Contextuality and catholicity
The central conviction driving this project is that theology should be both contextual and catholic: it needs to respond to local challenges and draw on local resources while also learning from and with the church worldwide because of the unity found in the Good News of Jesus Christ.
A truly catholic approach should not only listen to the voices of scholars and church leaders, but also to the lived theologies of Christian communities around the world which are themselves forms of embodied theological reflection seeking to respond faithfully to the Gospel and the Scriptures and to be a liberating presence in their particular contexts.
Theology is about God and Gospel
The intention is to engage in conversations that are on the one hand contextual and intercultural and on the other hand theological. Religious studies are good at analysing contextual expressions of the Christian faith in relation to their particular historical, social, and cultural contexts, but neglect due attention to what most of these theologies desire to be: faithful renderings of what God desires for us and faithful readings of the Christian Scriptures that seek to discern what it means to be servants of the Gospel in these contexts. While the resources on this website will draw on both Theology and Religious sources and will be useful for both types of scholarly approach, they are set within a consciously theological framework.
Interdisciplinarity and theological holism
This website seeks to break boundaries that have arisen following academic developments in the North-Atlantic world in recent centuries. This also reflects an understanding that theology is in principle a unified discipline and a shared conversation to which different disciplines contribute. All theology should be biblically grounded, historically aware, contextually relevant, missiological oriented etc., and different disciplines do bring their particular expertise to this shared enterprise.
The desire is to develop and maintain a website that is collaborative, and to which users can contribute in various ways by providing bibliographical, portal, and news items or by proposing encyclopaedia articles. Therefore, we also intend to grow a community of scholars, librarians, students and other users who not only benefit from the sources provided here, but also use this as a platform to highlight new resources and insights and to open up new areas of research.
In this community we intend to create space for marginal voices that are often insufficiently heeded because of the asymmetric power relations in a global academic world that is still largely dominated by Western perspectives, voices, and criteria.
The intention to create a more equal playing field for theological voices from different parts of the world means that all materials on this website are Open Access. It also means that we will include as many freely accessible resources as possible in our own bibliographies and encyclopaedia articles so that these tools empower students and scholars with limited access to academic resources behind paywalls.
The website maintains a high standard of academic quality that is maintained by a rigorous peer-review process overseen by the editorial board and by inviting expert perspectives. At the same time, the editorial board will work with an open mind regarding how academic quality should be measured. As already noted, the standards of academic quality are set by the culturally most powerful voices in the academic world. In other contexts, these standards may be experienced as less applicable or even as oppressive of minority voices and needs.