Liturgical theology—African perspective

Authored by: Elochuckwu Eugene Uzukwu

The Routledge Handbook of African Theology

Print publication date:  June  2020
Online publication date:  May  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138092303
eBook ISBN: 9781315107561
Adobe ISBN:


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In the life of each differentiated human, community, performance, doing, and action display and give sense to being; they embody the beliefs and priorities of the community. In performance, the patterns mediating insight into the origins and destination, hopes and fears, successes and failures, and the transformation or reinvention of the community are declared and displayed. Indeed, performance reiterates the foundational crust of the community’s memory. Marcel Jousse characterizes this as originary tri-phase “unconscious” performance, a mimesis of the impact of the universe on the human agent (Anthropos). It is mimesis, passive-active, dominated by action-reaction: l’agent agissant l’agi (the agent acting the acted)—the three-phase foundational memorialization or performance of each human community’s story, of its reaction in gestures to the overall impact of the universe upon the community. This is its life. 1 In this tri-phase performance of Anthropos-community, I locate the core of liturgical action. At its very core, the liturgy as ritual, like gesture, dramatizes bodily what carries the community. The performance is embedded in deep memory—a mimesis of valuational encodings. As Edgard Richard Sienaert stresses, inspired by the thought-flow of Jousse, “Memory is the reactivation of gestures previously internalized, shaped, played in us with the cooperation of our body.” 2

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