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A Commission ‘Great’ for Whom? Postcolonial Contrapuntal Readings of Matthew 28:18–20 and the Irony of William Carey

Cronshaw, Darren J. (2016) A Commission ‘Great’ for Whom? Postcolonial Contrapuntal Readings of Matthew 28:18–20 and the Irony of William Carey. Transformation, 33 (2). pp. 110-123. ISSN 0265-3788

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    Abstract

    Arguably, the modern missionary movement’s foundational text, the ‘Great Commission’ of Matthew
    28:18–20 has been criticized for its use in legitimizing colonial oppression. Focusing on reception history in
    South Asian polycolonial contexts, this article uses ‘Saidian’ contrapuntal reading to explore whether and
    for whom the commission is ‘great’? William Carey used it as a proof-text in his ‘Enquiry’ for Christians
    to engage in foreign mission. RS Sugirtharajah brings a postcolonial critique to Carey, but Saugata Bhaduri
    appreciates the unintended de-colonizing consequences of Carey’s vernacular literature. Jayachitra Lalitha
    questions why women were absent in Matthew 28:18–20 and why Dalit women still struggle. George
    Soares-Prabhu’s reading alongside a Buddhist text suggests more integral mission and liberation. Despite
    colonialism’s distorting affect, there is historical irony in Matthew 28’s influence in South India. Contrapuntal
    conversations helpfully focus on the well-being of overlooked groups and recover some of the resistance
    implicit in Matthew’s composition.

    Item Type: Published Articles
    Repository Version: Published Version
    Keywords (separated by commas): Dalit theology, Great Commission, missionary movement, postcolonial, RS Sugirtharajah, William Carey
    Fields of Research: 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220405 Religion and Society
    Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950404 Religion and Society
    Type of Activity: Pure Basic Research
    Subject Area(s): D - Missiology
    Association with University of Divinity: Whitley College
    Depositing User: Rev Prof Darren John Cronshaw
    Date Deposited: 30 May 2016 16:26
    Last Modified: 30 May 2016 16:26
    URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/1989

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