The Art of Indigenous Inculturation

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“In this breathtakingly beautiful, scholarly, and thought-provoking book . . . Antonio Sison embarks on a quest to ‘midwife’ the ‘indigenous inculturation’ present in a triptych of images from the ‘folk Catholic imaginary’ in Nairobi, Chicago, and Manila.”—From the Foreword by Stephen B. Bevans, SVD


The Art of Indigenous Inculturation explores the phenomenon of religious inculturation from the perspective of Third World postcolonial cultures--a departure from what appears to have been the default emphasis on inculturation as a strategy employed by professional missionaries to evangelize non-Western cultures. Antonio Sison retrieves the vital meaning of “inculturation” in view of the creative and heroic efforts of the peoples of Asia, Latin America, and Africa, who have, in the power of their own creative genius, upheld their authentic cultural identity and historical agency, while seeking religious synthesis in the face of the “unholy” marriage of evangelization and colonization.

“Antonio Sison takes readers on an enthralling aesthetic odyssey and hermeneutical rendezvous with the authentic craftspeople of a liberating indigenous theological imagination on three continents of the Global South. His book is a fascinating tale told by a proficient storyteller who regales readers with riveting narratives, interpretations, and insights.”—Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, SJ, President, Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar


“Antonio Sison has advanced both our understanding and our practice of inculturation with this remarkable book. By focusing upon Indigenous genius, and by revealing 'serendipity'—that epiphany of surprise and sagacity—as the nexus of the divine-human encounter, he has brought us to a new place in doing theology in the World Church.”—Robert J. Schreiter, author, Constructing Local Theologies


“Richly sourced and organically grounded, Sison’s work exemplifies a well-constructed reversal of power.  Using an ‘aesthetics of liberation,’ he reveals how faith is re-imagined, re-imaged, and re-invigorated in cultures discriminatorily dismissed as ‘other.’—Cecilia González-Andrieu, author, Bridge to Wonder: Art as a Gospel of Beauty


“With an artist’s eye and an insider's perspective, Filipino theologian Antonio Sison has further enhanced the craft of inculturation.  His masterful interweaving of the hermeneutics of suspicion, appreciation, and serendipity with illuminating examples has enriched its theological method.”—José M. de Mesa, author, Why Theology is Never Far from Home


Antonio D. Sison, CPPS, is Vatican Council II Chair of Theology and Professor of Systematic Theology at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. His previous books include The Sacred Foodways of Film; World Cinema, Theology, and the Human; and Screening Schillebeeckx: Theology and Third Cinema in Dialogue.

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Book Details

The Art of Indigenous Inculturation
Grace on the Edge of Genius
Antonio D. Sison
Foreword by Stephen B. Bevans, SVD
index, b/w photos

Introduction (Sison_Art_of_Indigenous_Inculturation_Intro.pdf, 124 Kb) [Download]

Table of Contents (Sison_Art_of_Indigenous_Inculturation_TOC.pdf, 76 Kb) [Download]