November 30, 1931 |
|Education||University of Cambridge|
|Occupation||Theologian, Philosopher, Priest
Emeritus professor at University of Bern,
Parish minister in Burgdorf, Switzerland
|Known for||African Theology|
Born in Kenya, Mbiti studied in Uganda and the United States, taking his doctorate in 1963 at the University of Cambridge, UK. He taught religion and theology in Makerere University, Uganda from 1964 to 1974 and was subsequently director of the World Council of Churches' Ecumenical Institute in Bogis-Bossey, Switzerland. He has held visiting professorships at universities across the world and published extensively on philosophy, theology and African oral traditions.
Mbiti's seminal book, African Religions and Philosophy (1969), was the first work to challenge Christian assumption that traditional African religious ideas were "demonic and anti-Christian". His sympathetic treatment of traditional religions was based on massive field work. Mbiti is clear that his interpretation of these religions is from a firmly Christian perspective, and this aspect of his work has sometimes been severely criticized.
Mbiti's research interests include theology in Africa and Asia, and ecumenism. He has also collaborated on a book of African proverbs, collected from across the continent.
As of 2005[update], Mbiti is an Emeritus professor at the University of Bern and parish minister to the town of Burgdorf, Switzerland. He is married to Verena Mbiti-Siegenthaler and has four children.
- Akamba Stories. Oxford Library of African Literature. Oxford University Press (December 1966). ISBN 0-19-815120-9
- Poems of Nature and Faith. Poets of Africa. East African Publishing House (1969).
- African Religions and Philosophy. African Writers Series. Heinemann  (1990). ISBN 0-435-89591-5
- Concepts of God in Africa. London: SPCK (April 1970). ISBN 0-281-02347-6
- New Testament Eschatology in an African Background. Oxford University Press (March 1971). ISBN 0-19-821659-9
- Love and Marriage in Africa. London: Longman (1973).
- Introduction to African Religion. African Writers Series. Heinemann  (1991). ISBN 0-435-94002-3
- The Prayers of African Religion . London: SPCK (October 1975). ISBN 0-281-02871-0
- Bible and Theology in African Christianity. Oxford University Press (April 1987). ISBN 0-19-572593-X
- African Proverbs. Pretoria: UNISA Press (1997).
Notes and references
- Heinemann Author biography. Retrieved 23 March 2006.
- Mbiti, John (1980). "The Encounter of Christian Faith and African Religion". Christian Century (August 27–September 3): 817–820. Retrieved 2006-03-23. On-line version published by Religion Online.
- Kalumba, Kibujo M (March 2005). "A New Analysis of Mbiti's 'The Concept of Time'". Philosophia Africana 8 (1): 11–20.
- English, Parker (March 2006). "Kalumba, Mbiti, and a Traditional African Concept of Time,". Philosophia Africana 9 (1): 53–56.
- University of Bern at the Wayback Machine (archived July 7, 2011) Academic staff biography (in German). Retrieved on 23 March 2006.
- "Mbiti, John Samuel", Dictionary of African Christian Biography.
- Olupona, Jacob K.; Sulayman S. Nyang (May 1998). "Religious Plurality in Africa: Essays in Honour of John S. Mbiti". Journal of Religion in Africa (BRILL) 28 (Fasc. 2): pp. 247–250. doi:10.2307/1581722. JSTOR 1581722.
- Kalumba, Kibujo M; English, Parker (Eds.) (1996). African Philosophy: A Classical Approach. Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-323726-5.