REVIEW OF “REVMOVING THE VEIL OF IGNORANCE”
By Professor S. Yirenkyi-Boateng
One of the common fields of publication in the philosophical and social world lies in topics that deal with awareness and ignorance. Throughout man’s existence on planet earth, there has been this curiosity, this continuous search for understanding about the nature of what lies out there. This search for information, knowledge, and understanding is what is broadly referred to as epistemology – the theory of knowledge. This area of scholarship is very critical and it is very opportune and appropriate that Rev. Anane Denteh has decided to write his book in this area.
Awareness and ignorance are two opposites. In philosophy and the Human Sciences, theories have been propounded each trying to make statements about the validity and credibility of the facts they present about the reality out there. The reality out there has a nature which is indisputable, but the types of information and knowledge we present about it can be either true or false. When one has a false knowledge or facts about the reality out there, we say that person is ignorant about the truth about that object.
This question about the various definitions of ignorance is brought out clearly in Chapter 1 of Rev. Denteh’s book. Written under the heading Conceptualizing Ignorance, the first chapter of the book sets the tone for a basic understanding about the causes of ignorance. This is then followed by many practical examples illustrating the many outcomes or impacts of ignorance in our lives. This book should therefore appeal to the Christian community in particular and, above all, to the wider public as a direct and to-the-point introduction to the relations between objects (ontology) and our conceptualization of them (epistemology).
Chapters 2 to 18 provide useful examples of the many negative impacts which ignorance about reality can have on our lives. Rev. Denteh brings to our attention the liabilities associated with ignorance in the sociology of the family, the health sector, in public administration, poverty and economic activities, and the broader ecological environment. The example concerning Julius Caesar, Brutus and Cassius is particularly interesting.
Having set out the problems associated with ignorance, Rev. Denteh then turns the reader’s attention to issues on critical theory, emancipatory philosophy and spiritual delivery out of the power of ignorance. These issues emerge clearly in chapters 19, 20 and 21. Here, the reader is informed about the need for us to be self-reflexive and monitor all the time, the dynamics of the relations between the forces of awareness and ignorance in our lives. In these three chapters, we are informed that the forces of awareness do not come to us automatically but are difficult processes and outcomes that need to be constructed consciously all the time. We therefore need to constantly plead and work for knowledge, awareness, wisdom and liberation. This process of emancipation from ignorance is what Rev Denteh refers to as “Removing the Veil of Ignorance.” How do we remove the veil to enable us to see clearly? This is the crux of the question in the book.
For an answer to this vexed question, readers need to refer to the many quotations the author extracts from the Bible. In his broad coverage of the concepts of awareness and ignorance, Rev. Denteh has produced a book that maps out much of what is today an expanding field concerning the relations between God and our knowledge of Him. This is undoubtedly an important book and one that needs to be widely read. In the depth and breadth of its expositions, it is innovative and informative. Reading his book brings us full circle, back to the basics – re-inscribing and re-situating Jesus in our lives.
Professor Solomon Yirenkyi-Boateng
Institute for African Renaissance Studies
University of South Africa (UNISA)
Pretoria. South Africa.