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New International Journal of Asian Christianity in the offing 

By Santosh Digal

Manila: A noted Indian theologian and researcher has conceptualized a new journal of Asian Christianity.

The International Journal of Asian Christianity (IJAC) is a first of its kind in the world. It would carry highly scientific researches on Christianity in Asia in collaboration with some 60 senior researchers and experts from Asia and world, Fr Felix Wilfred, IJAC editor, told Matters India.

He is currently President of the International Theological Review Concilium published in seven European language editions (English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Croatian).

The first issue of the new journal will be launched in November during an international conference in the United States, in the presence of 6000 scholars around the world, Wilfred said.

BRILL, a famous publishing house based in Netherlands that has a history of 300 years of publishing history, has agreed to publish the new journal.

When asked why BRILL would publish the journal, Wilfred said that BRILL is one of the famous publishing houses in the world. It publishes world’s noted 200 journals that are read and accessed by world’s top universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, to name a few, and institutes of international repute.

“IJAC would be one of the greatest platforms for our highly scientific researched content on Asian Christianity and make available and accessible them to a larger audience of the world’s reputed scholars and international centers of learning.

Besides, views and voices of Asian scholars could be heard in an international arena through the new journal,” Wilfred said.

The new journal would explore the world of Asian Christianity and its manifold expressions, including worship, theology, spirituality, inter-religious relations, interventions in society, and theology with Asian reality having its relevance and meaning for other continents.

It would deconstruct many of the widespread misconceptions and interpretations of Christianity in Asia and analyze how the growth of Christian beliefs throughout the continent is linked with the socio-political and cultural processes of colonization, decolonization, modernization, democratization, identity construction of social groups, and various social movements.

Another aspect is to focus on inter-religious encounters and emerging theological and spiritual paradigms. It would attempt to provide alternative narratives for understanding the phenomenon of conversion and studies how the scriptures of other religious traditions are used in the practice of Christianity within Asia.

Wilfred was born in Tamil Nadu, India in 1948. He was the president of the Faculty of Arts, and chairman of The School of Philosophy and Religious Thought, State University of Madras, Tamil Nadu, South India. He is also a member of the Statutory Ethical Committee of Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.

He was a member of International Theological Commission of the Vatican. Wilfred has been a member of the Vatican International Theological Commission and visiting the professor in several International Universities, including the University of Frankfurt, University of Nijmegen, Boston College, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines, and Fudan University, China. His writings have appeared in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese. He has served also as a member the Statutory Ethical Committee of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Chennai.

His researches and field of studies today cut across many disciplines in humanities and social sciences. His more recent publications in the field of theology are “On the Banks of Ganges” (2002), “Asian Dreams and Christian Hope” (2003), “The Sling of Utopia: Struggles for a Different Society (2005), and “Margins: Site of Asian Theologies” (2008).

He also edited “The Oxford Handbook of Christianity in Asia” published by Oxford University Press, New York, and the UK. It was named by the International Bulletin of Missionary Studies as an Outstanding Book of 2014 for Mission Studies.

Presently, he is Founder-Director of the Asian Centre for Cross-Cultural Studies (ACCS), Chennai, Tamil Nadu, South India. ACCS takes up for study and research issues of public concern. It organizes from time to time conferences and symposia on a wide range of questions and invites distinguished scholars and public intellectuals to participate and present papers.

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