UJAH: Unizik Journal of Arts and Humanities

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The Decalogue and Igbo Traditional Ethics: Essential Values for Community Building

Ikenna L. Umeanolue, Emmanuel C. Anizoba


The paper analyzes the Decalogue or Ten Commandments (Ex 20:1-17) and Igbo traditional ethics as assets for community building. The giving of the Decalogue was an effort at building the Jewish community. Likewise Igbo traditional ethics provides moral values for Igbo community building. The Decalogue and Igbo traditional ethics have essential values for community building which include sense of the sacred, unity and fidelity. Both the Decalogue and Igbo traditional morality provide a sense of direction for the Jews and the Igbo respectively. They can be summarized as the love of God and the love of neighbour. When the Jewish people are compared with the Igbo people, one discovers that the Igbo have ground norms called omenala which stipulate moral codes guiding the lives of the people. Like the Jews, Igbo people have a sense of the covenant which they call igba-ndu and a sense of the sacred which they term nso-ala. With these the Igbo people build a sense of community. Thus the paper shows that the Ten Commandments and Igbo traditional ethics can be used as bases to tackle the challenges of Igbo community building. It is the conclusion of this paper that much community building can be achieved if the Igbo, who are predominantly Christians, can internalize the provisions and values of the Decalogue and Igbo traditional ethics.

AJOL African Journals Online