Fortress Press

Intercultural Christology in John's Gospel: A Subaltern Reading from India

Intercultural Christology in John's Gospel

A Subaltern Reading from India

Biju Chacko (Author)


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Christology with a planetary vision, blurring the boundaries and breaking the rhetoric of polarities of domination and exclusion, is the need of the hour. It is only by taking seriously these two dimensions (intercultural and subaltern) that christological articulations can be made intelligible, understandable, and relevant. Intercultural Christology in John's Gospel unravels the intercultural intersections and subaltern dimensions of John's Christology.

John's Christology, crossing the boundaries of traditional Messianic categories of Judaism, even while echoing those traditions in an intercultural milieu, and creating a hybrid space of "inter" by blurring the categories of "above" and "below," gives an impetus for developing such new expressions in any given subaltern context. Christological articulation in John has a multidimensional orientation: toward God, world, and life. Therefore, John's Christology could be termed a Christology with a planetary vision.

John's Gospel articulates its Christology through an intercultural route from a subaltern negotiating space. The Johannine Messiah is a subaltern Messiah, and the Johannine community is a subaltern community. The evangelist is not the one who collaborated with the colonizers. Therefore, the text cannot be treated as a colonial document, as some of the postcolonial readers do. Rather the evangelist resists and disrupts, even while resonating with the surrounding linguistic and conceptual milieu. Therefore, a hermeneutical framework of intercultural resonance and subaltern subversive rhetoric is a key to unlock the Gospel. Such a hermeneutical approach is a viable option in any subaltern context.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506480695
  • eBook ISBN 9781506480701
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 235
  • Publication Date July 19, 2022


"Decolonizing Christology through subaltern and intercultural rereading of the Fourth Gospel is a fascinating work of academic brilliance and political commitment that Biju Chacko has accomplished through this groundbreaking book. Exploring the intercultural resonance and subaltern subversive rhetoric of John's Gospel, the book identifies this Gospel as one of resistance that emerged from a subaltern community, contesting and destabilizing the scripts and imaginations of the empire. Privileging the intercultural and subaltern context and ethos of the Johannine community, the book revisions Christ as a subaltern Messiah and proposes a planetary Christology. This book is a tutorial on christological counterimaginations and an essential resource for theological and praxeological mediations to create a world less contaminated by ideologies and practices of exploitation, domination, and exclusion."

George Zachariah, Wesley Lecturer in Theological Studies, Trinity Methodist Theological College, Auckland, New Zealand

"This is a fascinating study of key passages in the Gospel of John and the type of Messiah we find there. Biju Chacko pushes back against the claim that the Gospel is colonialist in its orientation and instead engages in a creative, subaltern reading. His approach encourages us to pay attention to biblical interpretation from the margins and rethink some of our long-standing assumptions about these foundational narratives. I recommend this book for anyone interested in the contours of the Gospel of John, messianism, and the importance of global diversity when it comes to hermeneutical approaches."

Samuel L. Adams, Mary Jane and John F. McNair Chair of Biblical Studies and Professor of Old Testament, Union Presbyterian Seminary, Richmond, Virginia

"Dr. Biju Chacko in this book interrogates the general presentation of John's Christology in a rather straightforward colonial or anti-colonial polarity. Instead of this polarity, he explores the possibility of perceiving a paradoxical, and yet possible, intercultural and strategically subaltern positioning of John's Christology with a planetary vision."

Simon Samuel, Principal, New Theological College, Dehradun, India

"Interpreting Jesus through a postcolonial reading is so common in Indian christological discourse that few have taken time to seriously challenge many of its underlying assumptions and interpretative analysis. Yet, Chacko in Intercultural Christology in John's Gospel has raised a range of crucial questions which should not be ignored. He effectively critiques and disrupts the 'post-colonial' reading of Jesus and, in its place, beckons us into a more nuanced, liminal space where intercultural and subaltern meet one another in fresh ways, resolving many of the historic tensions in John's Gospel. In the process, Chacko has given us some fresh hermeneutical lenses that reflect a Johannine Christology which is both locally intelligible and globally viable."

Timothy C. Tennent, President, Professor of World Christianity, Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky

"This monograph brings together the intercultural context, the messianic tradition, and the subaltern negotiating space of the Fourth Gospel to foreground its christological framework. Dr. Biju Chacko suggests understanding the Gospel from the perspective of the subaltern and the colonized. He further states that the Johannine narrator employs an idiosyncratic style and a new rhetoric to articulate his hermeneutical artistry. I believe that as a thoroughly researched and carefully written monograph, it will be a helpful resource in the field of Johannine studies."

Johnson Thomaskutty, Professor of New Testament, The United Theological College, Bangalore, India

"Critically exploring the intercultural dimension of the Johannine Christology from a subaltern location of resistance, Biju Chacko fills the gap left unexplored in the study of the Fourth Gospel. The study uniquely contributes, going beyond the narrow theological interest in John's Christology. It makes John's resistant and discursive voice heard aloud from the hybrid cultural location of Ephesus as never before, helping us articulate a biblical paradigm relevant for Indian christological reconstruction today. I congratulate Biju for the remarkable contribution he makes through the thesis carefully crafted with compelling arguments and irrefutable pieces of evidence."

Roji Thomas George, Professor of New Testament, South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies, Bangalore, India