality when it declared that Bishop Kunonga had no right to claim CPCA properties.

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COVID-19 : African women and the will to survive / edited by Helen A.Labeodan, Rosemary Amenga-Etego, Johanna Stiebert, Mark S. Aidoo

Bamberg: Univ. of Bamberg Press, 2021
(Bible in Africa Studies ; 31) (Exploring Religion in Africa ; 8)

Preis: 20,00 €

COVID-19 has, like other crises, thrown into relief social injustices and gendered inequalities. BiAS 31/ ERA 8 offers theological responses to and reflections on the COVID-19 outbreak and pandemic. All are by African scholars and authors; some are academic, some experiential, and others creative or impressionistic in tone. Reflecting the ethos and commitment of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians (“The Circle”) to nurture and promote the publications by and about African women and men committed to social justice and positive change, this issue contains the writings of some established but, predominantly, of emerging theologians. For some contributors, this is their first publication in an international series.

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That all may live! : essays in honour of Nyambura J. Njoroge / edited by Ezra Chitando, Esther Mombo & Masiiwa Ragies Gunda

Bamberg: Univ. of Bamberg Press, 2021
(Bible in Africa Studies ; 30) (Exploring Religion in Africa ; 7)

Preis: 24,00 €

This volume of BiAS/ ERA is a Festschrift honouring Nyambura J. Njoroge. She is an outstanding woman theologian whose work straddles diverse fields and disciplines. Inspired by her rich and impressive œuvre, in this volume friends and colleagues of her (among them celebrities like Musa Dube, Gerald West, Fulata Moyo, Ezra Chitando, and others) explore how religion and theology in diverse contexts can become more life giving. Contributors from many countries and different continents explore themes such as African women’s leadership, theological education, HIV/ AIDS, lament, the Bible and liberation, adolescents and young women, sexual diversity and others. Collectively, the volume expresses Nyambura’s consistent commitment to the full liberation of all human beings, in fulfilment of the gospel’s promise that all may have life and have it to the full (John 10:10)

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“The wounded Beast?” : Single Women, Tradition, and the Bible in Zimbabwe / Kudzai Biri. With a foreword by Joachim Kügler

Bamberg: Univ. of Bamberg Press, 2021
(Bible in Africa Studies  ; 28) (Exploring Religion in Africa ; 6)

Preis: 19,00 €

BiAS 28/ ERA 6 captures the experiences of single women in Zimbabwe. It brings out the indigenous cultural socialisations that negatively impact on them. The vibrancy of Pentecostalism did not save them from stigma and negative perceptions but rather fuels their challenges and misery. The over-glorification of marriage over and above singlehood and in extreme cases denunciation of singlehood, has implications for single women, especially for those who have divorced. The attitudes and perceptions towards single women in the families, society and Church are largely adversarial and do not attach dignity and value, in a nation where marriage and motherhood remain important and cherished statuses. Therefore, the author adopts a multi-dimensional approach in analysing and critiquing the pitfalls of Shona indigenous cultures, limitations of Pentecostal gender ideology and proffers avenues that can create safe spaces for single women.

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Religion and Social Marginalization in Zimbabwe / edited by Lovemore Togarasei, David Bishau & Ezra Chitando

Bamberg: Univ. of Bamberg Press, 2020
(Bible in Africa Studies  ; 26) (Exploring Religion in Africa ; 5)

Preis: 20,00 €

Marginalization means being disregarded, ostracized, harassed, disliked, persecuted, or generally looked down upon. Marginalized people often include women and children, the poor, the disabled, sexual, religious, or ethnic minorities, refugees. The marginalized are those who are socially, politically, culturally, or economically excluded from main-stream society. In history, the Church in Zimbabwe has played a role in improving the lives of the marginalized, but what is religion, especially Christianity, doing for the marginalized now? Although religion is also implicated in marginalisation, the contributions in this volume did not address this angle as they focused on the role that religion can and should play to fight marginalization. The chapters come from two conferences (2012, 2014) that were held under the flag of ATISCA. The contributions have been updated to include later developments and publications.

