Language and Indigenization: Ge’ez as a Foundation of Ethiopian Philosophy - Fasil Merawi and Binyam — oxford public philosophy (2022)

Fasil Merawi

(Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Addis Ababa University, fasil.merawi@aau.edu.et)

and

Binyam Mekonnen

(Lecturer, Department of Philosophy, Addis Ababa University, binyam.mekonnen@aau.edu.et)

Abstract

An important area of debate in African philosophy is the relation between the development of philosophical knowledge and the role of language in disseminating cultural values. African philosophers argue that the fact that African philosophy is not produced in local languages leads into cultural estrangement and also produces cultural imperialism. Writing in African languages is in return seen as the way towards decolonization and the renaissance of African traditional thought systems. In such a context, Ethiopian philosophy represents a unique approach in being available in a written form which is absent in other philosophical traditions in Africa. In the development of Ethiopian philosophy, Ge’ez plays a huge contribution since key texts in Ethiopian philosophy like the book of wise philosophers and treatise of Zera Yacob and Welda Heywat were translated from Ge’ez. Beyond its usage in the church, the contribution of Ge’ez in the development of knowledge systems in Ethiopia extends to the areas of philosophy, history, law, philology and medicine. In this paper, we argue that revitalizing the role of Ge’ez in Ethiopian thought systems helps to deconstruct and refute Eurocentric bias which sees African cultures as being inferior and contributes to cultural affirmation. Furthermore, Ge’ez also serves as a reconstructive tool in order to utilize ancient Ethiopian wisdom and thereby demonstrate its value in contemporary affairs.

Key Words: communication, Ge’ez, decolonization, education, identity.

Introduction

In today’s world, there is a greater awareness that there is an intimate relation between conceptions of knowledge on one hand and power relations and ideological frameworks on the other. Such assumptions also extend to language itself. Rather than only exploring language focused on cognitive and propositional truth and medium for communication, the role of language in creating and structuring reality as well as sustaining social relations is being analyzed. Amongst others, postcolonial theorists, critical theorists and African philosophers are engaged in the study of the continuum which exists between language, identity and politics.

Using such debates on language and the politics of identity, one could understand the relation which exists between Ethiopian philosophy and Ethiopian languages. One witnesses cultural, religious and linguistic diversity in the Ethiopian context. Such religious, cultural and linguistic forms have throughout history interacted with one another and subsequently exerted a huge influence on the ways of life, philosophies and worldviews of the people. One further sees that, “there is a wide variety of dress, customs and physical appearance among the native ethnic groups of divergent origins” (Huebener, 1969, 90). Among Ethiopian languages, the one language which developed a significant role in the development of religious and philosophical writings is the Ge’ez language. It is the language which served as a foundation to the literary culture and its influence is witnessed in diverse fields as literature, philosophy and religion.

The etymological origins of the Ge’ez language which are related to the “Ethiopic verb geʿəza denotes 'to become free'” (Kozicki, 2018, 120). The majority of the texts produced in the Ge’ez language are of a theological nature. As such, “the Ge'ez literature comprises mainly theological treatises, hagiography translated predominantly from Arabic as well as the works of domestic literature such as royal chronicles” (Ibid). Even in such texts issues of society, politics and morality are articulated. Furthermore, there are works of literature, politics and philosophy produced in the Ge’ez language. For Ertiban Demewoz (2018), the status of the Ge’ez language is currently limited by several factors. Among others he identifies the fact that there are limited practitioners of the language, that the rituals that were once only being practiced in the Ge’ez language are now carried out by other languages and also that the language is not integrated into the curriculum as the major limitations. Ertiban contends, “little is known about the traditional church schools, the churches and the monasteries regarding Ge’ez language usage and its heritage since the potential of its use and associated challenges have not yet been adequately assessed” (2018, 2). Although Ge’ez is the language of Ethiopian scholarship and academic pursuits, currently its place in the academia is diminishing.

