Original Research

Contextualising biblical exegesis: What is the African biblical hermeneutic approach?

Mbengu D. Nyiawung
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 69, No 1 | a2011 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v69i1.2011 | © 2013 Mbengu D. Nyiawung | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 May 2013 | Published: 28 October 2013

About the author(s)

Mbengu D. Nyiawung, Department of New Testament, Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Cameroon; Department of New Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa, South Africa


This article responded to the question about the right methodology needed for the reconstruction of a viable African Christian theology. It equally contributed an answer to earlier concerns by Appiah-Kubi, Stinton and Nyiawung, who had grappled with an African response to the question of Jesus’ identity: ‘Who do you say I am?’ (Lk 9:20). It also attended to Aben’s remark that Africans contribute minimally to biblical theology especially in the domain of biblical exegesis. Finally, it proposed an African biblical hermeneutic approach, a shift of paradigm from the text, its author as well as its context to the context of the subject of exegesis as a contextual approach of biblical criticism. Three main conclusions emerged from the article, namely, (1) the African context contains enormous potentials that can enhance the understanding and interpretation of biblical texts; (2) from the perspective of biblical interpretation, there is no superior context or culture; and (3) the African biblical hermeneutic approach is a possible route to the development of an authentic African Christian theology.


African Christian theology; Jesus’ identity; exegesis; biblical hermeneutic; biblical interpretation; African context


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