Original Research

Religious statecraft: Zionism and Constantinianism in Ethiopian religious-martial policy

Rugare Rukuni
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 41, No 1 | a2085 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v41i1.2085 | © 2020 Rugare Rukuni | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 February 2020 | Published: 16 September 2020

About the author(s)

Rugare Rukuni, Department of Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology, Faculty of Theology, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Ethiopia as a theme is replete in the Hadith and Pseudo-Methodius, ironically perspectives from the two sides of the same war. Dually, Ethiopia was an Islamic friend and later a foe. In its response to Islamification, Ethiopia embellished its mythical-legendary heroic status in Eastern Christianity. This implies an existent religious-martial policy, which can be viewed against the reality of the religious-political complex that shaped Ethiopia. This research has been accomplished using document analysis. The parallel study of Ethiopia’s interaction with Islam, Judaic-Zionism and Constantinian dynamics concocts the reality of religious statecraft. Attaching the perceived religious statecraft of Ethiopia to the nation’s overall narrative established the notion of a religious-martial policy. The preceding corroborates a theory of religious statecraft as derived from the narratives of Ethiopian Christian history.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: Whilst the study is mainly a church history review of historical Ethiopia’s war encounters and their religious perspectives, there is an element of late antiquity as per the reference to imperial Constantinian religiously motivated wars. In addition, there is a component of political philosophy as embellished in the discussion on Zionism. By extension, there is an element of Islamic studies consequent to the review of the dynamics within Ethiopia’s region during late antiquity. Dually, a semblance of biblical studies is reflected in a review of the Ethiopic Solomonic Dynasty theology, which is a derivative of the Old Testament, and in a review of pseudo-epigraphical literature.


Christian history; Constantinianism; religious statecraft; Ethiopia; Zionism; Islam.


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