Original Research - Special Collection: God as One

The Trinity in African Christian theology: An overview of contemporary approaches

Teddy C. Sakupapa
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 1 | a5460 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i1.5460 | © 2019 Teddy C. Sakupapa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 March 2019 | Published: 25 November 2019

About the author(s)

Teddy C. Sakupapa, Department of Religion and Theology, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa


This contribution offers a survey of the modern African theological discourse on the Trinity as a distinctive Christian doctrine of God. It is a systematic narrative review of primary literature on the doctrine of the Trinity in modern African theology with a view to identify main trends, key concepts and major proponents. It is argued that the contemporary African Trinitarian Hermeneutics cannot be understood in isolation from African debates on translatability of concepts of God framed first in terms of the reinterpretation of the theological significance of pre-Christian African concepts of God and subsequently as an outcome of African Christological reflection. The article affirms an apophatic resistance to any tendency to take God for granted as recently advanced by Ernst Conradie and Teddy Sakupapa.


African communality; African monotheism; African traditional religion; Concepts of God in Africa; Trinity in African theology; Social doctrine of the Trinity; Supreme being


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