This article argues that contemporary African Christian theology has largely understood time from a modern, linear perspective, which sees history as progress. Interestingly, the perception of history as progress is the straitjacket into which the story of Africa in the modern world has been told, often depicting the continent as needing to catch up with the progressive time of the modern world. This progressive, linear view of time is, however, quite problematic. This article argues that time is palimpsestic, rendering discourses of progress problematic but without nullifying the quest for improved overall well-being. The palimpsestic view of time fits the popular West African outlook that “no condition is permanent” and is demonstrated especially in the work of African women theologians such as Mercy Amba Oduyoye and Musa Dube, whose use of story as method challenges the linear view of time and is thus methodologically instructive for African theology.

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