Tuesday 29 November 2011

Soma (2011)

My friend Eddie Arthur, who blogs at Kouya Chronicle, recently drew my attention to this new open access theology journal.

According to the website:

Soma is an international, peer-reviewed, open-access theology journal published online in the heart of Africa. The title, Soma, is a hybridized word. In Greek it is a noun. It means “body”. In Swahili it is a verb. It means “to read” or “to study”. This journal seeks to develop a body of theological knowledge, practice, and reflection across languages, cultures, disciplines and economic backgrounds. In these interstitial spaces and moments theological discourses and theological counter-discourses will emerge. Consequently, while the journal is interested in modern theology generally, it will give priority to theologizing that is consciously done on the boundaries or margins of well-established theological discourses and theologizing that is done on the boundaries or margins of society.’

In the Editorial, Robert S. Heaney of St. John’s University of Tanzania, Dodoma, writes:

‘The launch issue addresses “Theology and Globalization”, with contributors seeking ‘to unveil and question the imperialist nature of theologizing in ancient and modern times’, and ‘to propose theological responses to globalization and... interrogate already existing responses to empire and globalization’.

In addition to an editorial on kingdom and empire by Rowan Williams, the main articles are as follows:

Joerg Rieger

Between Accommodation and Resistance: Theology in a Globalizing World

Peter Hatton

‘Age After Age...’ The Old Testament and Empire

In a way that, to some extent, parallels the modern ‘neo-liberal world order’, the rulers of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, prompted by the belief that the gods had made them ‘true shepherds’ of the peoples known to them, enforced their hegemony over the ancient Near East, exercising brutal military power but managing diversity and displaying a certain tolerance of local cultural and religious autonomies. Their policies were both novel and durable. They were adopted by the Babylonian, Persian and Seleucid Empires that followed Assyria and so form the context within which the Old Testament Scriptures were composed. These Scriptures do not seek to answer the imperial monologue with another but, secure within a distinctive religious, linguistic and cultural tradition, consider the claims and performance of Empire in a dialogic fashion.

Susan Abraham

What Does Mumbai Have to do with Rome? Postcolonial Perspectives on Globalization and Theology

Does postcolonial theory that cogently presents postcolonial perspectives on globalization have relevance for theology? The article argues that postcolonial theory’s emphasis on eschewing identity-based strategies for liberation is an urgent necessity in a globalized and militarized world. Postcolonial theorists seek justice and care for the poorest women and children of the Global South, arguing that these concerns should be part of theological and religious agenda.

Jonathan S. Barnes

Christian Ecumenical Partnership from Edinburgh 2010 to the Present: The Home Base, Education, and the Persistence of a Global Church Perspective

The idea of partnership between churches of the West and those of other parts of the world was, at least in its nascent stage, part of ecumenical discussions at the World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh (1910). However, a review of the Edinburgh Conference’s Commission VI report on the home base reveals that the concept of Christendom was the dominant worldview of those present, overriding other contesting views. Further, when tracing the history of ecumenical relationships from Edinburgh 1910 to the present, it is evident that the Christendom worldview continues to persist among the constituents of the Western churches, with negative effects on partnership efforts. In reviewing this history, Lamin Sanneh’s typology of churches as either Global (the churches of the North or Western World, also formerly known as ‘sending’ or ‘older’ churches) or World (the churches of the South and East, formerly known as ‘receiving’ or ‘younger’ churches) will provide the critical lens through which this history is understood, for if the goal of ecumenical partnerships is to be realized, the members of the home base must stop seeing mission as expansion and lose the desire to remake others in their image; in short, they must become, in their worldview and ethos, World Christians.

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