Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

World Christianity: Perspectives and Insights, Essays in Honor of Peter C. Phan

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

World Christianity: Perspectives and Insights, Essays in Honor of Peter C. Phan

Article excerpt

World Christianity: Perspectives and Insights, Essays in Honor of Peter C. Phan. Edited by Jonathan Y. Tan and Anh Q. Tran, S.J. (Maryknoll: Orbis, 2016, Pp. XV, 400. $48.00, paper); A Short World History of Christianity, Revised Edition. By Robert Bruce Mullin. (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2014, Pp. xiv, 349. $15.95, paper); Understanding World Christianity: India. By Dyron B. Daughrity and Jesudas M. Athyal. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2016, Pp. xxvi, 331. $19.00, paper) ; Handbook of Global Contemporary Christianity: Themes and Developments in Culture, Politics, and Society. Edited by Stephen J. Hunt. Brill Handbooks on Contemporary Religion, vol. 10. (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2015, Pp xii, 437. $198.00.)

Due to the global debate over sexuality, authority, and orders in the Anglican Communion, many members of Anglican and Episcopal Churches are aware of the particular ways in which a global Christianity has impacted the Anglican Communion as a world confessional fellowship, but may be less aware of the ways in which the Communion itself is embedded in this global history and social realities, how this new reality has been historically and theologically constructed, and the ways in which denominational and post-denominational identity play out beyond the North Atlantic milieu. Even at the level of graduate and professional scholarship and teaching, the academic tracks and disciplines that produce expertise in Anglican studies may not always lead to expertise in situating Anglicanism in this transnational, diverse reality. Thus, the recent spate of books aimed at undergraduates, graduates, and academics on global Christianity are a boon to the field. Each of the books reviewed here fills a different niche in developing overarching narratives of Christian history, theology, and practice that place Anglicanism in its world context.

In a contested and newly-developing academic field that is currently organizing itself around awareness of postcoloniality and inequalities of globalization, it is not surprising that even basic terminology carries weight. The books examined here each preferentially use terms such as "global Christianity," "glocal Christianity," or "world Christianity." In this context, the terms "global" and "world" are not necessarily interchangeable. Lamin Sanneh, a leading scholar in the field, argues that "global Christianity" refers to the exportation and maintenance of Christian cultural forms from Europe via the mechanisms of economic globalization and colonization. "World Christianity," an older term arising originally in the ecumenical and missions context (and used in such organizational names as the World Council of Churches), reflects instead diversity, hybridity, and indigenous agency and creativity as the Christian message is translated (or enculturated) in a particular cultural context.

Jonathan Y. Tan and Anh Q. Tranh's World Christianity, a Festschrift to Catholic theologian Peter C. Phan, approaches the ways in which the reality of "world Christianity" impacts Christian life across a variety of disciplines. Phan himself gave a seminal talk published in 2012 on the implications of world Christianity for history, theology and theological education that inspired the range of articles seen here, divided into sections on history and historiography, theology, "pastoral and practical" issues, and reflections on Phan's scholarly and personal contributions to world Christianity. While not all the authors are themselves Roman Catholic, several articles (especially in the second section of the book, which focuses on theology) have a strong Roman Catholic focus. The theological articles are particularly diverse in their sub-disciplinary approaches, covering hermeneutics, missiology, contextual theology, trinitarian theology, Christology, ecclesiology, and liturgies. Two articles address migration and global Christian identities, while others examine multiple religious belonging, indigenous Christianity, and ecumenicism. …

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