Introducing biblical multifaith hermeneutics in Indonesia and Asia

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Indonesia 2022: Workshop

Asia and Indonesia, with its multiracial and multicultural resources, are unique parts of the world and can offer many possibilities for adequate contextual hermeneutics in a multi-scriptural society (Samartha 1991). Taking Archie Lee opinion, for instance, he mentions Asian religious people, at least, live in two worlds: the world of their religion and its sacred text, and the world of Asian texts, cultures and religions. Both identities and both worlds should be upheld in a creative, dynamic, interrelated, interactive and integrated way, so that integrity is safeguarded” (2012: 34). That is why a serious work on multifaith hermeneutics is very important.Doing so is an important calling as well as an existential challenge for biblical scholars. In contexts where varieties of social, cultural, and religious life are present together, religious plurality is expressed in the richness of religious insights. Such contexts may generate tension between religious and cultural groups on one hand, but, on the other, also make possible creative and mutual interactions. What is needed to respond to such complex situations requires an open, creative, as well as perceptive attitude in order to maintain a living existential dialogue among the groups who have a shared agency and who also must live their differences with dignity so that there can be peace. As in other parts of Asia, the life of the people of Indonesia has been, is, and will continue to be nurtured and shaped by the world’s formal religions as well as local and indigenous religious traditions and their sacred texts and stories. In this context, it is important to appreciate the value of a critical but positive hermeneutical attitude towards others within the encounter of religious traditions.

Rev. Daniel K. Listijabudi, Ph.D is a Mennonite pastor and a lecturer in biblical hermeneutics and contextual theology in the Faculty of Theology of Duta Wacana Christian University, Yogjakarta, Indonesia.