Dalit Theology and Dalit Liberation

Problems, Paradigms and Possibilities

Dalit Theology and Dalit Liberation LOOK INSIDE
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  • Peniel Rajkumar, The United Theological College, India
  • Series: Ashgate New Critical Thinking in Religion, Theology and Biblical Studies
  • In fulfilling the long-awaited need for a constructive and critical rethinking of Dalit theology this book offers and explores the synoptic healing stories as a relevant biblical paradigm for Dalit theology in order to help redress the lacuna between Dalit theology and the social practice of the Indian Church. Peniel Rajkumar's starting point is that the growing influence of Dalit theology in academic circles is incompatible with the praxis of the Indian Church which continues to be passive in its attitude towards the oppression of the Dalits both within and outside the Church. The theological reasons for this lacuna between Dalit theology and the Church's praxis, Rajkumar suggests, lie in the content of Dalit theology, especially the biblical paradigms explored, which do not offer adequate scope for engagement in praxis.

  • Contents: Preface; Introduction: Answering some questions – the why, what and how of Dalit theology; Questioning some answers – critical analysis of Dalit theology; The way forward; A Christian ethical framework of action. Reading for Liberation: Revisiting Dalit Christology; Rethinking agency, re-signifying resistance; Re-configuring Dalit praxis – re-imagining the other; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.
  • About the Author: Peniel Rajkumar, an Anglican Priest, is a lecturer in Christian Social Ethics at The United Theological College, Bangalore, India. Prior to coming to India he served as an Assistant Curate at St.John the Evangelist Church, Upper Holloway in the Diocese of London and was involved in part-time lecturing at the University of Kent at Canterbury.
  • Reviews: This is a wonderfully fresh, creative and intelligent contribution to Dalit Theology. There is wisdom on every page.
    Robin Gill, University of Kent, Canterbury

    Dr Peniel is an excellent guide through the complexities of the caste system and its enduring potency in the India of today. The central concern of Dalit theology is with the Dalit people, who used to be called Untouchables, and who are still a vast number of poor, despised and underprivileged people. This is an important, relevant, and disturbing book. It should be widely read, and responded to.
    Duncan B. Forrester, Edinburgh, UK

    Peniel Rufus’ incisive dismantling and insightful reconstruction of Dalit theology is a fresh and compelling contribution both to local and global theologies. Drawing creative synergy from his discontentment with Dalit Theology’s apathy toward everyday liberative praxis, Rufus brilliantly re-interprets the synoptic healing stories to engender committed and concrete emancipatory patterns for overcoming caste-based discrimination in India. This is a passionate, original, constructive and courageous book. No one interested in Indian theology can afford to bypass this remarkable book.
    Sathianathan Clarke, Wesley Theological Seminary, USA

    In many ways this is the book on Dalit theology that those of us working in the area of liberation hermeneutics have been waiting for. Liberation theology and liberation hermeneutics do not occupy the scholarly or activist space they used to, and so it is even more important at this moment in world history that those of us working in the area intensify efforts and collaborate with each other, serving both our own contexts and other sites of struggle. Peniel Rufus' books makes a significant contribution, interrogating as it does the interface between Dalit theology and the praxis of the Indian (largely Dalit) church. Here in South Africa we have witnessed a similar failure in the 'practical efficacy' of liberation theologies. We have much to learn from this book, both because of the similarities between our struggles and their struggles, but also because of the differences. The Dalit struggle provides certain unique elements around which to do theology and develop praxis, and so this book offers us fresh perspectives from which to reflect on our and other contexts of struggle.
    Gerald West, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

    ‘Rajkumar needs to be commended for bringing out this work for the benefit of those interested in theology, and especially to those concerned with Dalit theology. The book is easy to read, and the author's thoughts are presented in a lucid form to evoke interest and further research in this area.’ Bangalore Theological Forum

    ‘This book is not a routine contribution to the Indian, Dalit, and liberation theologies but a work that binds all three critically to address the issue of the distancing of Dalit theology. … The book engages widely with biblical concepts and hermeneutics, particularly with the synoptic gospels. Therefore, it serves as a rich resource for a wider audience…’ The Expository Times

    'This groundbreaking contribution advances Dalit theology by broadening its biblical base, moving beyond interpretive categories taken from liberation and black theology, and including non-Dalits in the praxis of Dalit liberation. It is essential reading for anyone teaching or studying Dalit theology. Seminary libraries with holdings in this area should have it.' Religious Studies Review
    'Rajkumar has indeed succeeded in his attempt to raise several crucial issues about the role and future of Dalit theology… this is a book seriously recommended to the specialist and general reader in India as well as other global contexts.' Journal of Postcolonial Networks