Intercultural Theology, Volume One
Christianity is not only a global but also an intercultural phenomenon. The diversity of world Christianity is evident not merely outside our borders but even within our own neighborhoods.
Over the past half century theologians and missiologists have addressed this reality by developing local and contextual theologies and by exploring issues like contextualization, inculturation, and translation. In recent years these various trajectories have coalesced into a new field called intercultural theology. Bringing together missiology, religious studies, social science research, and Christian theology, the field of intercultural theology is a fresh attempt to rethink the discipline of theology in light of the diversity and pluriformity of Christianity today.
Henning Wrogemann, one of the leading missiologists and scholars of religion in Europe, has written the most comprehensive textbook on the subject of Christianity and culture today. In three volumes his Intercultural Theology provides an exhaustive account of the history, theory, and practice of Christian mission. Volume one introduces the concepts of culture and context, volume two surveys theologies of mission both past and present, and volume three explores theologies of religion and interreligious relationships.
In this first volume on intercultural hermeneutics, Wrogemann introduces the term "intercultural theology" and investigates what it means to understand another cultural context. In addition to surveying different hermeneutical theories and concepts of culture, he assesses how intercultural understanding has taken place throughout the history of Christian mission. Wrogemann also provides an extensive discussion of contextual theologies with a special focus on African theologies.
Intercultural Theology is an indispensable resource for all people—especially students, pastors, and scholars—that explores the defining issues of Christian identity and practice in the context of an increasingly intercultural and interreligious world.
"This is a book of dazzling breadth and truly remarkable depth of scholarship. It offers a foundational approach that, if taken seriously, will influence mission studies in profound and significant ways."
"Henning Wrogemann's Intercultural Hermeneutics, the first in a groundbreaking three-volume introduction to mission studies, is a remarkable study of a key advance in the study of world Christianity. Refusing to avoid the difficult questions of culture, syncretism, inculturation, and identity, Wrogemann presents the reader with a kaleidoscope of expressions and themes found within the world Christian communion and with positive methodological steps by which this diversity might be understood in its difference. The more theoretical considerations, focused on semiotics, discourse, and cultural theory, are amply illustrated with living examples of intercultural encounter. A range of voices and church bodies all contributes to a vision remarkable in scope, which directs our attention to the gospel in its movement across every boundary. This three-volume series will prove to be a landmark in the study of mission."
"This comprehensive study of the emerging field of intercultural theology charts a pathway for discussing both normative and descriptive issues arising from cultural difference. Wrogemann carefully builds a theoretical structure using Western philosophical hermeneutics, theologies, and anthropologies. He then shows how that framework can facilitate conversation among theologians and mission partners on seemingly incommensurable issues such as demon possession, healing, syncretism, and gender theologies. A rich dialogue with African theologians on critical topics such as inculturation, Christology, and contextuality establishes the veracity of this approach, allowing for a diversity of expressions of Christianity from around the world. This well-crafted work promises to become definitive for global discourse in intercultural and mission studies."
"For some time now an important conversation on mission studies and intercultural theology has been developing in Germany that is largely unknown in the English-speaking world. In this extensive study (the first of three volumes) Henning Wrogemann has provided a valuable introduction to these conversations. His proposal of intercultural hermeneutics as a comprehensive method that accounts for culture as a complex field of action where actors appropriate the gospel in multiple contexts, along with the case studies he provides, offers fruitful suggestions of ways mission theology in the West can move beyond the impasse of current discussions of contextualization."
"Intercultural Theology, Volume 1: Intercultural Hermeneutics is filled with insight, erudition, and analytical wisdom. In this fine book, Henning Wrogemann lays a firm foundation for two more volumes that together with this one introduce the field of intercultural theology/mission studies. The comprehensiveness of the vision on offer is impressive, as Wrogemann ranges widely across theological disciplines, cultural studies, postcolonial scholarship, and discourse theory. Many examples drawn from the experience of the church in Africa in particular enhance the accessibility of what remains throughout a substantive study of world Christianity and ecumenical theology."
"Wrogemann has presented a rich work to the church and the academy on intercultural theology. Professors and graduate students (both German- and English-speakers) in missiology, biblical studies, and theology will most benefit from this study. Because of the many case studies and concrete historical examples, missionary theologians will also have a useful resource as they help facilitate the cultivation of local theologies."
Preface to the English Edition (2016)
Preface to the German Edition (2011)
Part I: Intercultural Theology: What Does This Mean?
1. The Gospel of Life in the Midst of Cultures: An African Case Study
2. Intercultural Theology: A Primer
Part II: Intercultural Hermeneutics and the Concept of Culture
3. Intercultural Hermeneutics: Introduction
4. The History of Hermeneutics in the West and Interculturality: An Overview
5. Globalization and Interculturality: Is "Foreignness" Dying Out?
6. Is Inculturation Permissible? Concerning Symbolic Forms and Their Use
7. On Scientific Discourses and Power: What Is Culture?
8. Cultural Semiotics, Discourse Theory and Intercultural Hermeneutics
Part III: On the Plurality of Contextual Theologies: The Example of Africa
9. Contextual Theologies Worldwide: Some Preliminary Remarks
10. The Development of Contextual Theologies in Africa: An Overview
11. African Theologies: Jesus Christ as (Proto-)Ancestor, Master of Initiation, and Healer
12. Jesus Christ and an African Women's Theology
13. The Contextual Theologies of African Evangelical Theologians
14. African Theologians and the Reality of the Congregation
15. On the Contextuality of Contextual Theologies: An Interim Appraisal
Part IV: Christian Missions and Foreign Cultures: Historical Perspectives
16. The Replacement Model and Covert Resistance in the New World
17. The Indifference Model: The Example of the Herrnhuter Mission
18. The Ennoblement Model
19. The Indigenization Model: The Example of Bruno Gutmann
20. The Appropriation Model: The Example of "Intuitive" Inculturations
Part V: Theology and Interculturality: Systematic Perspectives
22. Syncretism: What Is That?
23. The "Postcolonial Turn"—and Then What?: On the Newer Terminology
24. So Much for Ecumenism!: Appreciating Christianity as a Global Formation
25. Contexts: Contextual Theologies and Their Cultural Impregnation
26. Theology and Interculturality: Walking the Path Together