See I. Selvanayagam, A Dialogue on Dialogue: Reflections on Inter-faith Encounters (Madras: Christian Literature Society, 1995), pp. 45—66.
See R. S. Sugirtharajah, 'Thinking about Vernacular Hermeneutics Sitting in a Metropolitan Study' in R. S. Sugirtharajah (ed.), Vernacular Hermeneutics (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press,
P. A. Sathiasatchy, 'Theology with Fragrance of the Tamil Soil' in I. Selvanayagam (ed.), Moving
52 Forms of Theology: Faith Talk's Changing Contexts (Delhi: ISPCK, 2002), pp. 159—65 at 165. See D. Francis, The Relevance ofHindu Ethos for Christian Presence: A Tamil Perspective (Madras: Christian Literature Society, 1989).
his Tamil writings and songs he presents Jesus and his message in a new way, making appeal to those influenced by the recent Tamil renaissance. Thomas Thangaraj (b. 1942) contributed towards 'a singable theology' by composing Tamil Christian songs which reflect a contextual theology that addresses various issues of Tamil society. He tried to build on it a new christological model on the Saiva understanding of guru. Thangaraj compares, contrasts and projects Jesus, 'the crucified guru'.53 It is not easy to fit Jesus into a system for which liberation is primarily from the bond of karma samsara, and therefore he tries very hard to expand it to cover the socio-economic aspects of liberation, which is the cry of many other theologians.
All these three Tamil theologians (and Francis and Thangaraj are presbyters of the Church of South India) were for some time based in Tamilnadu Theological Seminary, an ecumenical institution for ministerial training and theological education. It was founded in 1969 and is situated in Madurai, known as the centre of Tamil culture and religion. Its first principal, Samuel Amirtham, encouraged the building up of a gurukulam model of community living and a pilgrim model of learning that involved students in the life of the neighbourhood in the context of the struggle for survival.54 His theology is known as wholesome, as a living theology of perennial value.55 Developing Tamil theological reflections in dialogue with Tamil traditions in the form of creative writing and songs has been one of the emphases of the seminary.
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