Primitive Imagination and Early Christianity

I am continuing a thread of posts about the Early Christian Imagination and how African Christians, among others likely have a better vantage point to understand the early Christians.  The third conviction of the primitive imagination is that humanity is not alone in the universe.

The desert trial of Jesus, epitomizes the early Christian belief that an ‘other’ realm with powers far greater than our own dynamically exists.  So also does the episode where “Satan enters Judas”.  Or take this account (Mark 5), “A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside.  The demons begged Jesus, ‘Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.’ He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs.  The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.”

So, for the African Theologian Kwome Bediako, it is important that the early Christians were primal people with primitive imagination. He notes, “the existence of ‘affinities’ between the primal and Christian traditions could have far-reaching significance for our understanding of the nature of the Christian faith itself. ‘

He asks us today: “How can the primal imagination of today bring its own particular gifts to the shaping of Christian affirmation.” –Bediako

 

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