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Religion and Development in Africa / edited by Ezra Chitando, Masiiwa Ragies Gunda & Lovemore Togarasei. In cooperation with Joachim Kügler

Bamberg: Univ. of Bamberg Press, 2020
(Bible in Africa Studies  ; 25) (Exploring Religion in Africa ; 4)

Preis: 23,00 €

What is development? Who defines that one community/ country is “developed”, while another community/ country is “under-developed”? What is the relationship between religion and development? Does religion contribute to development or underdevelopment in Africa? These and related questions elicit quite charged reactions in African studies, development studies, political science and related fields. Africa’s own history, including the memory of marginalisation, slavery and exploitation by global powers ensures that virtually every discussion on development is characterised by a lot of emotions and conflicting views. In this volume scholars from various African countries and many different religions and denominations contribute to this debate.

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African Pentecostalism, the Bible, and Cultural Resilience : The Case of the Zimbabwe Assemblies of God Africa / Kudzai Biri

Bamberg: Univ. of Bamberg Press, 2020
(Bible in Africa Studies; 24) (Exploring Religion in Africa ; 3)

Preis: 20,00 €

This volume, based on a PhD thesis submitted to the University of Zimbabwe, investigates the resilience of Shona religion and culture among ZAOGA Pentecostal Christians. Whereas the Pentecostal ideology suggests that ‘old things’ have passed away, it appears that ‘old things’ continue to have high significance for the ‘new’. The book demonstrates how belief in avenging spirits, witches and witchcraft, value of words spoken prior to death, the role, status and significance of women, belief in unnatural events, liturgy and salvation have remained relevant to the lives of ZAOGA Shona converts. The patterns of continuity, discontinuity, extension, collaboration, contradiction, re-interpretation and rejection between Shona traditional religion and culture and ZAOGA are explored, challenging the framing of African Pentecostalism as a mere imitation and parroting of US theology. The conclusion is that while ZAOGA self-consciously presents itself as a sophisticated, trans-national and progressive Pentecostal movement, members continue to wrestle with Shona indigenous beliefs and practices. An African womanist framework is adapted to challenge ZAOGA to promote the well-being of women.

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Abundant Life and Basic Needs : African Religions as a Resource for Sustainable Development, with Special Reference to Shona Religion / Bednicho Nyoni

Bamberg: Univ. of Bamberg Press, 2019
(Bible in Africa Studies ; 23) (Exploring Religion in Africa ; 2)

Preis: 19,50 €

In Africa, religion shows no sign of disappearing or diminishing as development theorists have generally supposed. Africans have certain religious values which are sources of inspiration and strength. If incorporated, they can greatly contribute to development initiatives in their planning, implementation and monitoring stages. The book shows that Euro-Western development practitioners excluded consideration of the religious dimension in formulating development policies towards Africa resulted in failure of their development strategies. Furthermore, the book emphasized that once indigenous African religion is rehabilitated as an important concept and variable in the understanding and implementation of social change and progress, development strategies will be assured to be successful. Therefore, the incorporation of religion(s) of the indigenous peoples should be given the desired attention. Moreover, to buttress the importance of religion(s) of the indigenous peoples of Africa, the book presents African Shona Religion’s voice in this discourse by using the indigenous Shona peoples, who live in Harare Province, in Seke Communal Area of Zimbabwe, as a case study for the sake of accuracy and critical analysis on the topic. Hence, despite its suffering from stereotyping, Shona religion continues to play a critical role in the life of the Zimbabweans.

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Multiplying in the Spirit: African Initiated Churches in Zimbabwe / ed. by Ezra Chitando, Masiiwa Ragies Gunda & Joachim Kügler

Bamberg: Univ. of Bamberg Press, 2014
(Bible in Africa Studies ; 15) (Exploring Religion in Africa ; 1)

Preis: 18,50 €

This volume was motivated by the realisation that AICs continue to be a significant player on Zimbabwe’s spiritual market. Members of predominantly Apostolic, but also Zionist, churches are highly visible in both rural and urban areas. Prophets from AICs are constantly in the news, alongside advertising their competence in urban areas. Thus it is high time to bring AICs being an important part of recent social reality in Zimbabwe back into academic focus. BiAS 15 at the same time is ERA 1 which means that this volume opens a new sub-series to BiAS which is meant to explore religion in Africa in all its manifold manifestation, be it Christian or not.

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