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Enlivening the Past


An Asian Theologian’s Engagement with the Early Teachers of Faith


This collection of essays offers an innovative exploration by an Asian theologian on various issues and themes that engaged the early teachers of faith. It gives special focus to the ongoing relevance of these issues for Christian theological discourse and praxis today.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-60724-103-4
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Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Aug 7,2009
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 191
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-60724-103-4
$131.00

Combing his situatedness in the realities of the Asian context with resourceful reimagining of the world of the early teachers of faith, the author innovatively explores the ongoing relevance of issues and themes in the world of the early church in a vastly different but strangely similar contextual environment. These essays reinforce the importance of continuing to rediscover the world of the early church in seeking to invigorate contemporary theological reflection and praxis.

Persecution of the minority and the question of identity; the varied understandings of religious texts; the complex attitudes to women, especially those on the margins; the need and necessity of almsgiving, the persistence of poverty, and the actuality of prosperity; the gnawing nature of envy; the possibility and results of forgiveness; the wounded and furrowed body are the complex themes that mark the reality of our everyday existence today. Yet these were also themes that were interrogated by the early teachers of faith, especially in the time after the New Testament. The church then as now is faced with confrontation and clashes, with challenges and controversies, with competition and conflict, and it is not just the uncertain future that is at stake, but also the unstable past. Creatively navigating the world of the early teachers of faith and the challenges facing Christianity in Asia today, the author reaches back and constructively re-reads the challenges that the early church faced in order to move forward in addressing the topics that theological discourse must deal with today.

Combing his situatedness in the realities of the Asian context with resourceful reimagining of the world of the early teachers of faith, the author innovatively explores the ongoing relevance of issues and themes in the world of the early church in a vastly different but strangely similar contextual environment. These essays reinforce the importance of continuing to rediscover the world of the early church in seeking to invigorate contemporary theological reflection and praxis.

Persecution of the minority and the question of identity; the varied understandings of religious texts; the complex attitudes to women, especially those on the margins; the need and necessity of almsgiving, the persistence of poverty, and the actuality of prosperity; the gnawing nature of envy; the possibility and results of forgiveness; the wounded and furrowed body are the complex themes that mark the reality of our everyday existence today. Yet these were also themes that were interrogated by the early teachers of faith, especially in the time after the New Testament. The church then as now is faced with confrontation and clashes, with challenges and controversies, with competition and conflict, and it is not just the uncertain future that is at stake, but also the unstable past. Creatively navigating the world of the early teachers of faith and the challenges facing Christianity in Asia today, the author reaches back and constructively re-reads the challenges that the early church faced in order to move forward in addressing the topics that theological discourse must deal with today.

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Contributor Biography

J. Jayakiran Sebastian

J. Jayakiran Sebastian is H. George Anderson Professor of Mission and Cultures at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. He is an ordained Presbyter of the Church of South India and has served as Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Theology and Ethics at the United Theological College, Bangalore, India.

  • Dedication Page (page 5)
  • Table of Contents (page 7)
  • Preface (page 9)
  • 1 Why Should Asian Theologians Read Texts of the Early Teachers of Faith? (page 11)
  • 2 Permeating all things with Divinity„Understandings of Jesus in the Second Century (page 31)
  • 3 Martyrs and Heretics„Women in Early Christian Traditions (page 51)
  • 4 Poverty and Prosperity„Learning from the Early Church (page 71)
  • 5 The Wounded Body in Early Christian Thought„Implications for the Care of HIV/AIDS Survivors (page 83)
  • 6 The Joy of Almsgiving„Reading Cyprian Today (page 93)
  • 7 Listening to the Speaking Bible„Interpreting the Use of the Bible in a Letter of Cyprian (page 109)
  • 8 Interrogating Forgiveness„What the Early Church Can Teach Us (page 121)
  • 9 Facing Envy„On Being Accompanied by the Past in Hoping to Move Forward (page 135)
  • 10 Enduring to the End„Persecution, Martyrdom and Identity (page 151)
  • 11 Continually Reaching Back in Order to Move Forward (page 177)
  • Acknowledgements (page 187)
  • Index (page 189)
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