Contextual Palestinian Theology: a Search for Identity

May 2011 - Jan 2004

MA Thesis; History of Religion, University of Oslo.

The dwindling Palestinian Christian minority in Israel/Palestine has the last twenty years been subjected to several changes. Firstly, there has been a 'palestinianisation' of the clergy which has led to a more politically engaged church. Secondly, Christianity in Israel/Palestine has been most famous for its, often violent, internal strives. Nowadays, the ecumenical work is at the front, leading church leaders to speak of 'one local church'. 'The Church' in Israel/Palestine is indeed a very fragmented body, a microcosm of contemporary Christianity, representing nearly all excisting churches in the world; the Orthodox, the Catholics and the different protestant denominations share this small piece of land with the Muslim and Jewish majorities. 'The Church' in Israel/Palestine today face many problems and emigration is by far the biggest. Hundred years ago the Christians situated 10 % of the population, now they are down to 2-3 % of the population. Many fled in the 1948 and 1967- wars but the problems due to Israeli occupation and severe economical challenges, continue to create reasons to leave. Church leaders, from different denominations, have come together to discuss the problems facing their communities. This has led to the development of a local ecumenical theology that seeks to strengthen the identity of the Palestinian Christian, engage in dialogue with their Muslim brethern and to perform a united stand in favour of the 'Palestine question'. This thesis seeks to examine the political aspects of this particular theology.

Supervisors: Kari Vogt, University of Oslo; Greg Reichberg, PRIO


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