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After Heresy

After Heresy

by Vïtor Westhelle


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In this important contribution to post-colonial theological studies, the argument is made that religious practices and teachings imposed on colonized peoples are transmuted in the process of colonization. The very theological discourse that is foisted on the colonized people becomes for them, a liberating possibility through a process of theological transformation from within. This is offered as an explanation of the mechanisms which have brought about the emergence of the current post-colonial consciousness. However, what is distinctive and unique about this treatment is that it pursues these questions with two basic assumptions. The first is that the religious expressions of colonized people bear the outward marks of the hegemonic theological discourse imposed on them, but change its content through a process called ""transfiguration."" The second is that the crises of Western Christianity since the Reformation and the Conquest of the Americas enunciates the very process through which post-colonial religious hybridity is made possible.

This book unfolds in three parts. The first (the ""pre-text"") deals with the colonial practice of the missionary enterprise using Latin America as a case study. The second (the ""text"") presents the crisis of Western modernity as interpreted by insiders and outsiders of the modern project. The third (the ""con-text"") analyses some discursive post-colonial practices that are theologically grounded even when used in discourses that are not religious.

Some of the questions that this project engages are: Is there a post-colonial understanding of sin and evil? How can we understand eschatology in post-colonial terms? What does it mean to be the church in a post-colonial framework? For those interested in the intersection of theology and post-colonial studies, this book will be important reading.

""This focussed and insightful book is a significant addition to the ever-growing literature on postcolonialism and theological studies. Besides cogently demonstrating that the transaction between the colonizer and the colonized is not one-sided, an attractive feature is the author's attempt to redefine the traditional Christian teachings on sin, evil, church, and eschatology from a postcolonial perspective. This book should be high on the list for anyone who wants to know the new trends in theological discourse.""
--R. S. Sugirtharajah author of The Bible and Empire

""Vitor Westhelle is emerging as one of the premier critics of our time. In this important volume, he unmasks the colonial beast and brings startling clarity to postcolonial movements. With fresh angles of vision, his incisive analysis ranges over many languages, cultures, genres, and conditions. This is a brilliant study that will command attention from many quarters, not least from theologians.""
--David Rhoads editor of From Every People and Nation: The Book of Revelation in Intercultural Perspective

""A book of tremendous courage and insight. Professor Vitor Westhelle presents a searing critique of modern colonial projects, lifts up subaltern voices, and offers resources in doing postcolonial theology. Exploring the philosophical foundations of what makes postcolonial theology possible, this book makes a significant contribution to advancing the discourse. I recommend this text for scholars and students and the educated public who want to know about cutting-edge thinking in contemporary theology.""
--Kwok Pui-lan author of Postcolonial Imagination and Feminist Theology

Vitor Westhelle is Professor of Systematic Theology at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He is the author of The Scandalous God and an internationally sought-out speaker.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781498211260
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 02/26/2010
Pages: 202
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.63(d)

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