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Krishna Swamy Dara

DALIT THEOLOGY IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY: DISCORDANT VOICES, DISCERNING PATHWAYS
Edited by Sathianathan Clarke , Deenabandhu Manchala, and Philip Vinod Peacock
Oxford University Press, New Delhi, pp. 320, Rs. 747.00

VOLUME XXXV NUMBER 7 july 2011

Theology as a systematic study of religion is an old enterprise. It originated in the West to study the Bible in a rational and methodical way of interpreting the sacred text(s). Universities were set up solely for this purpose and it was referred to as the queen of sciences. However, Immanuel Kant, with his sceptical argument with regard to the existence of God delivered a death blow to this branch calling itself rational theology. The enlightenment movement and its emphasis on reason managed to delegitimize this kind of discipline in the academic world. Philosophy was supposed to be subservient to theology but became independent and in fact flourished and overtook theology. After this attack, theology as a discipline survived only in religious institutions like seminaries, monas-teries etc. Theology was never solely concerned with the spiritual, as it was simultaneously deeply political. Liberation Theology, a movement which was started by a Peruvian priest named Gustavo Gutierrez brings out the political dimension of theology in 1972. The basic argument of this theology is that man is responsible for himself; he must play and act in a conscious manner in liberating himself from the crutches of oppression under the guidance of God. This movement gave rise to a verity of theological movements with different concerns and philosophical influences. Black theology, Feminist theology, Queer theology; are some of the major examples of theologies that have branched out of liberation theology based on a particular identity. Postmodern theology and postcolonial theology; are examples of those which are influenced by a particular theoretical movement. There are also theologies that have emerged by combining insights from different theoretical movements. The works of Marcella Althaus-Reid, a well-known queer theologian, draw from postcolonialism, postmodernism, post-marxism to challenge the heterosexual bias of liberation theology. She christens her theology indecent theology. She writes, Decent theologies struggle for coherence, the coherence that sexual systems also struggle for.; liberation theology, as a discourse from 1970s in Latin America, understood the economic (even if only partially) esoterism of the Christian dogmatic and imperial traditions of systematic theologians. Imperialisms are by definition criminal activities of expansion, possession and control; theologys permanent search for coherence is only an expression of its hegemonizing objectives, taxonomy.1; It is against this background that one needs to understand the present edited volume on Dalit Theology. Dalit theology can be catagorized under Contextual Theology.; It takes the Indian context as a ...


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