Contextualizing Theology in the South Pacific

Contextualizing Theology in the South Pacific : The Shape of Theology in Oral Cultures

By (author)  , Foreword by  , Preface by 

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This book engages with a widespread contemporary dilemma--how do we do theology in a context where the cultures of the people are oral and not literate? The nations of the South Pacific, from their missionary beginnings, inherited an approach to theology that was dominated by Western cultural categories. The global movement of contextualization began to impact upon Pacific churches in the 1960s, and challenged this inherited approach. Significant changes have resulted, but the dilemma has remained. The dominant approach is still one that is defined by and better suited to literate cultures. The consequence is that theology remains an alien enterprise, distant from the life of the local churches, and distant from the hearts and minds of the indigenous people. In facing the dilemma, this book exposes the fundamental differences between primary oral cultures and primary literate cultures, and identifies the key factors that lie at the heart of the theological problem. By addressing each of these in turn, the author then paves the way ahead. He offers a methodology for theology that is rooted within the oral cultural context of the South Pacific . . . and potentially in any context where oral cultures are the norm. The consequences for theology and for theological education are profound. ""Contextualizing Theology in the South Pacific is an in-depth description of how the church of Vanuatu developed its own definition, content, and methodology of theology. The story is told through the eyes, mind, and heart of Randall Prior, who witnessed and accompanied this process over many years. This coming-to-age account of Pacific Island contextual theology is certainly a valuable resource for theologians and church personnel in Oceania, and also a very good conversation partner for doing comparative contextual theology studies around the world."" --Roger Schroeder, Professor of Mission and Culture, Catholic Theological Union at Chicago, former missionary in Papua New Guinea ""The author has an excellent knowledge of contextualization of theology in general, its beginning, and development including the South Pacific with particular reference to Vanuatu. . . . The investigation made. . . is a new development of scholarship in the process of contextualization of theology in the South Pacific. This new development is handled with critical reflection and is useful for future work on doing contextual theology in this part of the world."" --Ilaitia Sevati Tuwere, Retired Methodist Pastor & Theological Lecturer in Fiji, the Pacific & Aotearoa-New Zealand Randall Prior is an Associate Teacher at Pilgrim Theological College within the University of Divinity in Melbourne. During five years of ministry in a newly independent Vanuatu in the 1980s, he became immersed in the issues of the relationship between the Gospel and cultural context. He has pursued that passion for over thirty years. He is the publisher of ten books in the Gospel and Culture in Vanuatu series.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 282 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 15mm | 381g
  • English
  • 1532658575
  • 9781532658570
  • 481,081