Towards an Indian Trinitarian Theology of Missio Dei: A Study of the Trinitarian Theologies of St. Augustine and Brahmabandhab Upadhyay
Joseph, Palolil Varghese
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The trinitarian theologies of St. Augustine and the Indian theologian, Brahmabandhab Upadhyay, provide conceptual resources for the construction of a Christian theology of mission suitable for the Indian context. The trinitarian theology of Augustine lays the foundation for a Christian theology of mission understood as missio Dei; the appropriation of the Advaita Vedanta concept of saccidānanda in the trinitarian theology of Upadhyay offers terminology for contextualizing a Christian understanding of God for an Indian setting. Having introduced the topic of the study in the first chapter of this dissertation, the second chapter seeks to place in perspective the trinitarian theology initiated by Karl Barth and Karl Rahner. It also traces the historical trajectory of the missio Dei concept, and examines the attempts to relate trinitarian theology to the missio Dei and the ongoing attempt to ground the Christian mission in the being of the Triune God. The third chapter is a review of the development of indigenous Christian theology and mission discourse in engagement with Hinduism and the subsequent development of Indian Christian and mission theologies. The chapter provides a context for the larger theme of trinitarian missio Dei theology in India. The next two chapters are devoted to examining the trinitarian theologies of St. Augustine and Brahmabandhab Upadhyay in relation to the missio Dei theology. The fourth chapter investigates in detail Upadhyay’s restatement of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity from within the framework of the Advaita Vedanta category of saccidānanda. The fifth chapter seeks to expound the origin of the concept of the missio Dei from Augustine’s De Trinitate. The sixth and final chapter attempts to show how an Indian theology of mission can be informed by the trinitarian theologies of Augustine and Upadhyay. Taken together, the trinitarian theologies of Augustine and Upadhyay offer resources for the construction of a trinitarian theology of mission that can help to remedy the perceived defects of existing mission theology and practice in the Indian churches, in both their mainline Protestant and Pentecostal expressions. This dissertation is understood as a prolegomena to and preparation for a future development of such an Indian Christian theology of mission.