The last decade has seen a remarkable increase in interest in Christianity among scholars in the social sciences and humanities and among public intellectuals. This attention to Christianity has followed on its recent growth, especially in the global South, and its increasing public political role in many parts of the world. The primary object of this volume is to initiate a dialogue between two emerging intellectual discourses that have been important to the new prominence of Christianity as a topic of scholarly discussion. One of these discourses is being constructed primarily by historians, anthropologists, theologians, and popular Christian writers and has taken shape around notions such as “world Christianity” and “global Christianity.” This discourse holds that w hile Christianity has always been global in its ambitions and self-conceptions, there is something about its recent growth, particularly in the global South, that is transforming it in important ways. The second discourse is primarily philosophical and has moved to make Christian categories and materials central to its projects of philosophical and cultural critique-projects once thought to be firmly rooted in secularist (and largely atheist) assumptions. Our contention is that these emerging discourses could benefit from some cross-fertilization. “Global Christianity, Global Critique” is an attempt to start a conversation toward this end, bringing together essays by social scientists who study existing Christian communities and those by theologians, philosophers, and historians of religion who have been reconsidering the critical potential of Christianity.
Research Article|October 01 2010