PHIL 479 - Topics in Comparative Religions
Overview of Course
This course explores the historical, sociological, cultural and theological diversity and multiplicity of Christianity, from its very beginning, throughout its two-millennia history, and arguably more so in the future. There is not, nor has there ever been, one Christianity; rather there exist Christianities (in the plural), all over the world and all the time. Christianity has always been, in contemporary parlance, “inculturated” or “contextualized.” No one form of inculturated Christianity is privileged and normative for another. Each of the local incarnations of Christianity embodies, in its own unique way, Christianity wholly but not perfectly, and all of them make up World Christianity. In other words, Christianity does not exist except as World Christianity, and World Christianity is not something onto-logically prior to its local realizations, floating above history like a Platonic form, but rather is constituted into existence by each of its spatial and temporal realizations. So in this course we are discussing theoretically what World Christianity is, doing port specific readings that tell us how Christianity is constituted in each port we visit, and from this learning developing not only a global understanding of Christianity but of religion itself as it is created in different cultural settings.