In protestant theological institutions: a critical appraisal of contextual challenges in kerala, india jessy jaison b b s., M d



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WOMEN TRAINING

IN PROTESTANT THEOLOGICAL INSTITUTIONS:

A CRITICAL APPRAISAL OF CONTEXTUAL CHALLENGES IN KERALA, INDIA

JESSY JAISON B B S., M Div., M Th.

Thesis for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph D)


The Faculty of Humanities (Institute of Theology)

The Queen’s University of Belfast

May 2008

QUEEN'S UNIVERSITY BELFAST

DECLARATION FORM FOR

SUBMISSION OF HIGHER DEGREE BY RESEARCH

I declare that




  1. The thesis is not one for which a degree has been or will be conferred by any other university or institution;




  1. The thesis is not one for which a degree has already been conferred by this University;




  1. The work for the thesis is my own work and that, where material submitted by me for another degree or work undertaken by me as part of a research group has been incorporated into the thesis, the extent of the work thus incorporated has been clearly indicated.




  1. The composition of the thesis is my own work.

Signed:
Date:



QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY BELFAST
TO THE UNIVERSITY LIBRARIAN
Please complete and/or delete as appropriate.
I give permission for my thesis entitled:
WOMEN TRAINING IN PROTESTANT THEOLOGICAL INSTITUTIONS: A CRITICAL APPRAISAL OF CONTEXTUAL CHALLENGES IN KERALA, INDIA.

to be made available (a) forthwith



  1. after a period of THREE (maximum period of 5 year)

for consultation by readers in the University Library, to be sent away on temporary loan if asked for by other institutions, or to be photocopied and/or microfilmed and/or electronically reproduced in whole or in part, under regulations determined by the Library and Information Services Committee.


Name JESSY JAISON
Home Address:
NEW INDIA BIBLE SEMINARY,

PALLICKACHIRAKAVALA POST,

CHANGANACHERRY, KERALA

PIN CODE 686 537, INDIA
Signature of Candidate:
Date ……………………... 2008
NB Authors of theses should note that giving this permission does not in anyway prejudice their rights.
To be complete by Internal Examiner
CERTIFICATION OF ACCEPTED THESIS
I hereby certify that this is the accepted copy of the thesis (and attached data, where appropriate) which is to be placed in the University Library.

Internal Examiner: ……………………


Date: ……...……………………

ABSTRACT
While liberationist perspectives in feminism have galvanized much attention in theological education in the past 20-30 years around the world, Kerala, India stands as a ‘different case’ with its inherited cultural biases. Theological seminaries in Kerala default to an unhealthy hierarchical attitude and structure in spite of the influx of women in seminaries and the remarkable educational development of women in society at large. This study investigates the cultural and ecclesiastical challenges of women students and attempts to make a hermeneutical inquiry into the theological and cultural issues involved. Having incorporated the relevant methodological contributions of feminist scholarship, the research followed a practical theological approach based on a social scientific methodology in which diverse constituencies in seminaries provided the data.
The research identified hidden cultural and theological factors that reinforced the marginalisation of women and that resulted in most women students having only very low expectations. It demonstrated that seminaries in Kerala not only failed to be cohesive and cogent in corresponding to the experiences and aspirations of and limitations put upon women, but also lacked both a theological vision and the openness to see the decisive role of theology in advocating transformation. The study proposes a theological-cultural hermeneutical equilibrium as exemplified in the Scripture and grounded in practical theology. The transformational mission of seminaries, however, should be gradual rather than abrupt, in order to prevent chaos and a further alienation of the women constituency while at the same time facilitating sustainable organizational learning. Theological education should hence become a transformative discursive praxis that critically reviews the contextual struggles of students. Despite the geographical limitation of the research, this thesis will have an extensive utility in similar contexts in Asia and elsewhere not only to theological schools but also to course designers, accrediting agencies and policy makers.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I dedicate this thesis to the glory of God, the source of all wisdom.
My heartfelt thanks are also due to,


  • Dr. Graham Cheesman, the Director of the Centre for Theological Education in Belfast Bible College (BBC) and my principal supervisor, for his exceptional sense of commitment as a theological educator and the sincere academic support extended to me all through the research.

  • Dr. David Emmanuel Singh (Oxford Centre for Mission Studies), the external examiner of this thesis, for his professional analysis and commendation on this work.

