Stories of Sacrifice from Below

My article entitled “Stories of Sacrifice from Below: From Girard to Ekem, Kalengyo and Oduyoye” has now been published in Stellenbosch Theological Journal 6, no. 4 (2020): 183-212.


In the Global North, the notion of “sacrifice” is highly controversial in contemporary discussion. In recent years, the influential work of René Girard has succeeded in putting sacrifice back on the intellectual agenda, but his story of sacrifice has primarily emphasised the theme of violence. Today, many theologians consider sacrifice inherently problematic and some would like to do away with it altogether. In Africa, however, the notion is highly popular across a wide range of theological traditions. The work of three African theologians – John Ekem, a Ghanaian mother-tongue biblical scholar, Edison Kalengyo, a Ugandan inculturation theologian, and Mercy Oduyoye, a Ghanaian women’s theologian – challenge Girard’s theory in three important ways. First, they challenge his traditional typological approach with a dialogical typological one. Second, they challenge his focus on violence by highlighting multiple themes. Third, they challenge his lack of an ecclesial dimension with fresh ways of appropriating Jesus’ sacrifice today.


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