Original Research

The portrayal of Africa and Africans in the book of Jeremiah

David T. Adamo
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 52, No 1 | a2259 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v52i1.2259 | © 2018 David T. Adamo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 March 2017 | Published: 31 January 2018

About the author(s)

David T. Adamo, Department of Old Testament and New Testament, University of South Africa, South Africa


Since the 1980s, many Jeremianic scholars have spent much time on the study of the various contentious issues in order to resolve them. However, there has been no unanimous agreement yet. One of these contentious issues is the relationship of the prophet Jeremiah to ancient Africa and Africans which is the main focus of this article. The author of the book Jeremiah made references to Ancient Africa and Africans about 53 times in the Septuagint, and 67 times in the Masoretic Text. This indicates that the prophet Jeremiah is very familiar with ancient Africa and Africans. Using a historical–biographical and theological method of reading Jeremiah, this article examines the portrayal of ancient Africa and Africans in the book of Jeremiah. It is also part of an investigation of the African presence in the Old Testament which, to Africans, is an important moral and self–lifting scholarly exercise. It is also gratifying information in itself to know that Africa and Africans have participated in the drama of redemption which has not been recognised as such by either Eurocentric scholars or by the majority of Africentric scholars themselves. While in the Pentateuch references to Africa and Africans appear more than 577 times, in the Major Prophets there are about 180 references. What this means is that not only the author of the book of Jeremiah, but biblical authors in general are very familiar with ancient Africa and Africans, and deliberately took time to identify them. The continued recognition by scholars and non–scholars of Africa and African presence in the Bible has great implications for Christianity in Africa.


Ancient Africa; Ancient Egypt; Cush; Old Testament; Jeremiah


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