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Intercultural Dialogue — An Overrated Means of Acquiring Understanding Examined in the Context of Christian Mission to Africa

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Intercultural dialogue is at depth impossible, because mutual understanding is only possible in so far as cultures and languages used are common, and not different. Assuming the wrong topic of conversation will result in a realisation of error and not productive progress. Having a common language (such as English) alone does not bring mutual understanding because languages are integrally rooted in cultures. Conversations always being engaged with a view to potential and actual overhearers of all sorts, means that mutual understanding requires a clear knowledge of overhearers on both sides. Power issues and types of reasoning often being in the context and not the content of dialogue means that failure to realise the context from which someone is dialoguing is in effect misunderstanding.

Affiliations: 1: Bible Teacher in Kenia; Research Student at the University of Birmingham UK;, Email:


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