Christianity provided the constitutive identity of historic Ethiopia. From the sixteenth century, and increasingly from the nineteenth, Christianity entered decisively into the life and culture of an increasing number of other African peoples. In the course of the twentieth century, African Christians have become a major part of the world church, and arguably modern African history as a whole is not intelligible without its powerful Christian element. Yet despite the great advance in African historiography over the last 40 years, this is the first major volume to consider the historical development and character of the Christian church in Africa as a whole, linking together Ethiopian Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and the numerous independent churches of modern times. Adrian Hastings focuses on the role of conversion, the shaping of Church life and its relationship to traditional values, and the impact of political power. Hastings also compares the relation of Christian history to the comparable development of Islam in Africa.
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This first comprehensive history of the church in Africa . . . is a magnificent contribution to the Oxford History of the Christian Church and will be welcomed by Africanists as well as by church and mission historians.