Pub. date: 2012 | Online Pub. Date: May 31, 2012 | DOI: 10.4135/9781452218458 | Print ISBN: 9781412981767 | Online ISBN: 9781452218458| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Christianity in North Africa, Pre-Islam: Prehistory to 1400: Africa
Because of a lack of historical records, scholars have initially relied on religious texts to capture the early arrival of Christianity in north Africa. There is no precise date for the start of the presence of Christianity in north Africa but there is reference in the New Testament of the bible about Africa in general. This would mean that Christianity may have existed in the continent for more than 2,000 years. The Gospel of Luke mentions that Simon the Cyrenian (Cyrene is present-day Libya) bore the cross for Jesus prior to his crucifixion. Within religious texts, the book of Acts relates that Egyptians and Cyrenians heard the apostles proclaim the Gospel in native languages. It is therefore possible that Christianity may have come to north Africa in the 1st century C.E., even before northern Europe, and that the inhabitants of north Africa could have been among the earliest Christian communities ...