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Open AccessArticle

Inculturation, Anthropology, and the Empirical Dimension of Evangelization

Department of Sociology and Anthropology, College of Social Sciences and Development (CSSD) and Research Management Office (RMO), Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), Manila 403217, Philippines
Religions 2020, 11(2), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11020101
Received: 18 November 2019 / Revised: 30 December 2019 / Accepted: 6 January 2020 / Published: 23 February 2020
Using anthropological and theological perspectives and secondary literature, this paper argues that the scientific study of culture by professional anthropologists and social scientists is an essential component in the Catholic Church’s mission of evangelization through inculturation. Inculturation, the process of inserting the Christian message in society, requires scientific discernment to know which cultural traits are compatible with or contrary to the Christian faith, requiring anthropological training and active collaboration between theologians and professional anthropologists. Evangelization has incarnational and empirical dimensions when inserting the Gospel in human cultures. A genuine evangelization of cultures must be firmly rooted in the empirical reality of local cultures. The philosophical and theological orientation of many inculturationists and missionaries may sufficiently address the metaphysical dimension of the Christian faith, but not its empirical aspect when preached and adapted to human behavior in society, which entails scientific ethnographic research and active dialogue among clerics, missionaries, and social scientists. View Full-Text
Keywords: Catholicism; culture; inculturation; evangelization; anthropology; ethnographic research; Christian faith; Vatican II; anthropology of religion Catholicism; culture; inculturation; evangelization; anthropology; ethnographic research; Christian faith; Vatican II; anthropology of religion
MDPI and ACS Style

Ballano, V. Inculturation, Anthropology, and the Empirical Dimension of Evangelization. Religions 2020, 11, 101.

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