Dr. Keith A. Burton (Ph.D. Northwestern) explores the role that Africa and Africans have played in the Bible as well as the history of Africa and the Middle East after the birth of Christ. He looks at the sons of Noah from Genesis 10, especially Ham and his sons Cush, Misrayim, and Canaan, and discusses where their territory is located, including maps.
This reviewer found the sections of this book about Africa and its Christian and Muslim history more interesting. Northern Africa was converted to Christianity as part of the Roman Empire. When the Muslims invaded North Africa, they defeated the various nations that had developed there after the fall of the Roman Empire. Christianity seems to have not been too strong in that region, and many were tricked into accepting the Muslim invaders as a Christian sect. They eventually realized that they had been tricked and either died for their faith, converted, or paid the infidel tax. Ethiopia was one country in Africa that the Muslims were not able to subdue.
Burton discusses the influence the Bible had on the Koran, one of the reasons some Africans were tricked into thinking Islam was just another Christian sect among others. He shows how Islam grew in Africa and how the Crusades were a low point in Christian history. Crusaders were seen and acted more as wanting wealth and plunder rather than being concerned about recovering the holy places; this was only secondary to some of them. The Crusaders killed not only Muslims, but also Jews and other Christians.
Burton spends time on Ethiopia as a Christian empire that was able to defend itself against both Muslim and Christian invaders. He also goes into the history of Christian missionaries’ not always successful efforts in Africa, creating their converts to be more European than African in a racist viewpoint. Christianity has grown in other parts of Africa and is still growing.
The Blessing of Africa includes a bibliography, name index, and a scripture index. This book is recommended to those interested in African religious history, the Scriptures, and African history.
Dr. Keith Augustus Burton is president of Life Heritage Ministries, an adjunct instructor of religion at the Florida Hospital College of Health Services, and was a professor of theology at Oakwood College, Huntsville, Alabama. He is the author of The Faith Factor (2005), The Compassion of the Christ (2004), and Rhetoric, Law, and the Mystery of Salvation in Romans 7:1-6 (2001).