The Translational Fabric of Mission and Culture

Engaging Cross-Cultural Theologies on Translation


  • Norbert Hintersteiner University of Münster



World Christianity, Mission, Culture, History, Cross-Cultural Theology, Intercultural Theology, Translation, Translation Theory, Cross-Cultural Translation, Adaptation, Assimilation, Inculturation, Contextual Theology, Cultural Semiotics, Andrew Walls


Within theological circles Robert J. Schreiter stands out for his extensive culture theory and theology engagement. Interestingly, therein, the area of cultural translation has not figured prominently in his scholarship, despite having enjoyed a certain pride of place at the times of his early career, both in mission studies and in cultural semiotics, his favorite theory of culture. What is suggested here then is to review the missional discourse of cross-cultural translation (Andrew Walls, Lamin Sanneh and Kwame Bediako), on the one hand, and its critiques from contextual theology (Stephan Bevans and Robert Schreiter) on the other, explaining his reservation. Additionally, the essay elaborates on translation in cultural semiotics (Yuri Lotman) and recent translation studies with its foundational as well as fluid concept of translation, not dissimilar to Schreiter's understanding of globalized culture, suggesting it as potential terrain for future theologies of crosscultural translation.

Author Biography

Norbert Hintersteiner, University of Münster

Norbert Hintersteiner is Professor of World Christianity / Missiology and the Study of Theologies Beyond Europe at the University of Muenster, Germany (since 2013). His research interests focus on Christianity in Asia, cross-cultural theologies, comparative theology and interreligious translation in the Indo-Persian world.


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How to Cite

Hintersteiner, N. (2019). The Translational Fabric of Mission and Culture: Engaging Cross-Cultural Theologies on Translation. Interreligious Studies and Intercultural Theology, 3(1-2), 30–46.