Wednesday, 26 February, 2014

College day on March 1, 2014

The 104th College Day (UTC was founded in 1910) of the UTC will be held on March 1 at the Charles Ranson Hall at 4:00 P.M. Mr. Rajendra Sail,  the founder general secretary of the Raipur Churches Development and Relief Committee (RCDRC) and president of the Chattisgarh Unit of the People's Union for Civil Liberties will be delivering the main address for the College Day.

Mr. Sail was awarded the Dr. Hunter P. Mabry prize for Social Justice in 2008 by the United Theological College.

The College Day will have a report from the principal, followed by the distribution of college prizes for students of the college. The faculty advisor for the College Day this year is Dr. Nalini Arles and the student convenor is Mr. Daniel Vivek.

Monday, 24 February, 2014

Public Lecture on the book "The Bible and Asia"





Dear Friends,

We are organising a public lecture on the recent book,  ‘THE BIBLE AND ASIA’  from the Pre-Christian Era to the Post colonial Age’,  written by R.S.SUGIRTHARAJAH  Emeritus Professor of Biblical Hermeneutics at the University of Birmingham on 3rd March (Monday), 2014  at the Tagore Hall in the United Theological College, Benson Town, Banglalore,  at 4.30 pm.  Mr.K.R.A.Narasaiah a regular reviewer of books for the Hindu newspaper from Chennai will present a review paper of this book which will be responded by Rev. Dr.David Joy,  Professor of New Testament  UTC and moderated by Rev. Dr. John Samuel Raj,  Professor of Old Testament and Principal of UTC.  Following is an abstract of the book for your information.

“Though the Bible is a product of West Asia, its influence on Europe and the Americas has reviewed for more attention than its complex career in the East.  R.S. Sugirtharajah corrects this imbalance with the expansive new study of Asia’s subversive and idiosyncratic relationship with the Bible.  This is the story of missionaries, imperialists, exegetes, reformers and nationalists who moulded biblical text according to their own needs in order to influence religion, politics and daily life from India to China. When the Bible reached east and south Asia in the third century CE, its Christian scriptures already bore traces of Asian commodities and Indian moral stories.  In China, the Bible merged with the teachings of Buddha and Lao Tzu to produce the Jesus Sutras.  As he recounts the history of how Christianity was influenced by other Asia religions, Sugirtharajah deftly highlights the controversial issue of Buddhist and Vedic influence on biblical religion.

Once used to justify European rule in Asia the bible has also served to promote the spiritual salivation of women, outcasts and the untouchables.  The Bible has left a literary mark on Asia in two ways; through its influence on Asian writers and through the reinvigoration of modern Asian vernaculars when proselytizing missionaries introduced western print culture to the east”.

We will be happy if your faculty and students participate in this discussion.

Dexter Maben                                                                                                  P.Mohan Larbeer

Chairperson (Acting)

Department of Biblical Studies           

UTC                                                                                                                Secretary, BTESSC

Thursday, 20 February, 2014

Elections in India: A Christian response

A discussion on the upcoming elections in India was held at the Zigenbalg chapel yesterday from 8:50 A.M. to 10:30 A.M. The resource persons Rev. Dr. David Selvaraj, the director of Visthar and Mr.Stephen David, Director of Centre for Contemporary Issues (CCI) did an initial presentation which was followed by questions from the students and faculty present. 

Rev. Dr. David Selvaraj started his presentation on “Modi as a phenomena” by quoting from the Talmud and saying that “Who can and does not protest is an accomplice to the act.” He made three points. The first one was that Narendra Modi was a Hindutva zealot and worker of the RSS. He should therefore be seen as an embodiment of a certain kind of nationalism. Rev. Selvaraj urged the community to remember Ayodhya, Godhra and what happened in Karnataka as well. His second point was on Techno India and Modi’s development paradigm. He reminded the listeners that Gujarat had always been an entrepreneurial state and the development is not because of Modi. What Modi has done is to open Gujarat to the corporate sector and play out his version of corporate globalisation. Finally Rev. David talked of the iron fisted governance of Modi and the collapse of democratic governance. He concluded by asking the question as to what all this meant to Christians.

Veteran journalist Stephen David touched on the origins of the Indian National Congress and tried to draw a parallel with how Allan Octavian Hume and Arvind Kejriwal (AAP) founded their respective parties as a mark of protest against the establishment. The DNA of all political parties are the same although the outer shells vary, he added. 