Based on a study of the study of the relation which exists between language and identity, this paper tries to examine the classical foundations of Ethiopian philosophy as being founded on the Ge’ez language. We will start off my discussion by highlighting the relation which exists between language and identity in the context of African philosophy. Then we will discuss the classical foundations of Ethiopian philosophy. Finally, we will try to identify the nature of Ethiopian philosophy of education as being founded in church teaching and the Ge’ez language.

1. The Politics of Language and Identity

The conventional analysis of language focuses on the role of language in the dissemination of information, the transfer of knowledge and descriptive and propositional aspects of language. Such an assumption is being challenged by critical and postcolonial theorists who argue that language is intrinsically related to politics, ideology and history. Based on this, language is not a mere instrument for communication but also a tool for constructing values and imposing one’s normative presuppositions on the other. One strand of thought that also affirms such a cultural and ideological aspect of language is African philosophy.

The historical encounter amongst African and Western systems of knowledge is made possible by the colonial legacy. Still there are diverging views in relation to the type of colonization that was used in order to subdue the colonized. Many scholars focused on the type of forceful colonization that was used to subdue Africans physically, while others mainly claimed that a type of mental or psychological colonization was used to justify the ideology and supremacy of the Western world. In such a context, it is assumed that foreign language alongside liberalization, western economic models and democratization is one way of inculcating western values in African soil. This group argues that mental colonization was used to justify the rule and conquest of Europeans and that it had an aim of making the colonized people inferior and of deserving domination. Some scholars who raised the issue of mental colonization involve Kwasi Wiredu who argued for a need of conceptual decolonization, Ngugi Wa Thiongo that centered on cultural colonization and Ehiedu Iweriebor who focused on the psychology of colonialism.

African states begun to gain independence and hence the era of colonialism started to end following the Second World War. For others neo-colonialism soon replaced the colonial project. It is argued that there was only a change in the mode or type of colonialism and that colonialism didn’t really end. What’s raised here is the issue of mental colonization. As Ngugui Wa Thingo puts it “Berlin of 1984 was affected through the sword and the bullet. But the night of the sword and the bullet was followed by the mourning of the chalk and the black board. The physical violence of the battlefield was followed by the psychological violence of the classroom. But where the former was visibly brutal, the latter was visibly gentle” (Thiongo, 1986, 6). Thus, Western systems of knowledge propagated the superiority of the West and inferiority of non-Western indigenous knowledge. Particularly here, foreign languages are seen as a way of inculcating western cultural values and planting the seeds for the realization of neo-colonialism.

Ngugi identifies language as the most important vehicle used to implant the seeds of neocolonialism, Wiredu argues of colonization through religion, language and custom, while Ehiedu Iweriebor “identifies cultural imperialism as the general ideological framework through which the psychological colonization was implanted and propagated in Africa. The specific mechanisms of this domination included the falsification of African history, colonial education, missionary religious imperialism and social stratification” (Iweriebor, 2002, 472). The English language is seen as a tool through which Western conceptions of progress, development and modernization are spread in other parts of the world. Such an ideological component of language shows that, “colonialism has caused widespread involuntarily intermixing of western and African intellectual categories in the thinking of contemporary Africans” (Wiredu, 2002, 20).

According to Wiredu because of involuntarily contact with Europeans there was intermixing, and as a result program of conceptual decolonization is required. Currently Western knowledge is being transmitted through different medium like literary works, western modeled universities, the English language and cultural expressions all prioritizing Western knowledge as highly instrumental and African indigenous ones as affectionate and emotively oriented. Furthermore, the success of indigenous knowledge and philosophies is also being measured by taking Western knowledge as the apex of human progress and refinement.

