Land-tenure in the Hebrew Bible in relation to the land-tenure system of the Akan (Asante) of Ghana
This study investigates the ideas and conceptions underlying the religious, political and socio-economic principles governing landholding in the Hebrew Bible in relation to the system of land-tenure among the Akan people of Ghana. The Asante as a social unit is used to represent the entire Akan group as a microcosm of the world picture. The primary thrust of the thesis is that the Hebrew Bible reflects some basic conceptions of land which can be compared and contrasted with a contemporary socio-economic system of land administration for implications of land-tenure and use. The Hebrew Bible presents three main types of land ownership: 1) divine ownership of land, a basic theological assertion that land belongs to Yahweh absolutely and that all others, including Israel are God's tenants; 2) communal ownership of land based on the segmentary patrilineage system whereby the tribes and families hold land in trust for members of the community; 3) private ownership of land, an innovation developed as a result of social change. The Asante traditional belief also accepts the principle of divine ownership of land, but while it attributes creation to God, it also affirms that land basically belongs to the ancestors who pass it on to the present and future generations of the society. The other two types of land-tenure, communal and private, are represented in the Asante social system, though with some differences. Stool, lineage and family heads hold land in trust, but on fiduciary basis in the sense of holding both a proprietary and beneficiary interest in the land of which they are custodians. But the corporate matrilineage group is the basic socio-economic factor as far as traditional landholding in Asante is concerned.