Peter Elochukwu Muojekwu Rev. Fr. D.Min.
Although “inculturation” is a relatively new term in the long history of Christian theology, it’s roots are found in the mission of Jesus Christ himself. Despite the many important complexities and nuances of sophisticated theologies of inculturation, what it refers to is simply an ideal for how the Gospel of Jesus Christ transforms the human family. It refers to a mode of evangelization by which specific cultures avails themselves to the Church, and the Church to specific cultures, for a mutually enriching dialogue in which nothing that is truly good and holy is at lost. Unfortunately, the history of Christianity is littered with the tragic results of various processes of confrontation and domination (particularly of the colonial sort) masquerading as evangelization, but actually profoundly at odds with the inculturative model of Christ. Far from providing for a holistic and authentically “holy” union of universal Gospel and local culture, these processes have created what, in many instances, have been unnecessary rifts and even hostilities between what is perceived as “Gospel” and what is perceived as “culture.”
This thesis project is aimed at exploring the phenomenon of Mmanwu, an indigenous Igbo religious institution which has for centuries been at the center of what might be referred to as one of the many examples of both the misadventures of inculturation gone wrong in Nigeria and the pregnant possibilities of inculturation done properly. Because questions about inculturation with respect to Mmanwu are inherently interreligious, the thesis will conclude by attempting to apply some of the lessons from the questions around Mmanwu and inculturation to yet another important locus of inculturation in Nigeria: Christian-Muslim dialogue