Even in the processes of decolonization, Africans still explored and analyzed problematic supplied by western discourse. Here, one sees material, mental and political forms of dependence on the west. African systems of education are giving more primacy to instrumentality and technique than a holistic knowledge and the learning of foreign language is seen as more important than local ones. Hence, “our governments openly professed, in matters of science policy, a narrow utilitarianism that put African researchers on guard against the attraction of fundamental disciplines, and that guided them on the contrary toward the applied sciences” (Ibid, 230-231). Some obstacles to the development of an authentic intellectual and scientific tradition in Africa include an economic reliance on the West and an organizational dependence on Western facilities and knowledge production. This is also witnessed in the distance between African and Western systems of knowledge.

Besides critical theory, even in linguistics and the study of language, the analysis of the normative aspects of language is gaining prominence. As such, our conception of language must recognize its relations with value orientations, normative presuppositions and exiting reality. Based on this, language is involved not just in the description but also the construction of reality. Here, as Baye Yimam puts it, “for language to serve as a means of sense construction, or identity formation, it must itself be viewed as a construct of more basic sets of categories, which organize themselves into larger constituents” (Baye, 2012, 39). This goes beyond a mere focus on propositional truth to identify the role of language in the process of construction and invention. Applied to the relations amongst cultures, language is a way of disseminating knowledge and cultural values rather than a mere medium for communication. This shows that, “Education is one such domain in which language is pedantically applied to facilitate both the grooming and the transition of power to the few, often to the alienation of the masses.” (Baye, 2012, 47). As such, what is involved in different philosophies on education is not giving primacy to one language over the other, but also mediating local and foreign systems of knowledge.

2. Ge’ez and the Classical foundations of Ethiopian Philosophy

Philosophically speaking, the existence of an indigenous philosophy reflecting on the fundamental questions of knowledge and born out of the local is questionable. Here, whereas the Universalist position claims that all philosophy as a rational exercise is global in its nature, the historicists emphasizes the local, cultural and relative experience Thus, one should ask: “is the nature of philosophy purely speculative, practical, or both?”(Medina, 1992, 373). What further complicates the issue is the fact that whereas culture is necessarily bound to a temporal location, the philosophical quest always contemplates the universal. Concerning the possibility of an indigenous philosophy in Africa, the question arises, is philosophy a mere contemplation that is purely abstract or is it dictated by cultural constructs, and to what extent are philosophies driven by modes of cognition and not by external social and political considerations?

The conception of indigenous philosophy in Africa is mostly narrowly conceived as a situated form of knowledge limited by space and time. Thus, one asks how independent indigenous knowledge is from culture and local values. Furthermore, indigenous philosophy in Africa is part of a critique of colonialism where the revival of indigenous knowledge is seen as the foundation of uniqueness, freedom and emancipation. Thus, “the debate over the role of indigeneity in African philosophy is part of the larger postcolonial discourse” (Masolo, 2003, 22). Resisting the attempt to confine indigenous philosophy to the local, all philosophy including the indigenous one for Masolo should be founded on our experience, interaction with others and the rational accounts of the human condition. Just like the debate on African philosophy, the issue of whether Ethiopian philosophy exists is seen as a way of challenging the Eurocentric paradigm which saw only Europe as the locus of human culture and civilization.

For Teodros Kiros, any analysis of the role of philosophy on the Ethiopian soil must underscore the contributions of the Canadian philosopher Claude Sumner to Ethiopian philosophy. Sumner introduced a large philosophical scheme which managed to analyze the indigenous, traditional, oral, written and modern philosophical approaches on the Ethiopian soil. Sumner studied indigenous, oral wisdoms reflecting on societal values, critical philosophical adaptations into the Ethiopian soil as well as original philosophical works. Sumner, “assessing the contributions of Ethiopian philosophers, he contends that these modalities of philosophizing are of two kinds. The broadly philosophical are also unoriginal but adoptive and creatively incorporative. The strictly philosophical are distinctly original” (Kiros, 1996, 41)

