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Early African Christian History and Thought
Explore the Untold Stories and Influences of African Christians in the Shaping and Formation of the Faith

What you will learn

Mastery concerning the early development of Christianity in Africa and its foundational role in shaping Christian thought and practices

Master knowledge concerning the key early African Christian thinkers, their texts and theological contributions

How to showcase and redress under-represented histories, particularly African ones,

How to challenge notions that Christianity was initially introduced to Africa by Rome or European colonial powers

Be able to critically evaluate historical narratives and integrate an inclusive perspective in their understanding of Christian history.


“Early African Christian History and Thought” is a thought-provoking course facilitated by Professor Eric Betts. Building on the scholarly works of Vincent Bantu and Thomas Oden, this course delves into the significant contributions of Africa to the development of early Christianity. Students will embark on a journey tracing the roots of Christian thought in Africa, exploring how these formative influences have shaped theological concepts, spiritual practices, and church traditions. Through engaging lectures and in-depth discussions, Professor Betts will guide students in understanding and appreciating the profound and enduring imprint of African heritage on Christian history and theology. This course is an invitation to enrich our knowledge of Christianity’s diverse origins, highlighting the necessity to acknowledge and value the African narratives often overlooked in ecclesiastical history.

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This course provides a wealth of benefits to a spectrum of individuals, from professionals to public school teachers, Sunday school teachers, ministers, and those interested in diversity. Professionals and educators will gain a richer, more nuanced understanding of early Christian history, enabling them to incorporate these insights into their respective fields. Public school teachers can use this knowledge to offer students a more comprehensive view of Christian history, highlighting the diverse contributions of various cultures. Similarly, Sunday school teachers and ministers will find value in these lessons, refining their sermons and teachings to reflect a more inclusive, global perspective of Christianity. For those interested in diversity, this course illuminates the multicultural origins of Christian thought, reinforcing the importance of inclusive narratives in historical scholarship and discourse.




Course Expectations and Introductions
African Foundations along the Nile and Numidia

Key African Thought Leaders in Early Christianity

11 Early African Leaders You Need to Know Pt. 1
11 Early African Leaders You Need to Know Pt. 2
The Influence of Cyprian–Bishop of Carthage

African Councils, Scholarship and Martyrdom

African Councils, Influential Scholars and Martyrs
The Martyrs of Madaura and Scillium (Libya, Tunisia, Algeria)

How Africa Influenced Europe and the Near East

Outline of the Ways Africa Influenced the Christian Mind
A Detailed Study on the 7 Ways Africa Influenced the Christian Mind Pt 1
A Detailed Study on the 7 Ways Africa Influenced the Christian Mind Pt. 2

The Roots of Nubian, Egyptian and Ethiopian Christianity

The Roots of Egyptian Christianity
The Roots of Nubian Christianity
The Roots of Ethiopian Christianity
History of Ethiopian Social and Religious Independence
History of Ethiopian Ge’ez Translation of Manuscripts
Egypt, Neoplatonism, and Early Christian Thought