Thomas, Bartholomew, and the Christian Origins in India

Posted: July 25, 2013 in General

question-markTwo prominent Johannine characters, i.e., Didymos Thomas and Bartholomew [Nathanael], and their contributions to the Indian/universal Christianity are much discussed in the popular scholarly circles. Today (25th July 2013), I was browsing through the 327 pages “Regulations and Syllabus” (Bachelor of Divinity; 2010) of the Senate of Serampore College/University. My intention was to see how the Thomas and Bartholomew studies are treated throughout the newly introduced curriculum of the university. Surprisingly, the St. Thomas and St. Bartholomew traditions are almost rooted out from the theological exercises in India. Except a minor reference to the traditions in page # 208 (of St. Thomas and St. Bartholomew together as a minor sub-section), there is no reference to this universally acclaimed tradition/s related to these key biblical/historical figures. In this case, the 1991 syllabus treated the subject matter far better as that incorporated the subject matter in pages 104 and 115. It seems that the importance of these key figures is diminishing in the theological circles of India. There would have been at least a course offered exclusively focusing on these two figures. As they are the two figures who continually challenge us from the biblical, apocryphal, and missional documents, their role and significance must not be disregarded in our excavations and researches. In my continued research on Thomas and Thomas Christianity during the last few years I was able to come across challenging findings. What is the kind of education we offer without connecting Indian Christianity with the universal sphere of thinking? Theology is becoming uncritical, monotonous, and easy going in the contemporary Indian context. Repetition is one of the important drawbacks. In a context in which theology is the monopoly of a few privileged people and based on projects and projections, what else can we expect?

By Johnson Thomaskutty, Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India

  1. Franklin Samraj says:

    valuable insight for action

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