Mudimbe believes that there are unique features of Ethiopian philosophy as discussed in the works of Claude Sumner. Rather than being located on Africa’s precolonial past, the critical adaptation of foreign philosophies into the Ethiopian soil, study of oral wisdom and original philosophical treatise form the main corpus of Ethiopian philosophy. Particularly, the philosophical investigations of Zera Yacob and Wolde Hiwot show the value of local contexts of knowledge and space in philosophical pursuits. As such, “one cannot ignore that some of them, such as the books of Zar'aYacob and Wolde Hiwot, witness to a regional inspiration” (Mudimbe, 1988, 203). Among the major sources of Ethiopian philosophy the written and sapiential sources of Ethiopian philosophy are founded in the Ge’ez language. The written form of Ethiopian philosophy is expressed in the Hatatas of Zera Yacob and Welda Heywat. The sapiential sources of Ethiopian philosophy in return refer to different texts like The Book of the Wise Philosophers.

Sumner believes that a better understanding of Ethiopian philosophy could be made possible through an analysis of the terms “Ethiopia” and “philosophy”. What first complicates such an effort is the fact that different connotations of modern Ethiopia could be proposed based on spatio-temporal location, language and “religiously, between the Christians, the Moslems, and the Jewish Falashas.” (Sumner, 1996, 1). Regarding the nature of Ethiopian philosophy, questions like, what are the different sources and modalities of Ethiopian philosophy, is Ethiopian philosophy entirely original or an attempt to introduce alien ideals into the Ethiopian soil, and also what is the place of philosophy in Ethiopian society need to be pondered. Sumner asks, is Ethiopian philosophy, “a popular traditional wisdom or a critical examination; an original inquiry indigenous to the country or a literature of translation and adaptation?” (Ibid, 2).

For Sumner, the Ethiopic or Ge’ez version of The Book of the Wise Philosophers was translated from an Arabic version which is in return made available from the Greek original version. Although, not original, the way in which the text is adapted to the Ethiopian context and the usage of Ethiopian names and forms of expression in the process of translation shows that it is a text valuable enough to the study of philosophy in Ethiopia. Speaking of the text, Sumner maintains “the Ethiopic text was translated bä'afä Mikael, "by the mouth of Mikael:" the author orally rendered an Arabic text into current language and an Ethiopian wrote it in Ethiopic on parchment” (Sumner, 1974, 21).

Being mainly available in its Ge’ez form, The Book of the Wise Philosophers employs a unique method of synthesis that mediates foreign philosophical wisdom with indigenous realities. Such method of translation and introduction of foreign works into the Ethiopian soil is not just new to this book but characterizes the analysis and translation of other texts like The Life and Maxims of Skendes in the Ethiopian context as such. The primary significance of such classic works of philosophy like The Book of the Wise Philosophers and The Life and Maxims of Skendes, resides in their moral teachings and ethical standards that they purport to introduce. Particularly The Book of the Wise Philosophers, “presents the quintessence of what various "philosophers" have said on a certain number of topics, the greater number of which are ethical” (Ibid, 24-25).

Another Ge’ez text constituting one of the core foundations of Ethiopian philosophy is the Hatata. Particularly belonging into the written Ethiopian philosophical traditions, ZeraYacob’s Hatata constituted a philosophical biography and methodology that sought a rational analysis for religious disputes through a rational model, having implications for social and political philosophy and serving as a model of religious pluralism. Furthermore, he raises philosophical questions pertaining to metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. The background to ZeraYacob’s philosophy is characterized by the influence of the teachings of the Christian religion. Still, rather than simply inheriting the Christian faith and its teachings, Zera Yacob rationally reflected on the Essence of God, nature of evil, meaning of life and issues in moral, social and political life. Reflecting on the origins of the Hatata Sumner argues, “It is precisely this intimate link with Christianity in general and monasticism in particular that Zera Yacob breaks away with, although his thought remains deeply theistic” (Sumner, 1996, 7).

