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O Le Tofa Liliu A Samoa: A Hermeneutical Critical Analysis of The Cultural-Theological Praxis of the Samoan Context

Tuisuga, Fa'alepo A. (2011) O Le Tofa Liliu A Samoa: A Hermeneutical Critical Analysis of The Cultural-Theological Praxis of the Samoan Context. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, UNSPECIFIED.


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The central question of this study is: ‘How can we understand the Samoan church as an indigenous church of the twenty-first century?’
In the eyes of the adherents of the Ekalesia Fa’apotopotoga Kerisiano Samoa (EFKS) – also known as the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (CCCS) – the Samoan life-world as it is now has been vigorously shaped and reshaped by the assimilation and integration of Samoan culture and Christianity since the arrival of the latter in 1830. The whole Samoan existential system, the fa’asamoa, which encompasses moral, ethical, cultural, political, economic and social factors, and indeed the spiritual values of Samoan society, has been conditioned by the interface between the two institutions – the EFKS, and Samoan culture. Reciprocally, the Christian faith and practice of the EFKS has been reshaped by the Samoan cultural context. The concrete actions and activities that constitute good Samoan life are what the term praxis denotes in this study. The sum total of actions and activities that derive out of the fine synthesis between Samoan culture and Christianity is described here as the ‘cultural–theological praxis’. This study is an attempt to interpret and understand the dynamics of the integration, interaction, and inter-relationship processes existing between Christianity and Samoan culture within the Samoan context. Thus, the overarching aim of this study is to critically analyse the cultural theological praxis of the EFKS setting; and to explore and establish a philosophical hermeneutic to both appraise and understand such praxis of the indigenous Samoan church context of the twenty-first century. I have developed this contextual philosophical hermeneutical approach from the indigenous notion of ‘O le Tofa Liliu a Samoa’ – ‘objective self-reflective wisdom of Samoa’.
From the critical evaluation and analysis of the EFKS some suggestions are made as to further significant elements of possible contextualisation from the fa’asamoa, through which the EFKS may be made more relevant and participatory for its contemporary adherents, especially the younger generation. The hermeneutical approach O le Tofa Liliu a Samoa could establish a solid foundation for a more extensive review of the EFKS.

Item Type: Theses (Doctor of Philosophy)
Repository Version: Author's Final Manuscript
Keywords: hermeneutics, Samoa, philosophy, theological praxis, ethnography, autoeathnography, tofa liliu, soalaupule, fuata ma lona lou, fa'amatai, tasi le tofa, tapuaiga, tautua, feagaiga, church leadership, fa'asinomaga, 'ava, Samoan personality, Nafanua prophecy
Fields of Research: 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2203 Philosophy > 220307 Hermeneutic and Critical Theory
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
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
Type of Activity: Applied Research
Subjects: A - Humanities, general
Ministry Studies
D - Pastoral Studies
A - Philosophy
College/Association with University of Divinity: YTU: Yarra Theological Union
Depositing User: Cate Headey
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2011 21:59
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2011 22:06
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/900

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