Monday, December 7, 2009

Pasts and futures of Christianity - LSE podcast

An interesting lecture was delivered on the LSE podcast by Diarmaid MacCulloch. The title it got The Future of Christianity was actually the lesser of titles that could be extracted from the lecture and that are titles MacCulloch throws at us. It could have been the multiple The Futures of Christianity and it might easily have been The pasts of Christianity as well.

The point to take away from this lecture, as far as the past is concerned is that early Christianity was not only extremely varied, but that it traveled in all directions from the places of its origin, among others notably, to Asia. Since Christianity has become similar to what is Western, these roots are easily forgotten. Yet, ironically even, the future of Christianity might also lie in Asia, as the churches in China and Korea are the fastest growing in the world.

I saw an example how easily the eastern branch of Christianity is forgotten in Dale Martin's lecture course at Yale: New Testament History and Literature. This course emphasizes how Christianity is abundantly varied in its first centuries of existence and in passing it notes that it did not become dominated from Rome and the west until after the fourth century. And also that its Eastern streams were not exclusively European. Yet, in the ultimate lecture in the series, Dale Martin explicitly speaks of Christianity arriving in Asia only as of the 17th century. Not only he, Professor Dale B. Martin, forgets the Asian varieties and histories of Christianity, also his students fail to point this out at the lecture.

And so, this goes to show that MacCulloch's point about the various pasts of Christianity is very important in making, not just for the wider public, but even to the level of undergraduate theology education.

More LSE:
Global capitalism - the Gray view,
Israeli at the London School of Economics,
Michael Sandel,
Wolfgang Pauli and Carl Jung,
Natural Resource Management.

More Yale:
New Testament History and Literature,
Industrial Revolutions,
Modern Western History,
Introduction to Psychology,
Game Theory and Greek Classics,
The Hebrew Bible.
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