Sarah Irving

I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic

New article: review of Kuruvilla on radical Christianity in Palestine

Electronic Intifada, 28th June 2013

Looking at the personal and professional careers of Naim Ateek and Mitri Raheb, Kuruvilla then recounts the history of developments in Palestinian Christianity in recent decades. These are both practical changes — of political alliances, debates and organizations — and shifting ideas.
To take just one example, the book analyzes discussions of the meaning of “Israel” in the Old Testament. For American theologian Paul Van Buren, the crimes of the Holocaust meant that Western Christians should “combat all lies [sic] against the State of Israel” (131). For Naim Ateek, however, this reading of the Bible saw the Christian God as a “tribal God of Old Testament Israel and not the New Testament God of love, grace and mercy” (130).
Such disputes over the implications of different readings of the Bible form the core of the book. These illustrate how Palestinian theologians have used the tools of interpretation and exegesis to bring new meaning to the scriptures, as Christian thinkers have done since the time of the Apostle Paul.
Alongside Ateek’s liberation theology, this also includes Mitri’s “contextual theology,” which has led him to a faith practice rooted in Diyar’s building of “the physical, material, technological and spiritual infrastructure to help … rebuild their nation” (194).

The full article is here.

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