Contrary to public perception organisations like the RSS have their sympathisers in major political parties beyond the BJP. Politics, today, is about power, position and money and not just service as we are made to believe. Electoral politics today is a multi-crore PR exercise and the major parties have unleashed a huge PR drive. That includes Gujarat and its chief minister and BJP PM candidate too. India Inc especially seems to have thrown its weight behind Modi because of his atleast perceived biz-friendly politics. 

The church or the Christian community needs to embrace the Nazarene mission (Nazareth Manifesto), reaching out to a section of the society that is generally neglected by the mainstream. There is a lot of hype about IT but IT is infotech enabled services. Stephen David quoted one of India's top scientists telling him in an interview that most of the youth are drawn away into these IT enabled services companies seriously affecting the S&T pool. India's IT is more about services than creating products, he said. David encouraged the community to engage with the political process in the country. He felt that people like Modi will come and go but we have to be part of the political process so that people on the margins benefit. India's youth power, the demographic dividend, will be a crucial factor in the coming decades.

Questions from the students and faculty ranged from voting to televangelists and who was the lesser evil in politics. There was a general consensus that the church should involve itself more outside and get its hands dirty. Selvaraj quoted Pope Francis on the "market of tyranny" and "economy of exclusion" and urged the church to engage with the political process in the country, and not just the 2014 electoral politics. He exhorted the audience to look at 2019 as well and begin the process of engagement without much delay.

The session which was moderated by Rev. Dr. David Joy included a welcome by Fr. Jerry Kurian and final comments and vote of thanks by Rev. Dr. Evangeline Anderson Rajkumar.


Tuesday, 18 February, 2014

Discussion on elections in India

There will be a discussion on "Elections in India" tomorrow at 8:50 A.M. in the Ziegenbalg chapel, UTC. The discussion will be initiated by Rev. Dr. David Selvaraj, Executive Director of Visthar and Mr. Stephen David, director of Centre for Contemporary Issues (CCI) and former principal correspondent for India Today's Bangalore Bureau. 

The discussion is expected to go on till 10:00 A.M. and will be extended if needed.


Memorial prayer held for Mr. S.R.J. Sathyakumar

A memorial prayer was held for Mr. S.R.J. Sathyakumar in the chapel yesterday at 7:00 P.M. He died on Sunday and was buried in his hometown yesterday morning. Mr. Sathyakumar is the father of Rev. Dr. Santosh S. Kumar. Mr. Sathyakumar was a teacher, musician and manager of the Sathyanesan group of institutions. Condolences were offered during the prayer by Mr. Rohan Pushparajan (BD IV), Dr. Evangeline Anderson Rajkumar and Dr. Nalini Arles. Mr. Raja Samuel lead the prayer which was attended by the students and faculty members.


Sunday, 16 February, 2014

Sports Day held

The sports day of the UTC was held yesterday from 9 A.M.-3 P.M. in the St. John's ground. The lighting of the lamp was done by the principal, sports faculty advisor Rev. Dr. Jones Muthunayagom, and other faculty members present.

This was followed by the march past and other sports events. The games were conducted over a period of eight months prior to the sports day. The sports co-ordinator Mr. Abu Issac Shalom was ably assisted by several students. The events were conducted with sports person spirit and the participation of students and faculty. The four teams represented were Herrick, Thorpe, Larsen and Devanandan. The Devanandan house won the over all championship.

Pictures courtesy Mr. Calvin Sushith Ambler (BD III)


Thursday, 6 February, 2014

Bible Darshan: Conference Summation


The  Bible Darshan – An International Conference, hosted by the Department of Biblical Studies at  the United Theological College, Bangalore is a unique experiment to be cherished, in the long history of the College. This is particularly because of the distinguished guests and participants, who represented eight different nations (Australia, Germany, Kuwait, Myanmar, Nigeria, UK, Sweden and the host – India). Participants from India represented twelve states (Andra Pradesh, Araunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Kerala, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tamilnadu, Uttar Pradhesh, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal) and one Union territory (Delhi), thus covering North to South and East to West of India.

