Original Research

The Coptic origins of the Yoruba

Agai M. Jock
Theologia Viatorum | Vol 45, No 1 | a124 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/tv.v45i1.124 | © 2021 Agai M. Jock | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 May 2021 | Published: 18 October 2021

About the author(s)

Agai M. Jock, School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


The theory according to which the Yoruba ancestors were Coptic Christians seemed unpopular amongst many Yoruba people despite the fact that the theory was proposed by the most revered Yoruba historian, Samuel Johnson. The aims of this research are firstly, to study Johnson’s Coptic theory of the Yoruba origins and secondly, to highlight the circumstances that might have informed him to associate the Yoruba people with the Coptic Church. This research is achieved through a historical study of a possible interaction between certain ethnic groups in Nigeria and the Coptic Church, and through a comparative study of Church liturgies amongst the Copts and those of the Yoruba traditional churches. The researcher explained that Johnson’s Christian background influenced his narrative of connecting the Yoruba origins with the Copts. The researcher is of the opinion that there is no evidence provided by Johnson according to which the Yoruba people originated from the Copts.


Africa; Ancient Near East; Copts; Egypt; Nubia; South-West Nigeria; Yorubaland


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