  • Dr. Myrtle Hill (School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work- Gender Studies, Queen’s University of Belfast (QUB), the internal examiner, for her proficient analysis of the methodology and recognition of the cross-disciplinary approach and contributions of this research.

  • Professor Hugh Magennis, the Director of the Institute of Theology at QUB for his commendable support during all the major academic events related to this research and Ms. Kim Mahon, the Secretary for Theology for her selfless assistance in every formal procedure of the course.

  • Dr. James McKeown (my second supervisor), Dr. David Shepherd (Principal, BBC), Dr. Robert Keay (the Senior Advisor of Studies for Theology at QUB) and all the academic and administrative staff in Belfast Bible College for their unreserved support for this research.

  • Dr. Brian Marshall (Oxford Brookes University), Dr. Heather Morris (Edgehill College, Belfast), Dr. Karen Trew (School of Psychology, Queens University), Dr. Clifford Stevenson (Irish Studies, Queens University) for sharing their academic expertise at various stages of my research, especially for the empirical research design.

  • Dr. V J Samkutty (All Nations Christian College), and Dr. Sharon Heron (my colleague and friend) for their academic reflections on my work.

  • All my students in India, especially at the New India Bible Seminary, Kerala for inspiring me to learn more closely on people’s cultural struggles

  • The Principals, Deans and students in all the sample institutions and the theologically trained women for their sincere cooperation in the gathering of empirical data.

  • Dr. Siga Arles, the Director of Indian Institute of Missiology, for his invaluable suggestions.

  • The library staff at- the Belfast Bible College and Queen’s University. In India- The United Theological College, South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies, Gospel for Asia Biblical Seminary and Faith Theological Seminary.

  • Belfast Bible College for funding my stay and research.

  • The Ballee Baptist Church, Pastor Lawrence Kennedy and all my friends there.

  • My parents and all my prayer partners without whose constant support, this research would not have been possible.

  • Abraham and Aquil, whose love, fun and responsible lifestyle have been a great blessing to me all through these days of my hard work.

  • Jaison, who has been my closest friend in my theological journey up to Ph D. I will never be able to thank him for being such a great source of encouragement to me in family and ministry.


LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
AETEI Association of Evangelical Theological Education in India

AFER African Ecclesial Review

ATESEA Association of Theological Education in South East Asia

ATS Association of Theological Schools

ATTWI Association of Theologically Trained Women in India

BD Bachelor of Divinity

BTE Board of Theological Education

BTE-SSC Board of Theological Education- The Senate of Serampore College

B Th Bachelor of Theology

CSWI Committee on the Status of Women in India

EATWOT Ecumenical Association of the Third World Theologians

EEAA European Evangelical Accrediting Association

ES Episcopal Seminaries

ICAA International Council of Accrediting Agencies

ICETE International Council of Evangelical Theological Education

ICSSR Indian Council of Social Science Research

INATE International Network in Advanced Theological Education

ISST Indian Institute of Social Studies

LMS London Missionary Society

M Th Master of Theology

NCCI National Council of Churches in India

NES Non-Episcopal Seminaries

RCWS Research Centre for Women’s Studies

SAIACS South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies

TAFTEE The Association of Theological Education by Extension

TBT Theological Book Trust

TE Theological Education

TEF Theological Education Fund

TTS Tamil Nadu Theological Seminary

UGC University Grants Commission

UK United Kingdom

UNESCO United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organization

US United States

UTC United Theological College

WCC World Council of Churches

WEA World Evangelical Alliance

WHO World Health Organization

WIA Women India Association

WOCATI World Conference of Associations of Theological Institutions

LIST OF TABLES
Table 1- Men-Women Distribution in Sample Institutions 2005-’06 139

Table 2- Responses on Acceptance of Women Students in Training 141 Table 3- Responses of Seminary Leadership on Church’s Lethargy

towards Women’s Ministry 142

Table 4- Responses of Leaders on Factors Affecting Full Acceptance

of Women in Training 143

Table 5- Responses Supporting the Secondary Status of Women

in Theological Education 145

Table 6- Responses Regarding Marriage, Family and Safety concerns 146

Table 7- Men’s Views on the Possible Ministries of Women 152

Table 8- Men’s Assessment of the Current Status of Women in Seminaries 153

Table 9- Men Students’ Definitions of a Virtuous Woman 154

Table 10- Factors Motivating Women to Join Theological Education

According to Men Students 155




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