A major project designed to preserve the historical role of Christianity in South Asia is currently underway through the effort of a team of scholars. The end product will be the Dictionary on South Asian Christianity (DSAC), slated for release in 2006.
Dr. Roger E. Hedlund, who is based in Chennai, India is heading the ecumenical project, which will receive scholarly contributions from various scholars of Christianity, including Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and independents experts in various fields, according to South Asian Religious News.
Hedlund says that Christianity has an integral role in nation building and socioeconomic development throughout South Asia. The project director says it will enhance Christianity there, despite religious extremism that has led to a disregard of the impact of Christianity on the history and culture of South Asia.
"Human rights are violated, and the historic presence and contributions of Christians are deliberately ignored. Against this trend, the dictionary will present a witness and defense of the Gospel," Hedlund said.
The 1000 page DSAC will be a mini-encyclopedia that will provide reference to a wide audience about the history, key personalities, diversity of expressions, and important contributions of Christianity in the South Asia region, according to the project website.
The publisher, the Institute for Indigenous Studies Mylapore, hopes that lay people will find the book informative, with a broad scope, that theological students and scholars will find references for class topics and articles, and that missiologists and religious specialists will find information on contemporary discussions in the region.
The dictionary will be written by with a South Asian perspective with an editorial board of seven scholars to guide the project.
Also, regional and country editors will work to compile the contents, while a project team will organize writers' workshops throughout the South Asia region, reports SAR news.
The book's makers envision theological institutions from around the world using the DSAC as an ecumenical, missiological and historical tool.