The form of expression and linguistic ideals employed by Zera Yacob for Sumner are inherited from the language of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Appropriating the analytic tools of traditional church education in Ethiopia, Zera Yacob introduced a rigorous and analytic philosophical method known as the Hatata. As Sumner sees it, “the prose of Zera Yacob reflects the language that is taught in the qene school; it is the jewel, the masterpiece of Ethiopian literature” (Sumner, 2004, 173). While most of the corpus of Ethiopian philosophy belongs to the stock of either oral tradition or foreign wisdom appropriated to the Ethiopian soil, the work of Zera Yacob is unique in being an autobiography that recounts the journey of an individual in a world of religious conflict and the quest for meaning, through a philosophical exercise. Sumner firmly believes that, “Zera Yacob’s philosophy is an absolutely original work, the fruit of his own personal reflection and not a translation or an adaptation from foreign sources, as most Ethiopic literature is” (Ibid, 174).

Being developed in terms of an autobiography, Zera Yacob’s philosophical work the Hatata deals with diverse topics. It starts off by recounting the story of Zera Yacob, his background in religious teaching, his quarrels with members of different religions and subsequently being forced into exile. Once Zera Yacob situates his philosophical origins, he goes on to discuss the nature of knowledge and everyday opinion, the problem of theodicy, examine the doctrines of different religions and investigates the role of prayer and the human heart in the understanding of ultimate reality. Finally, Zera Yacob discusses how he eventually met his master and produced his philosophical treatise being motivated by one of his disciples.

Zera Yacob in the Hatata relates his background to the influence of both indigenous as well as foreign religious teaching. He claims, “I learned the interpretations both of the Frang [Europeans] and of our own scholars” (Sumner, 1976, 4). His philosophy is as such influenced by the introduction of Catholicism in Ethiopia during the reign of Susenyos and the resulting religious disputes and conflicts. In the Hatata Zera Yacob asks, all proclaim to have the truth, but truth is one, so how could one discover the nature of ultimate truth. He assumes, “the Frang say this and this” or “the Copts say that and that”, and I did not say “This is good, that is bad” (Ibid, 5). Such investigation leads him into being charged with heresy and trying to question the power and authority of the king. Fearing persecution Zera Yacob flees, retreats into a cave and begins to contemplate the nature of truth and human nature.

Sumner believes that the awe and admiration given to Zera Yacob’s Hatata was not extended to the work of his disciple Wolde Hiwot. Whereas the position of the Hatata in the world of knowledge production and decolonization efforts in Africa, were beginning to be explored, no attention has been given to another major philosophical contribution found in the work of Walda Heywat. Sumner as such contends, “When at long last, after three centuries of quasi-oblivion, it became aware of the great light that was Zera Yacob the Philosopher, it left in the dark his disciple Walda Heywat” (Sumner, 2004, 172) Comparing the ideas of Wolde Hiwot’s to his master, Sumner believes that although Wolde Hiwot’s philosophy is founded on and heavily draws the ideas of Zera Yacob, it is still different in a number of ways. First of all, Wolde Hiwot employs his own forms of delivery that differ from the autobiographical method introduced by his master. Secondly, “Walda Heywat is remarkable for his pedagogical qualities” (Ibid, 175).

3. Ge’ez as the Language of Traditional Ethiopian Philosophy of Education

Besides serving as a foundation of written and sapiential Ethiopian philosophy, Ge’ez also serves as the medium of traditional Ethiopian philosophy of education. Traditional Ethiopian philosophy of education is founded on church teaching and such teaching is expressed in a Ge’ez language. The majority of texts from the classical and medieval periods in Ethiopian history are produced in Ge’ez and such “works include Christian Orthodox liturgy (service books, prayers, hymns), hagiographies, and a range of Patristic literature” (Ertiban, 2018, 4) Ge’ez besides its role as a conveyor of Ethiopian wisdom and knowledge, also plays a social and cultural function. This arises from the fact that the language provides the set of principles which serve as a moral fabric and a common philosophy of origins for the members of the community. It particularly “plays a decisive role in constructing the social identities of Ethiopian Orthodox youth” (Ibid).

