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Full Access Post-Christian, Post-Christendom, and Post-Modern Europe: Towards the Interaction of Missiology and the Social Sciences

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Post-Christian, Post-Christendom, and Post-Modern Europe: Towards the Interaction of Missiology and the Social Sciences

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Three concepts are often used in missiological literature relating to the West. These are “post-Christian,” “post-Christendom,” and “post-modern.” Often, they have been used as if they are more or less synonyms without much precision or reflection. By relating them to different strands in social theory around “secularization,” this article suggests how these terms can be defined more precisely. In this way the author intends to stimulate the discussion between missiology and the social sciences within the context of Western Europe. On the basis of a more exact definition of these terms, areas for further research are indicated. As descriptive concepts these “post” labels invite us to explore their interdependence, mirroring the secularization debate within the sociology of religion. As heuristic concepts they raise questions about the social construction of secularized Europe within missiology. Finally, they may shed light on different social spaces for Christian mission in Europe.

Affiliations: 1: VU University Amsterdam Theological University Kampen the Netherlands spaas@tukampen.nl, Email: s.paas@vu.nl

10.1163/016897811X572168
/content/journals/10.1163/016897811x572168
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Three concepts are often used in missiological literature relating to the West. These are “post-Christian,” “post-Christendom,” and “post-modern.” Often, they have been used as if they are more or less synonyms without much precision or reflection. By relating them to different strands in social theory around “secularization,” this article suggests how these terms can be defined more precisely. In this way the author intends to stimulate the discussion between missiology and the social sciences within the context of Western Europe. On the basis of a more exact definition of these terms, areas for further research are indicated. As descriptive concepts these “post” labels invite us to explore their interdependence, mirroring the secularization debate within the sociology of religion. As heuristic concepts they raise questions about the social construction of secularized Europe within missiology. Finally, they may shed light on different social spaces for Christian mission in Europe.

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/content/journals/10.1163/016897811x572168
2011-01-01
2016-12-07

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