Studies in World Christianity has been a pioneer in the academic field for over a quarter of a century. Undoubtedly, the journal reflects the idiosyncrasies of its various editors and its associated Centre for the Study of World Christianity. But more importantly, it has become a historical record of some of the major concerns in this important field. To make this easier to explore, we have recently produced a digital index of the journal.
One should not judge a book by its cover, or an article by its title. However, a quick look at past titles quickly reveals some of the scholarly concerns which have been raised over the years. Some of these findings are particularly enlightening:
- Regional identity. Historically, the journal has tended to receive more contributions looking at Asia and Africa, than Latin America or Oceania. But how are these articles named? Many of the articles on Asia, for instance, are described with terms such as ‘India’, ‘China/Chinese’, or ‘Korea’, each constituting a few dozen articles. For Africa, whilst national terms are also used, there are nearly 50 articles which speaks more generically in terms of ‘Africa’.
- Confession. It is very common to receive contributions which have focused on Protestantism and Pentecostalism. Whilst articles explicitly engaging Catholicism are rare, readers interested in Orthodoxy will be pleasantly surprised. There were even two special issues of the journal that focused on the Orthodox church (15.3 and 16.3).
- Theology. Whilst the field has generally been dominated by historical studies, it is surprising to see how many theologically-focused special issues have come through the pages of the journal, such as on Christology (1.2), Eschatology (22.3), Ancestors (9.1), and Christian-Muslim relations (3.2).
- Medium. It should come as little surprise that Christianity is a religion of the book, with many articles on the Bible/Scripture; but Christianity is also a faith that is orally communicated, through song/hymn and music (12.2). A surprising number of special issues have also discussed the ways Christianity has been mediated through television (11.1), film (14.2 and 15.2), and through the internet (13.3).
- Along with these broad categories, a number of other themes find prominence in the pages of the journal, such as discussions on gender (13.1 and 21.1), (post)colonialism (5.2), and diaspora/migration.
These are just a few of the themes I found from very quick searches in the index. I am curious to know: What are the themes you find prominent or, regretfully, lacking in the journal?