Mother Tongue Theologies: Poets, Novelists, Non-Western Christianity

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Mother Tongue Theologies: Poets, Novelists, Non-Western Christianity. Edited by Darren J. N. Middleton. Eugene, Ore.: Wipf & Stock, Pickwick Publications, 2009. Pp. xvi, 235. Paperback $28.

Mother Tongue Theologies is a collection, in five parts, of fourteen literary interpretations of writings of mostly poets and novelists, covering Orthodox Russia, Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Asia and the Pacific Islands, and Native America. The focal point in each part is the engagement of Christianity with local cultures, as interpreted by the authors. While addressing the important emerging issues and challenges of Christianity through literature, the essays are meant to reflect global differences in the ways Christianity has been received worldwide.

This volume's essays show how cultural contexts, through their intrinsic elements, provide the vehicle for the translation of Christianity across cultures. Conversely, translation allows Christianity to infuse the mother tongues of its adherents with theological content. Just as the faith is able to break out of its Euro-Western mold to "embrace the recipient culture without losing its original gospel message" (p. 172), it also invariably subsumes literary creation in non-Western contexts. The writers' experiences of appropriating this process of "Christianity's cross-cultural transaction" (p. …