Magazine article International Bulletin of Mission Research

Reincarnation, Oblivion, or Heaven?: An Exploration from a Christian Perspective

Magazine article International Bulletin of Mission Research

Reincarnation, Oblivion, or Heaven?: An Exploration from a Christian Perspective

Article excerpt

Reincarnation, Oblivion, or Heaven?: An Exploration from a Christian Perspective.

By Bobby Bose. Bangalore: SAIACS Press, 2014. Pp. xiii, 320. Rs 250.

In Reincarnation, Oblivion, or Heaven? the author seeks a theology of religions that is both biblically authentic and effective within pluralistic contexts. Bose approaches this challenge using a comparative study of beliefs concerning death and the "state after death" found in Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and secular humanism.

Chapter 1 presents an engaging and informative overview of Hindu and Muslim perspectives on death and what follows death. Bose also discusses the modern secular perspective, but this is less satisfying. He seems unaware of the lively speculation about the afterlife occurring in secular contexts. In chapters 2-3 he discusses Christian theologians, European and South Asian, from the modern period, beginning with Bonhoeffer and continuing with Devanandan, Neill, Kraemer, M. M. Thomas, Hick, and Kung, focusing on their views regarding death and the afterlife in relation to mission, pluralism, relativism, secularism, and Hinduism. Of particular interest is the critical engagement of John Hick's pluralism hypothesis, which Bose rejects.

Chapter 4 offers a nuanced discussion of biblical hermeneutics that follows Osborne and Thiselton in proposing a methodology centered on authorial intent, narrative theology, and the primacy of God's love in the metacritical perspective. Chapters 5-10 contain an enjoyable and interesting study of the ancient world, reconnecting Christians to their surprisingly relevant past. …

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