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Towards a theological synthesis of Christian and Shona views of death and the dead: implications for pastoral care in the Anglican diocese of Harare, Zimbabwe

Sitshebo, Wilson T. (2001)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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In this contextual study I investigate why and how the traditional approach to mission, engaged by Anglican missionaries, gave rise to a dual observance of ritual among Shona Anglican Christians. I begin by establishing the significance and essence of Shona views of death and the dead, then investigate the missionaries' historical background. I highlight that Christian arrogance, in the guise of racial superiority, underlies the confrontational and condemnatory approach. Traditional views were considered evil, in their place, Shona converts were forced to adopt western Christian views as the only acceptable and valid way of coping with this eschatological reality. These views did not usually fit the Shona worldviews and religious outlook, hence the adoption of dual observance. For some, life continues to be classified as either Christian or traditional and never both. However, some present Shona Anglican practices reflect a desire to integrate the two. Unless there is this integration, the Church remains other and irrelevant to the Shona people.

The ultimate aim of this thesis is to advocate for a theological synthesis of Christian and Shona traditional views. I argue that such a synthesis, patterned on the interactive dialogical model, could lead to the cessation of confrontation and condemnation and its attendant dual observance, and enhance the development of a Shona Christian theology of death and the dead which provides for relevant and sensitive pastoral care.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Parratt, John K.
School/Faculty:Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Historical Studies
Department:Department of Theology
Keywords:Dual religious observance, Anthropology, Folklore, Philosophy, Religion
Subjects:BL Religion
BV Practical Theology
DT Africa
Institution:University of Birmingham
Library Catalogue:Check for printed version of this thesis
ID Code:2821
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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