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Centre of World Christianity

Jewish/Hebraic Cultural Formation in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church

Afework Hailu, SOAS, University of London

Date: 17 June 2014Time: 6:00 PM

Finishes: 17 June 2014Time: 8:00 PM

Venue: Faber Building, 23/24 Russell SquareRoom: FG 01

Type of Event: Lecture

Series: Lecture Series on Christianity in Ethiopia

The introduction of Judaic/Hebraic elements in the Ethiopian Orthodox Täwahido Church (EOTC) is narrated in Kebrä nägäśt and other hagiographical writings. European travellers and scholars since the medieval period, in addition to reflecting on the presence of Jews and Judaism in Ethiopia, have depicted the church as being Jewish in character from its inception: the works of prominent Ethiopianists epitomised this opinion in the twentieth century. This lecture examines the formation of Judaic identity of the EOTC, which was formed in response to complex socio-politico-cultural factors after 6th c. CE. In particular, biblical and ecclesiastical narratives, played a considerable role in shaping the Judaic identity as did Ethiopian indigenous cultural expressions that were developed through contextualisation and theologising processes over the centuries.