Under the theme Exploring the New Frontiers for Post-Western Biblical Studies, the conference attempted to challenge biblical scholars in India and in the West to engage with one another, share insights with each other and evolve new frontiers for further research in India/Asia, thereby seeking to engage with texts and contexts for future engagement in the country and beyond.


The long awaited Bible Darshan, an international conference, hosted by the Biblical Studies Department of the United Theological College, deliberating the theme, Exploring New Frontiers for Post-Western Biblical Studies from 30th to Feb.1, 2014 was inaugurated on Jan 30th at 10:00 A.M. in the Ecemenical Resource Centre of the UTC.  The “Lighting of the Lamp”, a symbol of Invitation and Life was initiated through Dr. J. R. John Samuel Raj, Principal, UTC, Dr. Mohan Larbeer, Secretary, BTESSC, Dr. Monica Jyotsna Melanchton, Professor of Old Testament and Secretary, Society of Biblical Studies in Asia (SABS), Dr. Vasanth Rao,  Principal ACTC and President Society for Biblical Studies in Asia (SBSI) and  Dr. David J. Chalcraft, Professor of Old Testament, University of Sheffield, UK. Dr. Dexter S. Maben, Coordinator, Bible Darshan welcomed and introduced the distinguished participants from home and abroad.

Dr. J. R. John Samuel Raj in his inaugural address, extended his greetings and made clear the college's happiness in hosting the conference here. He expressed, “UTC is a meeting point of God’s people.” He added, it is the first ecumenical college in Asia that has journeyed for 104 years till date. It is the place where Shudra Theology and Dalit Theology emerged. It also has an advanced post-graduate and doctoral program under the Serampore University. By the 1970s, UTC became a place for inter-religious studies and dialogue and a very important India-Pakistan dialogue took place in the campus.

Reflecting from 2 Timothy 4: 1-5, the principal talked on perseverance in life. Teachers from around the globe who taught at UTC have always encouraged the students to persevere and carry out the ministry and responsibilities throughout the world.

Instrumental Fusion by the students of UTC brought about a mood of worship and lifted the floor to praise God. The commitment song “God Bless the child”was very powerful.

Under the promising theme Exploring New Frontiers for Post-Western Biblical Studies, there were altogether twenty presentations – six thematic and fourteen papers. The topics were:
·         Sociology and the Study of Cultural Context in Global Biblical Interpretation
·        ‘The Other Side of the Coin’: Some Reflections on Post-Western Re-awakening
·    The Parables of Two Rich Men and a Beggar (Luke 12:16-20 and 16:19-31): Their Relevance for Interpreting the Bible in India Today
·         The Politics of “Invasion” of Greek and the “Demise” of Hebrew of Late Antiquity
·    Holiness School’s Response to economic Injustice in Leviticus 25: It’s Relevance to Multi-religious and Cultural Context of India Today
·         Ephesians Through a Postcolonial Lens
·         Pluralistic Hermeneutics
·         Reading Amos 6:1-7 in the Light of Mizo Values and Ethos
·         Can Anything Come Out of India for New Testament Background?
·         Biblical Concepts and Religious “Other” in India Today
·         The Theme of Ordination in the Pastoral Epistles
·         Nation and Text: Britain, Germany, India and the Bible
·         A Postcolonial Christology Shift in India: Converging Possibilities
·         Biblical Prophets as Transformative Leaders
·         Living in the Perilous Times: An African Reading of 2 Timothy 3:1-5
·         Reading Rizpah Across Borders, Cultures, Belongings
·         Creation and Human Movement: Prolegomena for a Biblical Migrant Hermeneutics
·         A Dialogue between ‘the Eastern’ and ‘the Western’ in New Testament Scholarship: A Proposal
·         “Text, Textures of Life and Diaspora” – A Search for Theoretical Connections
·         Marcan Apocalypse (Collaparian Mark 13) as Jesus; Prescience: A Post-Western Critic

All the presentations and deliberations fulfilled the required objective of the Conference. The need for contextual interpretation of the biblical text, in relation to East and West depicted possibilities for venturing into new dimensions of interpretation without bias. The existential biblical and non-biblical issues including textual, traditional, sociological, theological, exegetical and the like led to conceptualizing, visualizing, realistic, context oriented hermeneutics in a pluralistic reality. All the presentations were moderated by the Faculty members of the UTC. 

