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Heathenism, Delusion, and Ignorance: Samuel Crowther's Approach to Islam and Traditional Religion

Alison Fitchett Climenhaga

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In 1843, Samuel Ajayi Crowther became the first African ordained for ministry in the Anglican Church, and he dedicated most of his life to bringing the gospel to his fellow West Africans. During the course of his evangelizing activity, Crowther engaged frequently with both Islam and African traditional religion. After a brief survey of Crowther’s life, I compare the vocabulary with which he describes Islam and traditional religion, the analytic categories he applies to them, and the quality of his engagement with each. I argue that the differences between Crowther’s engagement with traditional religion and Islam stem from his perception of the latter as a competing missionary religion and the former as being connected in important ways with the African cultural traditions he hoped to preserve and perfect.

 
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