Ancestor christology and Jesus' identity : a study based on the Epistle to the Hebrews
The aim in this thesis is to determine whether African ancestor Christology, a contextual attempt to explicate the identity of Jesus within African theology, adequately correlates with and captures the identity of Jesus presented in the exordium of Hebrews 1:1-4. Ancestor Christology utilises the pre-existing notion of the traditional African ancestors as a frame of reference. Consequently, understanding the place and function of the ancestors is essential to this research. This research undertakes a critical and analytical review of ancestor Christology presented in the works of some of the proponents of the concept including Pobee (1979), Nyamiti (1984), Bujo (1992), Bediako (1980, 2004) and Nyende (2005), among others. Using a combination of historical-grammatical exegesis and theological interpretation, this dissertation undertakes an investigation of Hebrews 1:1-4 to evaluate ancestor Christology. 12:1 is examined to determine the place and function of the ancestors in Hebrews. Though this research noted the value of the ancestor Christology concept as a worthwhile attempt towards contextual Christology in Africa, the research argues that the concept is counterproductive because the failure of the concept to capture important aspects of Jesus‘ identity outlined in the exordium translates to presenting Him inadequately. This applies especially to his identity as the summation and perfection of mediation, whose scope of mediation is salvific and redemptive and whose mediation is without an end as signified by his linkage in Hebrews to the king-priest Melchizedek. Furthermore, conceptualising Jesus using ancestor categories has the potential of exasperating the perennial problem of belief in both Jesus and the ancestors as mediators between God and men.
- Theology