ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Asia in the Bible

The Bible and Asia: From the Pre-Christian Era to the Postcolonial Age by R S Sugirtharajah (Cambridge: Massachusetts; Harvard University Press), 2013; pp 303, price not indicated.

This book traces the relationship of Asian religions and cultures with the Bible. As the author himself admits, the title of the book can be misleading since it does not cover the entire continent of Asia, nor does it span the vast time frame suggested by the title. Also, as the author has mentioned, he has not been able to study every work of every Asian biblical interpreter, but has selected stunning examples of Asian exegetical sedition, idiosyncrasy, and imagination. That probably explains why, even though Philippines is a very prominent Christian-dominated nation in Asia, biblical studies from that country have not featured in this volume. I was also surprised that the contribution of George Soares-Prabhu, a renowned Indian biblical scholar, particularly in the field of Indian hermeneutics of the Bible, finds no mention in this volume.

From a faith perspective, for an ordinary Christian believer to imply that the parables and events mentioned in the Bible have been borrowed from Indian folktales, both in Sanskrit and Pali, would be taboo and blasphemous, but from a cultural perspective it makes sense since all cultures and languages have borrowed from one another. In fact, the process of creolisation of languages and cultures has been studied extensively by linguistic and anthropological scholars.

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