A second generation of emerging Dalit theology texts is re-shaping the way we think of Indian theology and liberation theology. This book is a vital part of that conversation. Taking post-colonial criticism to its logical end of criticism of statism, Keith Hebden looks at the way the emergence of India as a nation state shapes political and religious ideas. He takes a critical look at these Gods of the modern age and asks how Christians from marginalised communities might resist the temptation to be co-opted into the statist ideologies and competition for power. He does this by drawing on historical trends, Christian anarchist voices, and the religious experiences of indigenous Indians. Hebden's ability to bring together such different and challenging perspectives opens up radical new thinking in Dalit theology, inviting the Indian Church to resist the Hindu fundamentalists labelling of the Church as foreign by embracing and celebrating the anarchic foreignness of a Dalit Christian future.
Contents: Foreword; Preface; Introduction; Part I Understanding the Postcolonial Context: Subversion and resistance in postcolonial discourse; Cosmic courtship and the violence of the gods; Self preservation society. Part II Resisting the State in Colonial and Postcolonial India: Missiological controversies on church and state; Fathers of the Nation: the Gandhi and Ambedkar controversy. Part III Dalit Theology and Christian Anarchism: a Subversive Synthesis: Resistance from the margins; Dalit theology and the powers that be; Jesus the foreigner; Select bibliography; Index.
About the Author: Keith Hebden is an assistant curate at Saint Katharine's Anglican Church in Matson, Gloucester. Gloucester Diocese is twinned with two partner dioceses in India. Previously studying and co-tutoring at Queen's Foundation Birmingham, Keith completed his PhD in Dalit theology in January 2008 at Birmingham University. Keith has spent over a decade travelling to India to conduct field research and to work with churches and NGOs in Karnataka Central and Gujarat. In 2006 Keith launched the Christianity and anarchism conference in Leeds with the help of a local church and the international web group Jesus Radicals. This conference has proved popular over two years with a growing network of around 200 people plus an unknown quantity of people indirectly influenced. In 2008 he re-launched and now edits the free magazine 'A Pinch of Salt: Christianity and anarchism in dialogue" and is involved in ongoing dialogue with both the Christian activist community and other anarchist groups. Keith is also a member of Academics and Students Interested in Religious Anarchism a sub-committee of the Anarchist Studies Network and has submitted a paper on Dalit theology and anarchism at their first academic conference at Loughborough University.
Reviews: 'Dalit Theology and Christian Anarchism is an excellent contribution to the field of Dalit theology, especially in the area of political theology. It convincingly and artfully moves Dalit Studies stridently, creatively and meaningfully forward into new avenues of interrogation and articulation. No scholar interested in constructive, contextual, political, and liberation theology in India can afford to miss this substantial work by Hebden.'Sathianathan Clarke, Wesley Theological Seminary, USA'This book offers a novel, hermeneutical prescription for Dalit theology. It weaves together critically, from unlikely sources such as anarchism and indigenous and Christian elements that raise Dalit theology onto an exhilarating new level. Essential reading for those engaged in theology.'R.S.Sugirtharajah, University of Birmingham, UK'Keith Hebden presents great liberative insights on Dalit theology and Christian Anarchism. This lively book with its intellectual depth and honesty, is a gift to all readers. A perfect book for the intellectually inquisitive.'The Rt. Revd. Dr. B. Sathyanandam Devamani CSI Bishop of Dornakal Diocese and Chairman, Dalith Commission of NCCI'… [Hebden’s] creative reading of Dalit alienation and oppression in relation to the gospels is a provocative contribution to Dalit theology, useful for anyone working in this area. Research libraries should have this book.' Religious Studies Review
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