Intercultural theology: Salvation and transformation at the boundaries

Differences between religious communities and between different cultural expressions of the Christian tradition itself are often characterized by contrasting or complementary understandings of - 1- what counts as true or abundant life, - 2 - what is the greatest threat to the good life and - 3 - what salvation therefore achieves as the process by which people move from death or alienation to the fullness of life.

The project group focuses on transformations that take place at the boundaries between religious communities. These transformations take place at two different levels. On one level we find individuals (and possibly groups) crossing boundaries between religious communities in processes that from a Christian perspective would be called ‘conversion’. At the same time transformations in religious practices and beliefs take place within these religious communities because of the interactions at these boundaries. These two levels of transformation are interrelated and can therefore be studied conjointly.

The research group will use both religious science and theological tools and perspectives, and will ask both descriptive and normative questions: What do such transformations contribute to our understanding of salvation -1- as God’s movement toward humanity and continuing involvement in human history and life, -2- as a turn and movement towards salvation in communities and individuals and - 3- as the ‘wholeness of life’ which this salvation intends to bring about.


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