Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - SCU Access Only


Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2018.

Degree Name

Doctor of Sacred Theology (STD)


Anh Q. Tran, SJ.


In the face of a new religion (Christianity) interacting with Greek culture, the Early Church fathers used their Hellenistic anthropology to articulate a relevant Christology that has become normative in theology. Sub-Saharan African Christology, relying also on an underlying anthropology, leads us to ponder how the Christian faith is articulated and lived within its present anthropological and socio-political context.

Drawing from my experience and culture, and employing a multidimensional methodological approach, which is at the same time hermeneutic, descriptive, and narrative, I trace how their anthropological assumptions – Patristic Hellenistic dualism and Africa’s pluralistic anthropology – influenced their respective Christologies. I demonstrate how contemporary African Christological models are consistent with Scripture and Church Tradition and lived out through popular gospel songs.

By analyzing Christological and Mariological elements in these songs, this dissertation unveils a culture of relevance with concepts like Christology of Proximity, Functional Christology, and Christology of Consolation. Mary, being the Queen Mother in Africa, not only has a unique privilege access to the King but is also active at the forefront of liberation – a Liberative Mariology. Because songs permeate all aspects of African life and unveil the depth of a lived Christology, this dissertation highlights sub-Saharan Africa’s contribution to theological endeavor and to the New Evangelization.

This dialogue of Hellenistic and African Christologies bring greater awareness, clarity, and understanding not only of how anthropology shapes Christology in Africa, but also how it informs and nourishes ecclesiology, because the Church in Africa, anchored on the concept of the family, is inspired and defined by its ubuntu anthropological dimension as it deals with the problems that affect her.

Without prejudice to the supra-cultural dimension of Christology and Mariology, no one concrete historical reality can exhaust the richness of Christ or Mary. This explains why no Christological or Mariological model conferred on Christ or Mary can be absolutized. This dissertation adds impetus to Africa’s voice in Christological matters, reveals the interplay between anthropology, ecclesiology, Christology, and Mariology in Africa while serving as a springboard aimed at expressing the never-changing word of God in ever-changing modes for relevance.

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