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Synoptic healing stories : a relevant Biblical paradigm for Christian Dalit theology

Rajkumar, Peniel Jesudason Rufus (2006) Synoptic healing stories : a relevant Biblical paradigm for Christian Dalit theology. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94600) (KAR id:94600)


The thesis offers and explores the synoptic healing stories as a relevant biblical paradigm for Dalit theology in order to help redress the lacuna between Dalit theology and the praxis of the Indian Church. Through a critical analysis of Dalit theology possible reasons for the practical inefficacy of Dalit theology are postulated. The argument for the synoptic healing stories as an appropriate biblical paradigm is made on the basis of their ability to resonate and address the issue of discrimination based on notions of purity and pollution (which are argued to be foundational for the discrim ination against the Dalits), as well as their potential to offer a praxis-oriented corrective to Dalit theology.

As an alternative biblical paradigm the synoptic healing stories offer scope for constructing an ethical framework, which can aid both a Christian response to discrim ination and an engagem ent in socio-political action. Four features prevalent in the stories, Touch (understood as defiance of the purity code), Faith (prevalent in the form of initiative and persistence), Compassion and Conflict / Confrontation constitute this ethical framework. Through an analysis of the interplay of these features in select stories certain principles of practice, applicable to the Dalit situation, are identified. An integral aspect of m ost of these practical principles is the imperative to contest any form of consent to the prevailing status quo.

W hen deriving principles for action from the synoptic healing stories corresponding examples from Dalit secular politics, which have significantly influenced the struggle for Dalit liberation and contributed to social transform ation, are drawn in order to endorse the practicability of these principles. In the light of their ability to: a) espouse issues integral to Dalit liberation, b) provide relevant paradigms for action, and c) offer a constructive critique of Dalit theology, it is concluded that the synoptic healing stories can be a relevant biblical paradigm for Dalit theology, which can help reduce the lacuna between Dalit theology and praxis.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Gill, Robin
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94600
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2022 16:42 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2022 16:42 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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