Ethiopian languages are categorized under the languages of Semitic, Cushitic, Omotic and Nilotic families. Here one sees that, “the highest density of languages is to be found in the west and southwest of Ethiopia while the eastern parts of the Horn of Africa are rather “homogenous”” (Záhořík and Wondwosen, 2009, 82). Among Ethiopian languages the one language which exerted a huge impact on the cultural makeup of Ethiopians is the Ge’ez language. As such, “the linguistic history of Ethiopia is strongly connected to Ge’ez, the early Semitic language of the Axumite kingdom, which served as the major language until the 16th century” (Ibid, 84). The development of the Ge’ez language has a close affinity with the introduction of Christianity as a state religion. Here Harold C. Fleming (1968) contends, “when it appeared in the 4th century A. D., Ge'ez contained a fair number of borrowings from Greek” (Fleming, 1968, 356).

According to David Bridges, Amare Asgedom and Setargew Kenaw (2004), there are diverse sources of Ethiopian philosophy of education. These include, traditional societal wisdom that is passed on from one generation into the other, philosophical ideals like the writing of Zera Yacob and Welda heywat which shed some light on the nature of education , the teachings of the Ethiopian orthodox church and finally “non-formal education in villages” (2004, 536). The most important foundation of Ethiopian philosophy of education is church education which constitutes a highly elaborated system of education which imparts the knowledge of reality, existence and human values to students. Furthermore, one also needs to understand traditional societal customs and values and their role in educating the youth. As such, traditional wisdom “is philosophical in the sense that it constitutes part of a world view or set of beliefs that underpin everyday living” (Ibid).

Some of the major values introduced by Ethiopian traditional philosophy of education include, identifying the intrinsic value of the community and sacrificing one’s own interest for the sake of upholding the public good, technical and instrumental education which is meant to implant practical skills in the minds of students, seeing education not as something that is time-bound but of a lifelong learning where the person is going through different levels of socialization and education and finally “an emphasis on an idea of personhood which is not an automatic accompaniment of maturation but something which has to be achieved or, indeed, in which one can fail” (Ibid, 539). In today’s world of globalization, it is true that we cannot avoid our interactions with others. What is needed here is a system of education that emphasizes the cultural values of one’s community while at the same time learning from the advancements of Western instrumental rationality being expressed in the latest in science and technology. As such, “Clearly Ethiopia cannot stand aside from these modernizing influences and no doubt there are political, economic and educational instruments in the tool box of modernity which can serve the country's purpose”(Ibid, 541).

There are several elements of traditional education which are still useful to today’s system of education. These include, passing on the rich historical heritage of the nation from one generation into the other, a literate intellectual traditional and also the fact that prominent Ethiopian writers came from a the traditional system of schooling. Aweke believes that the Ethiopian philosophy of education needs to make a transition from the idealism of church education into a postmodern approach that is interdisciplinary in its nature. Here the postmodern approach, “has an eclectic nature; it depicted that creating and choosing is more important than ordering and following” (Aweke, 2015, 18).

For Paulos Milkias (1976) religion plays a role of social cohesion in that it provides a platform through which a common moral fabric and normative standard could be cultivated in one’s society. Education also has the power to subject existing societal institutions to the force of criticism and societal renewal. Thus, “it helps to associate knowledge with the critique of the oppressive conditions of life and commits it to the transformation of society and the development of human potentialities” (1976, 79). Ethiopian traditional education that was highly dictated by the teachings of the church was made up of five major elements. These include understanding the “Fidel” (Ethiopian writing-system), reading Fidele-Hawaria, memorizing Gebata-Hawaria, Dawit and finally the “last stage in the curriculum of elementary traditional schooling, which was usually accompanied with a church career as a deacon, was a transition period to a higher education to become a debtera, or to a full-time church career as a priest” (Ibid, 80).

