The Stavanger Initiative on Method, Bible, and Africa

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SIMBA aims to contribute to critical analysis of the encounter between the Bible and Africa.

The nineteenth and twentieth centuries made the Bible an African book, as the ancient texts were—and continue to be—translated into hundreds of languages and cultures throughout the continent. As a result, grass-root readers find that the texts reflect their own experiences of life, and scholars investigate the texts in the light of African religio- and sociocultural traditions. This is the field and context of SIMBA. SIMBA is located in Stavanger—a city on the western coast of Norway—which for more than 170 years has hosted an institution that has focused on Africa and African Christianity, in recent years also on African theology and biblical interpretation: School of Mission and Theology, now part of VID Specialized University.


In dialogue with African and western researchers and research institutions, SIMBA focuses on present and past facets of the encounter between the Bible and Africa. Three areas are identified as being of particular importance:


To participate in the documentation of African biblical interpretation, by bibliographical research and publishing.


To participate in the analysis of the various interpretation strategies vis-à-vis the Bible in Africa, by critical research and publishing.

Networking and facilitation

To participate in the building of professional and institutional networks and a sharing of information and resources related to biblical interpretation in Africa.

SIMBA is edited by Knut Holter, professor of Old Testament at the Centre for Mission and Global Studies & Faculty of Theology, Diaconia and Leadership Studies, VID Specialized University, Stavanger, Norway. Holter has for more than 20 years been engaged in research and networking in relation to biblical studies in Africa, and the SIMBA website is used as an umbrella for information about the projects he and his colleagues and students are—and have been—engaged in.

See Prof. Holter's publications