This opening article offers an introduction to the theme of this special issue of Exchange: Jesus traditions and masculinities in world Christianity. Highlighting the historical trajectory of feminist theological debates on the maleness of Jesus Christ and its implications for configurations of gender (read: the position of women) in Christian traditions, the article particularly explores two recent developments: first, the critical discussion in academic, theological and ecumenical circles of men and masculinities in contemporary Christian contexts, and second, the growing body of scholarship on the masculinity (or better, masculinities) of Jesus Christ in the New Testament in relation to masculinities in the early Christian era. Building on these debates and this scholarship, the article identifies a new and critical field of inquiry that explores the complex and productive relationships between the ambiguous and unstable masculinity/ies of Jesus Christ and the multiple and changing masculinities that are found today in the local contexts of an increasingly diverse global Christianity.
S.B. Boyd‘Trajectories in Men’s Studies in Religion: Theories, Methodologies, and Issues’Journal of Men’s Studies7/2 (1999) 265-268; S.B. Boyd W.M. Longwood and M.W. Muesse (eds.) Redeeming Men: Religion and Masculinities Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press 1996; B. Krondorfer (ed.) Men’s Bodies Men’s Gods. Male Identities in a (Post-) Christian Culture New York: New York University Press 1996; B. Krondorfer (ed.) Men and Masculinities in Christianity and Judaism: A Critical Reader London: scm Press 2009; B. Krondorfer and P. Culbertson ‘Men’s Studies in Religion’ in: L. Jones (ed.) Encyclopedia of Religion Detroit and New York: Macmillan second edition 2004 5861-5866; M.T. Wacker and S. Rieger-Goertz (eds.) Mannsbilder: Kritische Männerforschung und theologische Frauenforschung im Gespräch Münster: lit Verlag 2006; H. Walz and D. Plüss (eds.) Theologie und Geschlecht: Dialoge Querbet Münster: lit Verlag 2008.
Cf. E. Chitando‘A New Man for a New Era: Zimbabwean Pentecostalism, Masculinities and the HIV Epidemic’Missionalia35/3 (2007) 112-127; J.E. Soothill Gender Social Change and Spiritual Power: Charismatic Christianity in Ghana Leiden: Brill 2007 181-218; A.S. van Klinken ‘St. Joachim as a Model of Catholic Manhood in Times of aids: A Case Study on Masculinity in an African Christian Context’ CrossCurrents 61/4 (2011) 467-479; A.S. van Klinken ‘The Politics of Biblical Manhood: A Critical Study on Masculinity Politics and Biblical Hermeneutics in a Zambian Pentecostal Church’ in: M.R. Gunda (ed.) Bible and Politics in Africa Bamberg: Bamberg University Press 2012 (forthcoming).
I.A. Phiri‘Major Challenges for African Women Theologians in Theological Education (1989-2008)’International Review of Mission98/1 (2009) 107. See also E. Chitando and S. Chirongoma ‘Challenging Masculinities: Religious Studies Men and hiv in Africa’ Journal of Constructive Theology 14/1 (2008) 55-69. For a survey see A.S. van Klinken ‘Transforming Masculinities Towards Gender Justice in an Era of hiv and aids: Plotting the Pathways’ in: B. Haddad (ed.) Religion and hiv and aids: Charting the Terrain Scottsville: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press 2011 275-296.