"Prevailing Winds": An analysis of the Liturgical Inculturation Efforts of Karl Ludvig Reichelt

Detta är en avhandling från Studia Missionalia Svecana CIV

Sammanfattning: This dissertation deals with the question of Christian contextualization in a Chinese context, with special emphases on liturgical inculturation and the problem of colonization. The subject is studied through an analysis of the liturgical inculturation efforts of Karl Ludvig Reichelt, a Norwegian missionary who founded a separate mission work among Chinese Buddhist monks. The study is based on literature and on the available physical evidence, liturgical rooms, artefacts, symbols et al. I question in my research whether the liturgical inculturation work of Karl Ludvig Reichelt was "contextual, colonial or both". In my initial hypothesis I tentatively state that his inculturation efforts are theologically appropriate approaches to the context, but lack a necessary awareness of possible needs for liberation from oppressive patterns, present in the context. The contextuality of Reichelt thus partly stems from the contextuality of his approach. By referring primarily to the models developed by H. Richard Niebuhr, Stephen B. Bevans, Anscar J. Chupungco and the writings of R. S. Sugirtharajah, I outline in the first part of my thesis my understanding of contextualization, its sub-type liturgical inculturation, and colonialism, and suggest a set of methodological tools by which to assess my hypothesis. In the second part of the thesis, I outline the contextual framework in which Reichelt worked, give a survey of his life, work and theological views, and give an account of a critical Buddhist analysis of his work. In the third part, I analyse the liturgical inculturation efforts of Reichelt. Based on a detailed analysis of relevant elements of various kind, I explore the characteristics of his approach and consider determine whether the work of Reichelt may be regarded as contextual or not, and whether or not it represented an instance of colonialism. In correspondence with my hypothesis I argue that the approach of Reichelt should be considered theologically appropriate to the contextual situation as far as inculturation is considered, but that insufficient consideration is taken towards the possible need for liberation. This deficiency makes his approach vulnerable to colonial patterns present in the contexts. Although I find no evidence supporting charges of colonial intent, the work took place within a colonial framework, and its function was partly colonial. My hypothetical view that the traces of colonialism of Reichelt stemmed from his very contextuality was modified as a result of my study. Rather, I found that traces of colonialism were caused by defects in his approach to contextualization.

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