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A Primal Perspective on the Philosophy of ReligionLanguage and Religious Thought

A Primal Perspective on the Philosophy of Religion: Language and Religious Thought CHAPTER IX Language, Cognition and Religion: The Case of East Africa John S. Mbiti has argued that for the proper understanding of the primal religious tradition of Kenya, it is necessary to understand the concept of time with which it operates. And to understand this concept of time one must analyse the verb tenses of at least some of the languages used in this area. This exercise is then carried out by him in relation to the Akamba and Gikuyu languages in Kenya, though the results are presented with the help of Swahili terms. The conclusions reached by him are summarized below. Professor Mbiti‘s explanation of the African Concept of time briefly runs as follows: Time in the African mind is not similar to the Western concept of time. In the West, time has three significant phases past-present-future, and time moves from the past to the future. In Africa, time has two dimensions, a long past and the felt present and hardly any future except that which covers maybe six months to two years at most. And there time moves from present to past. The two dimensions are named Zamani and Sasa. Both are Kiswahili words which meant “past” http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png

A Primal Perspective on the Philosophy of ReligionLanguage and Religious Thought

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
© Springer 2006
ISBN
978-1-4020-5013-8
Pages
131 –138
DOI
10.1007/1-4020-5014-3_9
Publisher site
See Chapter on Publisher Site

Abstract

CHAPTER IX Language, Cognition and Religion: The Case of East Africa John S. Mbiti has argued that for the proper understanding of the primal religious tradition of Kenya, it is necessary to understand the concept of time with which it operates. And to understand this concept of time one must analyse the verb tenses of at least some of the languages used in this area. This exercise is then carried out by him in relation to the Akamba and Gikuyu languages in Kenya, though the results are presented with the help of Swahili terms. The conclusions reached by him are summarized below. Professor Mbiti‘s explanation of the African Concept of time briefly runs as follows: Time in the African mind is not similar to the Western concept of time. In the West, time has three significant phases past-present-future, and time moves from the past to the future. In Africa, time has two dimensions, a long past and the felt present and hardly any future except that which covers maybe six months to two years at most. And there time moves from present to past. The two dimensions are named Zamani and Sasa. Both are Kiswahili words which meant “past”

Published: Jan 1, 2006

Keywords: African People; Religious Worldview; Temporal Peculiarity; Religious Term; Skilled Hunter

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