An Enkiteng Hermeneutic—Reading (and Hearing!) the Bible with Maasai Christians: A Review Essay and Proposal


  • Joshua Robert Barron Africa International University


God’s communication of his Word to people has always been culturally specific. Rather than falling prey to a feared cultural relativizing of the Christian gospel, the cultural contingency or particularity of divine-human communication entails the importance of contextual realities within different cultures, often represented by their languages. Human contexts should therefore be taken seriously by biblical hermeneutics. Moreover, care must be taken not to denigrate any cultural context due to its alleged inferiority to another, as has happened all too frequently in modern interactions between Europeans and Africans. / The “Maasai and the Bible” project, sponsored by VID International University in Norway in cooperation with Tumaini University Makumira in Tanzania, has taken the specifically Maasai human context seriously in an examination of biblical hermeneutics. The project has resulted in four recent publications studying Maasai reception and hermeneutics of biblical texts. This article introduces that project, reviews its four books, then proposes an enkiteng (cow) hermeneutic as an appropriate approach to Scripture in Maasai contexts.

Author Biography

Joshua Robert Barron, Africa International University

PhD Candidate, Centre for World Christianity; missionary in Kenya since 2007