Theologies of Continuity and Rupture for the Luba Katanga: The Missionary Journeys of Placide Tempels and William F.P. Burton in Colonial Belgium Congo
- Theologies of Continuity and Rupture for the Luba Katanga: The Missionary Journeys of Placide Tempels and William F.P. Burton in Colonial Belgium Congo
- Speaker: David Maxwell # University of Cambridge
- Hosted by
- Introduced by
- Date and Time
- 19th Feb 2020 16:00 - 19th Feb 2020 17:30
- Violet Laidlaw room, 6th floor CMB
A joint seminar with Centre for Study in World Christianity, School of Divinity
Comprehensive histories of religious entanglement need to consider how missionaries, as well as local peoples, were transformed by their encounters. The paper compares and contrasts the trajectories of the Belgian Franciscan missionary, Placide Tempels, and the English Pentecostal founder of the Congo Evangelistic Mission, William F.P. Burton. Tempels worked in Katanga 1933-1962 and was author of La Philosophie Bantoue  [Bantu Philosophy, 1959], which became one of the early classics of African philosophy and an inspiration to the leading figures of the Négritude Movement. The most significant of Burton’s many publications was his Luba Religion and Magic in Custom and Belief , which has been used by successive generations of historians and anthropologists working on Central Africa.
The paper examines the evolution of missionary thinking and practice while drawing together arguments about knowledge creation. The intention is neither an in depth study of Tempels, about whom much has already been written, nor an attempt to gauge the veracity of his claims. Rather, the it examines the processes and purpose of the Franciscan’s research in the context of twentieth century Katanga in order to bring into relief those of Burton and his Pentecostal colleagues. In particular, the paper explores the two missionaries’ engagement with theologies of fulfillment.