Agbonkhianmeghe E. OROBATOR, Theology Brewed in an African Pot. Orbis Press, 2008. Pp. 156 + xiii. $15.95 (paperback). ISBN 13: 978-1-57075-795-2.
Reviewed by Randall Jay Woodard, Saint Leo University, Florida 33523

Written for those with little background in academic theology (x), Orobator offers readers a wonderful introduction to African Catholicism. He describes the work as “an invitation to drink, savor, and celebrate theology in an African context” (10). Using Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” as its base, the text provides an overview of foundational topics such as God, Trinity, grace, church, from an African perspective.

Within each chapter, Orobator supplies a basic description of the topic while introducing the reader to significant African authors, terms, worldviews, practices, and theological methodology. Although the book assumes very little prior knowledge, the author offers a meaningful glimpse into the depth of the academic discipline for theological novices. Additionally, the chapters introduce readers to some of the disputed areas of theology which may function as a powerful invitation for further study.

The strength of the text rests in its ability to introduce a beginner to difficult theological concepts in a concise and effective manner while at the same time, bringing the reader into the African context as the framework within which Catholicism is viewed. Readers are plunged into the richness of the African experience without demanding prior reading or background experience. The study questions and prayers provided at the end of each chapter are excellent tools with which the readers can further reflect on chapter material and further explore the lived faith experience of a variety of African Christians. Finally, the chapter on inculturation offers a valuable reflection on the beauty inherent in African Christianity and on how Christians in general can enter into and benefit from this unique dialogue. This book is recommended as an introduction level text to theology in general or, specifically, African Catholicism. It may work well as a supplement to a more advanced text in order to introduce students to the African experience and the world beyond Western religious expression.

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