Looking Eastward: The Middle East in the Field of World Christianity

Elizabeth Marteijn is a PhD student at the Centre for the Study of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh. Her research brings together the methods of theology and ethnography in the study of Palestinian Christianity. Her post here continues our series discussing the conference titled ‘Currents, Perspectives, and Methodologies in World Christianity’ at Princeton Theological Seminary held 18–20 January 2018. Our series began with an essay by Jason Bruner on 30 January and continued with a post from Elizabeth on 13 February.

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

In the field of World Christianity, scholars regularly speak about the ‘global South’ and the ‘global North’. But what about the East? By asking this question, I would like to elaborate on the recent post by Jason Bruner, where he excellently reflected on the thought-provoking World Christianity conference held at Princeton Theological Seminary from 18–20 January. Bruner rightfully highlighted remarks being made about territoriality in the field, that areas like the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and denominations like Orthodoxy and Eastern Christianity have a marginal position. Continue reading

Studies in Latin American Social Christianity: Questioning Historiographical Islands

by David C. Kirkpatrick

Historiography on Latin American Christianity in the 1970s and 1980s was essentially a monologue on liberation theology. In the last two decades, studies on Pentecostalism have exploded, joining liberation theology on stage. Gustavo Gutiérrez These two strands of historiography have been largely understood in terms of a binary, Catholic-Protestant divide: liberation theology as rooted in the former, and Pentecostalism as a Protestant alternative. Professor Brian Stanley gave a paper this week in the History of Christianity seminar that challenged many widely held assumptions regarding liberation theology. I will use this seminar as a springboard for discussing new currents in the study of Latin American social theology and a solution to the historiographical islands that often give rise to partial or inaccurate narratives. Continue reading