Sin in Cultural Context

Sin in Cultural Context

Understanding the Old Testament notion of ‘sin’ among the Kongo people of Brazzaville

Sabine Müri


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To be relevant, all theology must relate to context. This study is an example of the complexities encountered in the actual practice of contextualization. It examines the notion of ‘sin’ in the Kongo culture and evaluate it through the lens of the Old Testament understanding of ‘sin’. In the Kongo context, ‘sin’ is understood as any act that breaks the harmony of the community, allowing any kind of evil to enter it. This understanding needs to be transformed by the biblical view of ‘sin’ as always being committed before God, the creator of the world and the one to whom all human beings owe their life. The rich imagery for ‘sin’ in the Old Testament cannot be captured by the one Kongo word disumu; a wider vocabulary can and must be developed.


Sabine Müri:
Sabine Müri, a former Church Youth Minister, completed her master’s degree in Exegesis at the Akademie für Weltmission Korntal (Germany) in 2003. After linguistic training she served as a translation consultant in the central African region and obtained her PhD in Intercultural Theology at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (England) in 2016. After five years working as a Lecturer at a Bible College in Switzerland, she left Academia. She currently works at grassroots level as a professional bus driver, serving God as a ‘break‐in point’ into the everyday life of people, for His blessing and grace to reach where it is most needed. Sabine lives in rural Emmental (Switzerland).