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Why should the church be concerned about cultures? Louis J. Luzbetak began to answer this question twenty-five years ago with the publication of The Church and Cultures: An Applied Anthropology for the Religious Worker. Reprinted six times and translated into five languages, it became an undisputed classic in the field. Now, by popular demand, Luzbetak has thoroughly rewritten his work, completely updating it in light of contemporary anthropological and missiological thought and in face of current world conditions.
Serving as a handbook for a culturally sensitive ministry and witness, The Church and Cultures introduces the non-anthropologist to a wealth of scientific knowledge directly relevant to pastoral work, religious education social action and liturgy – in fact, to all forms of missionary activity in the church. It focuses on a burning theological issue: that of contextualization, the process by which a local church integrates its understanding of the Gospel (“text”) with the local culture (“context”).
Louis J. Luzbetak, S.V.D., formerly editor of the international journal Anthropos, studied cultural anthropology at the Universities of Fribourg and Vienna, receiving his doctorate in anthropology from Fribourg. He has taught anthropology at the Catholic University of America and linguistics at Georgetown University. Church mission has always been the focal point of his teaching and research. Rev. Luzbetak is at present in the service of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Vatican City.