St. Ignatius of Antioch and Afua Kuma of Kwahu : a study in some images of Jesus in second century Christianity and modern African Christianity.
Christian religious experience whether it occurs in the second century or in modem Africa is one and the same, and although the experiences may differ it is possible to draw correlations to suggest that such experiences bear witness to a common reality. St. Ignatius of Antioch who lived in the second century and Afua Kuma who hails from Kwahu in the Eastern Region of Ghana, are used to demonstrate this reality. My sources for Ignatius' are the seven letters he wrote, six to churches he visited and one to his friend Polycarp of Smyrna, whilst he was on his way to martyrdom in Rome. As bishop of Antioch he is concerned about the unity of the church and consequently focuses attention on false doctrines and the development of what was becoming "orthodox" tradition. A number of peculiar images referring to Christ emerge in his work, such"as apXEta (archive), 8upa (door), xapaK1"rlp (stamp) and 8t)(:nacr'trlpwv (altar). This picturesque and vivid imagery is traced to his propensity for rhetoric, which, though Asian, bears resemblance to the Greek and Roman folkloric traditions. The Apae or the courthouse praise poetry of the Akan folkloric tradition is the vehicle that Afua Kuma employs to express her faith in Jesus. A crisis in Madam Kuma's life must have led her to fathom the depths of her traditional background and upbringing and this she feeds into her understanding of Jesus. In her poetry Jesus is imaged as Adontehene, Benkumhene, :Jkatakyie, :Jkokodurufo, Okuruakwaban, and Adubasap::m and is made to perform all the functions associated with regal authority. She also shows awareness of modem political and social structures in these images. This thesis shows that it is the fruit of the Christian imagination born in the context of praise and worship, which ought to feed and nourish academic theology so as to keep it in touch with the spiritual vitality experienced in the community of faith.