Not just in Ethiopia but in Africa at large education is an integral element of the societal order. It is not just imposed from the outside but embedded in the moral, political and everyday life of the society. Hence, “indigenous African learning plays a vital role in the transmission of values that Africans consider to be essential in understanding and experiencing the fullness of life” (Eleni, 1992, 7). The process of learning ultimately begins in the home setting where basic moral values and principles are being inculcated. Here, “it is the responsibility of everyone to care for and teach those younger than themselves” (Ibid, 12). Ethics is a crucial element of the system of education. It is expressed in respecting one’s family, worshiping God and serving one’s community. Some basic moral virtues are “(a) the paramount of the family ; (b) the centrality of spiritual life; and (c) the importance of communality” (Ibid, 15).

Conclusion

Ge’ez is the ancient language which serves as a firm foundation of intellectual discourse. Having an intimate relation with the teachings of Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Ge’ez served as the medium of expression for classic religious texts. Still, the usage of the Ge’ez language is not limited to the church tradition and it also finds expression in secular writings. Such writings span different areas from politics, art, philosophy and literary production. Exploring the foundations of Ethiopian systems of thought in Ge’ez serves several functions. First of all, it serves as a way of cultural affirmation. It is a way of refuting the idea that there is no cultural production in non-Western societies of the world. It also has a positive aspect of demonstrating the existence of a uniquely indigenous intellectual tradition within the Ethiopian context. Secondly, it also constitutes an effort of reconstructing indigenous philosophical systems of thought.

In such a reconstructive process, there are three components of Ethiopian philosophy which are founded on the Ge’ez literary tradition. First of all, it is a foundation of Ethiopian sapiential philosophical literature founded in philosophical texts produced in the outside world and then is creatively appropriated in the Ethiopian soil. Secondly, it is also a foundation written and original Ethiopian philosophy expressed in the works of Zera Yacob and Welda Heywat. Thirdly, it is the mode of expression of an indigenous Ethiopian philosophy of education. Traditional Ethiopian education was grounded in the life of the community and was a medium through which societal wisdom and knowledge is transferred from one generation into the other. Being highly dictated by religious teaching traditional Ethiopian education was a way of prescribing moral values, imparting a common sense of purpose on the members of a community and mastering the environment based on human wants. The introduction of modern education saw the destruction of traditional Ethiopian philosophy of education and subsequently led into a process of Westernization.

In today’s world of globalization, there is a need to learn from the scientific and technological rationality of the Western world. In order to realize what is needed is a system of education which preserves indigenous cultural values while at the same time learning form the achievements of the Western world. There is as such a need to revitalize classical Ethiopian education particularly within the areas of societal progress, cultivation of moral values and serving as an agent of societal cohesion.

References

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Bridges, David. Amare Asgedom and Setargew Kenaw. 2004. From 'Deep Knowledge' to 'The Light of Reason': Sources for Philosophy of Education in Ethiopia, Comparative Education, Philosophy, Education and Comparative Education, Vol. 40, No. 4, Special Issue (29), pp. 531-544

Elleni, Tedla. 1992. Indigenous African Education as a Means for Understanding The Fullness of Life: Amara Traditional Education, Journal of Black Studies, 23(1), pp. 7-26 , Sage Publications, Inc.

Ertiban Demewoz Molla. 2018. An analysis of Ge’ez language heritage potential: traditional church schools and the practices of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Churches, Pharos Journal of Theology ISSN 2414-3324 online Volume 99 - (2018)

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Kozicki, Michał. 2018. Planning of the Amharic language against a background of planning processes in ethnic and of artificial languages, Doctoral dissertation Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland Faculty of Modern Languages Institute of Linguistics

Masolo, D. A., 2003, Philosophy and Indigenous Knowledge: An African Perspective, Africa Today, Vol. 50, No. 2, Oral Heritage and Indigenous Knowledge, pp. 21-38, Indiana University Press.

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