On the sidelines…

During the conference, a public reception in honour of all the delegates was organized on the 31st evening, which was set apart especially for visitors to experience and explore the rich and colorful India with varied traditional performances, depicting regional culture through folk songs, dances, and plays. Various individuals and groups represented different regions of the country with their excelling and captivating performances. It was presided over by Rt. Rev. Dr. G. Devakadasham, President, UTC Society and Bishop in the CSI Kanyakumari Diocese. The main address was delivered by Rt. Rev. Dr. J.S.  Sadananda, Bishop CSI Karnataka Southern Diocese and Master, Serampore College (University). The visitors were provided with an opportunity to have a glimpse of the garden city of Bangalore, with a Bangalore City tour, which was arranged for visitors after the Conference, as part of experiencing a part of India.

One of the salient features of the conference, is the fact, that is was organized and supported by local resources, once again challenging us all to rethink the notion of dependency and to explore the potential capacity of local resources. The other feature was the outstanding and exceptional participation of all post-graduate students of biblical studies at UTC, who through their creativity, discipline and hard work, contributed immensely to the hosting of the conference.

It is hoped that this dialogical process of scholarship and engagement will foster new frontiers and provide new vistas in the future. The Department is working towards the publication of the papers and thanks one and all.

Tuesday, 4 February, 2014

Prayer held for Nido Taniam

 Picture courtesy
A memorial prayer was held in the chapel yesterday at 1:00 P.M. for Nido Taniam, who was subjected to a brutal assault by certain shopkeepers in Delhi after a altercation which started over Nido being made fun of for his looks. The prayer attended by several students and faculty members emphasised on why it is important to not just pray and remember Nido but to change our racist mind set and include every citizen of this country in what we do. The prayer reminded everyone that we have to love each other and celebrate our differences. Dr. Evangeline lead the prayer and was assited by Mr. Raja Samuel.

Mr. Rochhuahthanga Jongte (RC, MTh II) gave a reflection on the murder which has highlighted the plight of women and men from different states of North East India. He said, ""Many of us in India have made “difference” a crime. What was Nido’s crime? Being different was his crime. Different from whom? Different from the majority who dictates what it means to be normal. To those people, to be different is a sin! Jesus lived, worked and died for the cause of building a colourful society, yet evil forces are interested only in a single unified colour!" He further said "My blood boils, I shiver out of anger... (May be it's too early to come to a conclusion, which I really don't care much)...but this I will say, in Bangalore I've been mocked at even by children...why? BECAUSE I AM DIFFERENT...different from whom? The so-called "mainland" Indians, which implies that we Northeasterners are not of the mainland...I still remember the infamous episode which is reffered to as the Northeast Exodus in 2012... The authorities claim that the sms threats and the rumours were "false," ok fine, let's accept that they are false indeed, but I will tell you one thing that's truly real, and which results in the massive exodus...that is FEAR, my friend. The FEAR was REAL !!"

This was followed by Jongte's final tribute when he said "Adios, Nido Taniam! May your soul rest in peace and may God's peace be with all those dear to you... At least in the New Heaven and the New Earth IT WOULDN'T BE A CRIME TO HAVE BLONDE HAIR OR TO BE DIFFERENT FROM THE MAJORITY WHO DICTATES WHAT IT MEANS TO BE NORMAL...THERE WE WILL NOT BE KILLED, DISCRIMINATED AND MOCKED AT JUST BECAUSE WE HAVE DIFFERENTLY-SHAPED NOSE OR EYES, OR BECAUSE WE HAILED FROM A DIFFERENT REGION WHICH UNFORTUNATELY IS NOT NOT WELL-KNOWN OR RICH OR POWERFUL !!IS IT A SIN TO BE DIFFERENT OR NOT TO BE POWERFUL??" and "Let this be our remembrance of Nido Taniam – to strive for a colourful society, a rainbow nation, where having differently-shaped noses or eyes is no longer a crime worthy of death penalty. May Nido’s death due to his difference open our eyes to see the beauty and joy of difference and celebrate life in all its colourful beauty. Rest in peace Nido Taniam, and may the rest of us start living and fighting!"


