A Comparative Study of Biblical Shalom and Yoruba Concept of Àlàáfíà and their Implication for Wellbeing in Contemporary Life
Keywords:wellbeing, development, shalom, àlàáfíà, Yoruba culture, sin, morality
This is a comparative study of the biblical concept of shalom and the Yoruba concept of àlàáfíà, learning from both Jewish and Yoruba cultures in order to draw particular principles for human wellbeing. The overarching question that guided the study is: What are the biblically grounded principles and practices of the Yoruba concept of wellbeing which can be applied in the search for development in contemporary times? The Yoruba concept of wellbeing in this study is gleaned from their proverbs and cultural practices, which are gathered from library resources. In their understanding of wellbeing, Yoruba people share a similar understanding with the Jewish concept of shalom. For Yoruba people, wellbeing is all about cosmic and social order which is encapsulated in the Yoruba word àlàáfíà. Likewise, in the Jewish context, the pursuit of wellbeing is about shalom. The Yoruba àlàáfíà and Jewish shalom both mean peace. In the two cultural contexts, wellbeing cannot be achieved without the deliberate pursuit of peace, which is precipitated on both vertical and horizontal levels of cordial relationships. The implications of the concepts of shalom and àlàáfíà for the search of development in the contemporary time are that: (1) Wellbeing is not measured by how much human beings possess, and therefore the pursuit of development should not be based on increasing material possessions; (2) Physical prosperity is enhanced and sustained by strong moral and ethical values; therefore, the pursuit of development in contemporary times should aim at placing importance on right living; (3) Sin, being the fundamental cause of lack of wellbeing, is better dealt with from the spiritual point of view rather than the philosophical point of view.
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Copyright (c) 2020 Wole Adegbile
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