The Missiology seminar at Lund University has been involved in
several International research networks, such as the International Association
for Missions Studies (IAMS), the Ecumenical Association of Third World
Theologians (EATWOT), and the European Network of Buddhist-Christian
Studies (ENBUCS). It also deals with different institutions for practical
work within the fields of Mission, Dialogue and Ecumenicalism. The research
at the department is carried out using historical, theological as well
as anthropological methods. Ecumenicalism is stressed, and the encounter
between religions is studied in its cultural context and from different
religious perspectives. Gender relations are also in focus.
have been arranged regularly, sometimes with focus on South Asia. In
March 2002 Dominique Moghul, director for the Christian Study Centre,
Rawalpindi, Pakistan lectured on Religious
minorities in Muslim Societies. A Perspective from Pakistan.
Research and education connected to South Asia
From October 2006 the Arabist and scholar of Islam, Professor David Kerr headed the Division. He
was formerly professor in the Divinity School at the University of Edinburgh,
Scotland (and before that, during the years 1988-1996, he was Director
of the Duncan Black Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim
Relations, Hartford Institute for Religion Research, UK).
During the Fall 2006 Prof. Kerr taught a 5 credits course on ”Christianity
in the Third World”. It described and analysed this new global
reality of Christianity, where the focus is on the history of Christianity
in Africa, Asia and Latin America, contextual theological literature,
and the ideas of leading “third-world” Christian
Sadly, Prof. David Kerr passed away on April 14, 2008, aged 62. Read an obituary in Timesonline.
Emeritus Aasulv Lande (photo
to the right) has been engaged in research on Interreligious dialogue
and encounter between Eastern and Western cultures, focusing on the
encounter between Buddhism and Christianity. Most of his research relates
to Japan, but in 1991 he visited Nepal to study the practice of Tibetan
Buddhism. During this visit he learnt about the role Christian mission
played in the country during the last 10 years. Many Nepalese orient
themselves towards Christianity as a reaction to the dominant Hindu
and Buddhist religious practices, in a similar fashion as people in
the West reject religion and turn to secularism. Christianity stands
for a possibility of breaking through to change and a better future,
and according to Prof. Lande this movement could be seen as a less
violent and non-political parallel to the ongoing Maoist rebellion
aganist the established society in Nepal.
Lande is also a board member of the Institute
for Contextual Theology in Sweden (IKT), created in 1992 as a network
by the then Prof. of Systematic Theology at Lund University, Per Frostin.
The IKT functions as an independent critical party in dialogues with churches
and fellowships of faith, universities and social movements in society,
with a vision that the IKT will be a meeting place and a link for women's
associations, peace- and environmental associations, solidarity movements
and base groups within and outside the churches around the World.
Aasulv Lande retired in the Spring 2005.
In honour of him and Manfred
Professor of Systematic Theology who also retired, the Centre for Theology
and Religious Studies organised a farewell conference titled ”The
Future of Contextual Theology”
at Lund University 27–28 January 2005. During the conference Lande
lectured on ”Christ and Buddha – hand in hand?”,
and Hofmann lectured on ”What is constant and what is
variable in the Third World theology?”
defended her doctoral dissertation on ”Religion
in Dialogue with Late Modern Society: A Constructive Contribution to
a Christian Spirituality Informed by Buddhist-Christian Encounters”,
on Saturday 11 December 2004. It focuses on interreligious
dialogue in a postcolonial perspective. Faculty opponent was Professor
Paul Knitter, Xavier University, Cincinatti, USA. Project abstract: In the dissertation a constructive
contribution is made to a Christian spirituality for late modern religiously
plural society. The words ‘a constructive contribution’ designate
the methodological approach of the study. The words ‘late modern
religiously plural society’ include the combination of social, political,
cultural and economic factors in relation to which the question of spirituality
will be discussed, and a contribution to a Christian spirituality is constructed.
Based on a description of contemporary religion, in which Aldén
refers to modern sociologists (some general and some specifically involved
with religion), she outlines certain recent characteristics of our contemporary
way of relating to religion, and formulate a spirituality for late modern
religiously plural society. She sees such spirituality arising within
three dynamic fields: ‘continuity and internal diversity’,
‘formal and informal structures’ and ‘vita activa and
Against this background she presents and analyses a case study of Aloysius
Pieris, a Christian theologian active in ‘Buddhist’ Sri Lanka
and of Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk active in ‘Christian’
France. Based on identified presuppositions and in dialogue with these
two personalities she proceeds toward a construction which contains some
basic indicators of a Christian spirituality for late modern religiously
plural society. The concepts ‘community’, ‘baptism’
and ‘grace and concern’ are central to the construction.
Wiking defended a doctoral dissertation on 8 May 2004
about a diaspora Indian Christian
Lutheran community in Malaysia, and their strategy for survival.
The thesis was titled ”Breaking the Pot:
Contextual Responses to Survival Issues in Malaysian Churches”.
Abstract: Protestantism in Malaysia is in many cases the result
of labour migration from China and India in the 19th and 20th Centuries.
Under the British colonial administration, it enjoyed a certain
degree of protection. Furthermore, in the 20th Century, many Western
missions started work in Malaysia often in order to strengthen and
expand the ministry of existing denominations. This was particularly
true of the Tamil Evangelical Lutheran diaspora group. Until the
time of independence in 1957, the Protestant Christian religion
had a promising future. But after independence, the situation has
gradually deteriorated due to two parallel developments: the withdrawal
of Western support and the resurgence of local religions like Islam,
Hinduism and Buddhism that compete with Christianity. These developments
in turn have brought an array of serious issues before the church
in general and the protestant mainline denominations in particular.
Each major issue is outlined and discussed from a survival perspective.
The local responses to the new challenges turn out to be manifold
and many-faceted. Five contextual theologians are presented and
analysed. Each theologian’s approach to the contemporary issues
assailing the church is examined. The theological output thus investigated
is taken as an indicator of what kind the Malaysian churches are
likely to develop into.
Göran Wiking spent two
years in the late 1970s as a Mission volunteer in India, and
later worked as a Missionary sent out by the Swedish Church to to
Malaysia during the years 1985–94. Both his doctoral thesis
and the Licentiate thesis, titled ”The
Church of Sweden’s
Road to Malaya”, that he defended in 2000 were based on his
experiences from Malaysia.
Dr. Wiking is now working as Assistant Professor at the Lutheran
Theological Seminary in Hong Kong, China.
Some years ago PhD candidate Kjell
Nilsson worked on a research project about the so-called
Thomas Christians (the Syrian Orthodox Church) in Kerala, India,
and their interaction with Hindus.