Monday, 3 February, 2014

Bible Darshan International Bible Conference held in UTC

The international biblical seminar conducted by the Biblical Studies Department of the UTC was held on January 30, 31 and February 1, 2014 in the Ecumenical Resource Centre. The programme was inaugurated by the principal, Rev. Dr. John Samuel Raj, Dr. David Chalcraft, Sheffield University, Rev. Dr. Mohan Larbeer, Secretary BTESSC, Rev. Dr. Monica Melanchton, Professor, United Faculty of Theology, Melbourne and Rev. Dr. Vasant Rao, Principal of ACTC.

The following twenty papers were presented during the course of the three day conference.
(1) “Sociology and the Study of Cultural Context in Global Biblical Interpretation” by Dr. David J. Chalcraft, Sheffield University, UK. Moderator: Dr. Daniel Jones Muthunayagom
(2) “‘The Other Side of the Coin’: Some Reflections on Post-Western Reawakening” by Dr. J. G. Muthuraj, UTC, Bangalore. Moderator: Dr. Gudrun Löwner
(3) “The Parables of Two Rich Men and a Beggar (Luke 12:16-20 and 16:19-31): Their Relevance for Interpreting the Bible in India Today” by Dr. V. J. John, Bishop’s College, Kolkota. Moderator: Dr. M. O. John
(4) “The Politics of ‘Invasion’ of Greek and the ‘Demise’ of Hebrew of Late Antiquity” by Dr. Royce M. Victor, KUTS, Trivandrum. Moderator: Dr. Evangeline Anderson Rajkumar
(5) “Holiness School’s Response to Economic Injustice in Leviticus 25: Its Relevance to Multi-religious and Cultural Context of India Today” by Dr. P. Joseph Titus, Bangalore. Moderator: Dr. Vasant Rao
(6) “Ephesians through a Postcolonial Lens” by Dr. Jayachitra Lalitha. Moderator: Dr. Lalrinawmi Ralte
(7) “Nation and Text: Britain, India and the Bible” by Dr. Hugh S. Pyper, Sheffield University, UK. Moderator: Dr. Joseph George
(8) “A Postcolonial Christological Shift in India: Converging Possibilities” by Dr. C. I. David Joy, UTC, Bangalore. Moderator: Rev. J. Jeyakumar
(9) “Biblical Prophets as Transformative Leaders” by Dr. Joy Philip Kakkanattu. Dr. Sahayadhas
(10) “Living in the Perilous Times: An African Reading of 2 Tim. 3:1-5″ by Dr. Olubiyi Adewale, Laos, Nigeria. Moderator: Dr. Nalini Arles
(11) “Pluralistic Hermeneutics” by Dr. Cherian Thomas, ECC, Bangalore. Moderator: Sr. Dr. Rani Joseph Mary Shruti
(12) “Reading Amos 6:1-7 in the Light of the Mizo Values and Ethos” by Dr. K. Lallawmzua, Aizwal. Moderator: Dr. Jacob
(13) “Can Anything Good Come out of India for New Testament Background?” by Dr. Sam P. Mathew, Allahabad. Moderator: Fr. Jerry Kurian
(14) “Biblical Concepts and the Religious ‘Other’ in India Today” by Ms. Anita Yadala Suneson, Uppsala, Sweden. Moderator: Mrs. Geetha Basappa
(15) “The Theme of Ordination in the Pastoral Epistles” by Dr. Reji Mathew, OTS, Kottayam. Moderator: Dr. J. R. John Samuel Raj
(16) “Reading Rizpah Across Borders, Cultures, Belongings” by Dr. Monica Jyotsna Melanchton, Melbourne, Australia. Moderator: Dr. George Zachariah
(17) “Creation and Human Movement: Prolegomena for a Biblical Migrant Hermeneutics” by Dr. Andreas Kunz-Löbcke, Hermansburg, Germany. Moderator: Dr. Mervin Shinoj Boaz
(18) “A Dialogue between the ‘Eastern’ and the ‘Western’ in New Testament Scholarship: A Proposal” by Rev. (Dr.) Johnson Thomaskutty, UBS, Pune. Moderator: Dr. Abraham Saggu
(19) “Text, Textures of Life and Diaspora: A Search for Theoretical Connections” by Rev. Sam Koshy, Kuwait City. Moderator: Dr. Allan Samuel Palanna
(20) “Marcan Apocalypse (Collapsarian Mark 13) as Jesus’ Prescience: A Post-western Critic” by Rev. G. Soleman, Salem. Moderator: Rev. J. Chellappa Packiaraj