Re-considering the history and teaching of Qob'at School of thought Addis Ababa Ethiopia based on Ma~o~afa Zokre wa-pawli

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Various kinds of religious controversy were an important feature of Ethiopian hi story in general and Ethiopian church history in particular. There were doctrinal conflicts on the mystery of the Trinity, on the mystery of the In carnat ion; as well as conflicts on the observance of the Jewi sh Sabbath , on the veneration of the Virgin Mary, on the date of the second coming of Je sus Christ etc. Despite efforts to eliminate differences, most religious conflicts existed for a long period of time. Relatively speaking the controversy on the incarnation of Clu-ist remained for longer period - for more than five centuries- than others. In this regard the central conflict revolved around the question, "how the human body became God?" Was it through the unction of the Holy Spirit or through the union with the Word of God? The Qab'at school of thought favored the formula that the human body became the natural Son of God through the unction of the Holy Spirit at the moment when the Virgin Mary accepted the Archangel Gabriel's annunciation. The Qab'at school of thought was influential for certain periods for the reason that it embraced well respected scholars and was able to create a link with the royal court. It had influential personalities like Abba Sd r~d Dangal, Abba Zakre, Abba pawli, and [Abba] Sdlik. The school was influential even at the level of state reli gion during the reigns of ASe Fasil (r. 1632-166 7), Ase T iiklti Haymanot (r. 1706-1708), ASe Tewoflos (r. 1708-1711), Ase Dawit (r. 1716-1 72 1), ASe Iyasu II (r. 1730- 1755 ), and Ase Iyoas I (r.1755-1769). The time of the Zdmdnd Mdsafant, lit. 'The era of princes,' was also beneficial for the school. It began to deteriorate after 1855 , at the time of the counci l of Amba cara during the reign of ASe Tewodros; and it was almost abolished in 1878 at the time of the council of Soru Meda during the reign of ASe Yohannes IV. Since then, the school is in a vu lnerable position. Even though any kind of controversy is undes irab le , the controversy on the incarnation of Christ motivated Ethiopian theo logians to produce religious documents that support their position . However, except for some instances, we know the history and teaching of the Qab'at School of theology mainly from the sources of the opposing school of thought. Thus a clear picture of the school is lacking. This paper seeks to fill this gap, based on Mdsal}afd Zakre wd-pawli, 'the book of Zakre and jJawli,' which is a hi storical as well as theological document of the Qab'at School.



Ethiopian church history in particular