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Jewish Cultural Elements in the Ethiopian Orthodox Täwaḥədo Church


This monograph traces how ‘Jewish’ elements were introduced into and disseminated throughout the Ethiopian Orthodox Täwaḥədo Church through a series of multi-layered, socio-politico-cultural processes. Drawing on historical and literary evidence, Afework tracks the incorporation of Jewish features into the Ethiopian Orthodox Church from pre-Aksumite Christianity, before the fourth century, through the sixteenth century.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-0717-5
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Publication Status: Forthcoming

Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 350
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0717-5
$99.00

This book investigates the formation of the Jewish cultural profile of the Ethiopian Orthodox Täwaḥədo Church (EOTC), arguing that it was formed after the sixth century CE through gradual and complex socio-politico-cultural processes, which spanned many centuries. To this end, it employs historical and literary evidence to (re)examine the religious profile of the pre- and post- fourth century CE Aksumite kingdom, and probes the robust cultural developments of the empire in the sixth century in order to highlight the existence of a ‘Jewish/Judaeo-Christian’ identity. Aksum’s relationship with Jews across the Red Sea and its potential impact on the later development of Ethiopia’s Jewish culture is examined, particularly during the Zagʷe era, for which scant but important historical evidence is provided.

Afework demonstrates that the impact of indigenous culture, coupled with the steady growth of a ‘Judaic’ heritage of the church, beginning in the sixth century, was accompanied by the emergence of an ‘Israelite’ and ‘Solomonic’ ethos. The translation of some of the works of ‘Church Fathers’ in and after the fourteenth century further augmented this impact. The Jewish cultural heritage, particularly, was fully developed and shaped during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, as is epitomised by the series of debates about the place of Sabbath and the further theologising and contextualising efforts regarding the ‘Judaic’ elements of the EOTC.

This book investigates the formation of the Jewish cultural profile of the Ethiopian Orthodox Täwaḥədo Church (EOTC), arguing that it was formed after the sixth century CE through gradual and complex socio-politico-cultural processes, which spanned many centuries. To this end, it employs historical and literary evidence to (re)examine the religious profile of the pre- and post- fourth century CE Aksumite kingdom, and probes the robust cultural developments of the empire in the sixth century in order to highlight the existence of a ‘Jewish/Judaeo-Christian’ identity. Aksum’s relationship with Jews across the Red Sea and its potential impact on the later development of Ethiopia’s Jewish culture is examined, particularly during the Zagʷe era, for which scant but important historical evidence is provided.

Afework demonstrates that the impact of indigenous culture, coupled with the steady growth of a ‘Judaic’ heritage of the church, beginning in the sixth century, was accompanied by the emergence of an ‘Israelite’ and ‘Solomonic’ ethos. The translation of some of the works of ‘Church Fathers’ in and after the fourteenth century further augmented this impact. The Jewish cultural heritage, particularly, was fully developed and shaped during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, as is epitomised by the series of debates about the place of Sabbath and the further theologising and contextualising efforts regarding the ‘Judaic’ elements of the EOTC.

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Contributor Biography

Afework Hailu

Afework Hailu Beyene completed his PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London). Prior to that, he studied at the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology (EGST) and the Institute of Ethiopian Studies (Addis Ababa University). Currently he is a lecturer in History of Christianity at EGST.

 

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