The Bible through the Eyes of “the Others” – Teaching Visual Arts and Intercultural Theology

The occasional attempts to break through the text centeredness of western academic theology and to propagate a theology of the image are adopted here in intercultural perspective as an innovative program. The rich reservoir of images of Jesus produced in colonial as well as postcolonial contexts of the missionary expansion of Christianity contains contextual Christologies avant la letter. In times of globalization also of the art worlds the analysis of these visual identity reconstructions of local Christianities in Asia, Africa and Latin America at the same time provides categories to encounter the contemporary art scenes in these regions. These art worlds share in a fractured approach to the cultural-religious heritage and the aftermath of colonialism as well as to the search for one’s own identity. The paper introduces a theoretical framework how to categorize and interpret this phenomenon that has found its form in complex interaction-processes with local iconographies and religions. It also exemplifies this by interpreting images of Jesus from different historical and cultural backgrounds. In a nutshell: the subject invites multiple innovative, interdisciplinary and intercultural cross-overs.