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Mission and Theological Education ‐ Berlin, Athens, and Tranquebar: A North American Perspective

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An intense discussion of the nature and purpose of theological education has insufficiently regarded the vital importance of the missionary perspective. This article reviews the contemporary debate about theological education with special reference to the contributions of Edward Farley and David Kelsey. The prevailing paradigms of “Berlin” and “Athens” need to be complemented through the perspective of “Tranquebar.” Through a critical appreciation of the work of Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg (1682‐1719), the retrieval of a fresh and urgently needed missionary paradigm can be facilitated for the contemporary work of theological education. Ziegenbalg demonstrated attentiveness to local culture, collected and cataloged perspectives on South Indian deities, respected the dignity of the Tamil people, and embodied a vibrant theology of mission. The implications of his contribution are translated into an agenda for theological education today and are illustrated through the example of one particular theological school.

Affiliations: 1: Wartburg Theological Seminary, Email:


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