Claude Sumner

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Father Claude Sumner, SJ was a Canadian professor of philosophy who worked at Addis Ababa University from 1953.[1] He was best known for his work on Ethiopian philosophy, and in particular for introducing the philosophers Zera Yacob and Walda Heywat to the English-speaking world.

Sumner died on June 24, 2012, in Montreal, Canada, at the age of 92.[2][3]


  • The Philosophy of Man, Vol. I: From the Upanisads to the British Empiricists, University College Press, 1973.
  • The Philosophy of Man, Vol. II: From Kant to the Situation in 1963,Central Printing Press, 1974.
  • Ethiopian Philosophy, vol. I: The Book of the Wise Philosophers, Commercial Printing Press, 1974.
  • Ethiopian Philosophy, vol. II: The Treatise of Zara Yaecob and Walda Hewat: Text and Authorship, Commercial Printing Press, 1976.
  • Ethiopian Philosophy, vol. III: The Treatise of Zara Yaecob and Walda Hewat: An Analysis, Commercial Printing Press, 1978.
  • Ethiopian Philosophy, vol. IV: The Life and Maxims of Skandes, Commercial Printing Press, 1974.
  • Ethiopian Philosophy, vol. V: The Fisalgwos, Commercial Printing Press, 1976.
  • Classical Ethiopian Philosophy, Commercial Printing Press, 1985.
  • The Source of African Philosophy: The Ethiopian Philosophy of Man, Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden, 1986.
  • Oromo Wisdom Literature: Proverbs, Collection and Analysis, 1995.
  • "Zera Yacob", in Arrington, ed, A Companion to the Philosophers, Blackwell, 1999.
  • Proverbs, Songs, Folktales: An Anthology of Oromo Literature, Gudina Tumsa Foundation, Addis Ababa, 1996.
  • Living Springs of Wisdom and Philosophy, Addis Ababa University, 1999.
  • "The Proverb and Oral Society", New Political Science, 21(1):11–31, 1999.
  • "The Significance of Zera Yacob's Philosophy", Ultimate Reality and Meaning, 22(3):172–88, 1999.
  • "The Significance of Ethiopian Philosophy for the Problematics of an African Philosophy", in Perspectives in African philosophy, Addis Ababa University, 2002.
  • "The Light and the Shadow: Zera Yacob and Walda Heywat: Two Ethiopian Philosophers of the Seventeenth Century", in Wiredu and Abraham, eds., A Companion to African Philosophy, 2004.


  1. ^ Teodros Kiros, "Doing African Philosophy: Claude Sumner's Work on Ethiopian Philosophy", New Political Science 16.1 (1995), p. 95
  2. ^ SJ Africa News, vol. 5, no. 3 (July 20, 2012)[permanent dead link], p. 9.
  3. ^ "Décès du P. Claude Sumner, s.j. | Jésuites" (in French). Archived from the original on 2013-07-24. Retrieved 2012-09-23.