Dr Peniel is an excellent guide through the complexities of the caste system and its enduring potency in the India of today. The central concern of Dalit theology is with the Dalit people, who used to be called Untouchables, and who are still a vast number of poor, despised and underprivileged people. This is an important, relevant, and disturbing book. It should be widely read, and responded to.
Duncan B. Forrester, Edinburgh, UK
Peniel Rufus’ incisive dismantling and insightful reconstruction of Dalit theology is a fresh and compelling contribution both to local and global theologies. Drawing creative synergy from his discontentment with Dalit Theology’s apathy toward everyday liberative praxis, Rufus brilliantly re-interprets the synoptic healing stories to engender committed and concrete emancipatory patterns for overcoming caste-based discrimination in India. This is a passionate, original, constructive and courageous book. No one interested in Indian theology can afford to bypass this remarkable book.
Sathianathan Clarke, Wesley Theological Seminary, USA
Preface; Introduction: Answering some questions – the why, what and how of Dalit theology; Questioning some answers – critical analysis of Dalit theology; The way forward; A Christian ethical framework of action. Reading for Liberation: Revisiting Dalit Christology; Rethinking agency, re-signifying resistance; Re-configuring Dalit praxis – re-imagining the other; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.
In many ways this is the book on Dalit theology that those of us working in the area of liberation hermeneutics have been waiting for. Liberation theology and liberation hermeneutics do not occupy the scholarly or activist space they used to, and so it is even more important at this moment in world history that those of us working in the area intensify efforts and collaborate with each other, serving both our own contexts and other sites of struggle. Peniel Rufus' books makes a significant contribution, interrogating as it does the interface between Dalit theology and the praxis of the Indian (largely Dalit) church. Here in South Africa we have witnessed a similar failure in the 'practical efficacy' of liberation theologies. We have much to learn from this book, both because of the similarities between our struggles and their struggles, but also because of the differences. The Dalit struggle provides certain unique elements around which to do theology and develop praxis, and so this book offers us fresh perspectives from which to reflect on our and other contexts of struggle.
Gerald West, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa