Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

The Asian Jesus

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

The Asian Jesus

Article excerpt

The Asian Jesus. By Michael Amaladoss, S.J. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2006. xi + 180 pp. $22.00 (paper).

Always the mission of the gospel requires connecting the good news of Christ to the culture in which it is being proclaimed. Nowhere does this seem more important than in Christology and soteriology, where the person and work of Christ must be made comprehensible to those who are encountering Christ for the first time. In the New Testament, culturally and religiously familiar terms such as Son of Man, Messiah, Lord, Lamb of God, teacher, and so on are used to point to aspects of Jesus' life and his relationship to God. The meaning of those titles is forever thereafter modified by their association with Jesus and Christianity. More problematic in this age of pluralism is the extent to which attribution of titles-scriptural or not-modifies how Christ is understood, and the criteria by which to make such an assessment.

In The Asian Jesus, these issues are constantly present. Michael Amaladoss, the director of the Institute for Dialogue with Cultures and Religions in Chennai (formerly Madras), India, has been deeply involved in inter-religious conversation as well as Christian mission for many years. His goal in The Asian Jesus is to use images culturally familiar in South Asia to facilitate understanding and acceptance of Christ in that particular context. In his introduction, he argues that "Dogmatic affirmations are true. But they do not express the fullness of truth" (p. 5). Images and symbols in particular are also needed.

But how do Christians legitimately use symbols associated with other religions, and what are the limits on that use? More pointedly, at what points does inculturatioii cross the line into heresy? The 1997 investigation and disciplining of Sri Lankan theologian Tissa Balasuriya brought these questions into sharp relief in South Asian Roman Catholicism, but without providing any useable guidelines. So Amaladoss casts his book as a matter of "exercising my right as an Indian and an Asian to speak of Jesus in my own language and culture and their symbols and images" (p. 7). He wishes neither to challenge dogma and doctrine, nor to engage in a project in comparative religion. Rather, he is offering interpretive reflections, a "contemplation of Asian images of Jesus" (p. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.