Studies in World Christianity 29.3

Theological Negotiations in World Christianity

In the last issue, Studies in World Christianity highlighted several papers presented at the 2022 annual conference of the Yale–Edinburgh Group on World Christianity and the History of Mission. The journal took stock of three decades since the group’s first meeting in 1992, which has since been instrumental in ushering into existence the field of ‘World Christianity’. As was noted in that issue’s editorial, this new academic endeavour had at its origins a postcolonial posture which moved away from a Christendom paradigm of expansion and conquest towards a new paradigm of indigenous initiative and Christianity’s polycentric and multicultural manifestations. Hence, World Christianity is not a shorthand for idiosyncratic expressions of Christianity ‘out there’, as is often (mis)understood. Rather, it is the dynamic nature of a worldwide religion that experiences encounter and contestation, continuity and discontinuity, growth and decline.

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Studies in World Christianity 28.3

Heritage and Identity. Exploring the Middle East within World Christianity

Edited by Elizabeth S. Marteijn and Lucy Schouten

It is only fitting that Studies in World Christianity dedicates a special issue to the geographical region that is the cradle of Christianity: the Middle East. This region, spread across North Africa and West Asia, was the site of some of the most significant events in early church history. Jesus Christ was born in a village that is now the bustling Palestinian city of Bethlehem, and the holy Middle Eastern city of Jerusalem was the scene of his death, resurrection, ascension and, shortly thereafter, of the earliest missionary movement, when Jesus’ disciples ventured into the world to spread the Christian message. The apostle Paul received his vision of Jesus Christ on the way to Damascus – what is now the capital of Syria, and his voyages brought him to other places in the contemporary Middle East, mostly in what is now Turkey. The second-century prolific Church Father Tertullian wrote his apologetic and dogmatic literature from the ancient city of Carthage, which is now a neighbourhood in the Tunisian capital city of Tunis, and fourth-century Church Father Athanasius operated from what is now the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria. The birth of another famous fourth-century theologian and philosopher, Augustine of Hippo, happened in the ancient city of Thagaste in what is now modern Algeria. The missionary travels and theological teachings of these Middle Eastern figures, as well as others, were fundamental for the development of Christianity across different times and different places. The foundation of Christianity as a world religion lay, thus, in the Middle East.

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Commemorating Andrew Walls (1928–2021)

This is a recording of our seminar of October 5, 2021, which commemorated the life and legacy of the Centre’s founder, Professor Andrew F. Walls (1928–2021). Panelists included Margaret Acton, Dr Barbara Bompani, Professor James L. Cox, and Professor Jehu J. Hanciles, who reflected on Professor Walls’s many contributions in African Studies, Religious Studies, and, of course, World Christianity and Mission Studies.

If you are unable to access the video above from YouTube, you can also try watching it from the University of Edinburgh’s Media Hopper service.