1 Historical review: Some topics are better understood if a brief historical review of the topic is presented to lead into the discussion of the moment. Such topics might include "a biographical sketch of a war hero," "an upcoming execution of a convicted criminal," or "drugs and the younger generation." Obviously there are many, many more topics that could be introduced by reviewing the history of the topic before the writer gets down to the nitty gritty of his paper. It is important that the historical review be brief so that it does not take over the paper.
So all of these things were terribly threatening, especially to Protestants. Why Protestants? Because the whole basis of the Protestant Reformation, to oversimplify grandly, was to see the authority of the Bible as overriding – as superseding – the authority of the historical institutional church. There are some qualifications you’d need to make to that statement, but basically that is a fair assessment. So that tremendous weight is placed on the authority of that text, and if its authority falls into question, then the entire foundation of Protestantism is threatened.
In several places ( Mr. Brown ’s conversations with Akunna, for example), the novel explicitly focuses on the theological and moral similarities between Christianity and Igbo religion. The repetition of the number seven—symbolically important to both religions—is another way of highlighting the similarities between the two cultures. The text seems to draw a parallel between the apparent randomness of the symbolic number often chosen by the Igbo and the determinism of Christianity’s reliance on the number seven in the Bible and in the myth of creation. Indeed, the text explicitly refers to resting on the seventh day; this return to the number seven marks a similarity between the two cultures’ belief systems.