Christian theology is the product of complex cultural interactions. It first emerged from the encounter between Jewish and Hellenistic thought and later developed through contacts with Latin and Germanic cultures. For many Western thinkers, this Mediterranean-European synthesis is not just the best basis for understanding the faith but the only authentic one, and we must treat any later adaptations very cautiously for fear of lapsing into syncretism.

The problem is that Christianity has for many centuries been in contact with multiple non-European cultures, particularly in Asia, and believers in these settings have traveled far from supposedly obvious Western interpretations. As the faith comes to be established ever more firmly outside the Euro-American world, those cultural precedents become increasingly central to framing Christian faith.

The lengthy history of Asian interpretations of faith is the subject of this thoughtful and provocative collection of essays by veteran postcolonial scholar R. S. Sugirtharajah, professor emeritus at Birmingham University in England. Common themes emerge powerfully across the broad sweep of historical periods from the second century to the 21st.