Jesudas Mathew Athyal

Athyal Jesudas portraitDr. Jesudas Matthew Athyal is a Visiting Researcher with the center. He has extensive teaching and research experience in the areas of Philosophy, Theology, Religion and Social Analysis. He specializes in the religion and society of South Asia, and is the Acquisitions Editor for Fortress Press in the Area of South Asian Theology. Email:


University of Poona, Pune, Maharashtra, India; Ph. D. in Philosophy (1992) University of Kerala, Maharajas College, Kerala, India; M. A. in Philosophy (1982) University of Kerala, N.S.S. Hindu College, Kerala, India; B. A. in Philosophy (1980)

Work Experience:

Currently,          Visiting Researcher, Center for Global Christianity & Mission, Boston University School of Theology, Boston, MA

Currently,          Acquiring Editor, South Asian Theology, Fortress Press

Currently,          Editor, “Shapers of Ecumenical Theology Series,” Fortress Press

2009-2010         Associate, Boston Theological Institute, Newton, MA

2008-2009        Senior Research Fellow, Pluralism Project (Harvard University, Cambridge, MA)

2003 – 2008    Associate Professor of Social Analysis & Philosophy, Gurukul Lutheran Theological College, Chennai, India

1999 – 2003     Registrar, Academy of Ecumenical Indian Theology, Chennai, India

1998 – 1999      Resident Member, Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, NJ & Visiting Lecturer, Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ

Positions & Membership in Institutions:

  • Co-chair, Hindu – Christian Dialogue, National Council of Churches of Christ (USA) (currently)
  • President, New England & Canadian Maritimes Region, American Academy of Religion (2015)
  • Advisory Board member, “Enduring Questions” series, ABC-CLIO (2013).
  • Executive Editor, The Meeting Point (New York: Christian Institute for South Asiamerican Concerns)
  • American Academy of Religion (1998 onwards)
  • Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, NJ (1998 onwards)
  • Mylapore Institute of Indigenous Studies, India (2000 onwards)

Research Projects:

2014: Collaborative International Research Grant awarded by the American Academy of Religion’s (AAR) International Connections Committee for, “A Comparative Study of the Identity and Social Distinctions among Indian Christians, at Home and in the Diaspora”. Under this project, organized seminars in Boston, MA and Chennai, India 2005-2007: As the Associate Editor of Oxford Encyclopedia of South Asian Christianity (New Delhi: OUP, 2012), I wrote 36 articles and organized writers’ workshops in different parts of South Asia. The two volumes contain 1100 articles by over 450 writers. 2002-2004: As the first Indian Resident Scholar at the Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, NJ, conceived an Asia-America Study Project. The project resulted in the publication of News of Boundless Riches: Interrogating, Comparing, and Reconstructing Mission in a Global Era (2 vol.) (New Delhi: ISPCK, 2008). 1996-1999: Coordinator, All India Study Project on, “Relevant Patterns of Christian Witness in the Pluralist Context of India”. Under the project, twenty one workshops were organized around the country involving a total of close to six hundred people in the study; delivered a series of lectures on this study at the Princeton Theological Seminary. The findings of the study have been published (in 3 volumes) and these are being used as reference materials in theological colleges, especially in South Asia. 1994: Coordinator, Book project on, “The Meaning of Mission in the Midst of Religious and Cultural Diversity in India”. The study led to the publication of the book, Bharatha Suviseshikaranam: Matha-Samskara Bahulathayil (in Malayalam).


a.     Books:

2016: Co-author: Understanding Christianity – India (Minneapolis: Fortress Press) 2015: Editor: Religion in Southeast Asia: An Encyclopedia of Faiths and Cultures (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2015). 2015: Co-Editor: The Life and Legacy of M. M. Thomas: “Only Participants Earn the Right to be Prophets” (London: Ashgate) 2015: Editor: The Indian Presence in the Ecumenical Movement in the Twentieth Century (Geneva, Switzerland: World Council of Churches Publications) 2012: – Associate Editor: Oxford Encyclopedia of South Asian Christianity – 2 vols. (New Delhi: OUP). 2004: Author: An Adventure in Faith: The Story of Dr. A. K. Tharien (Tiruvalla, India: CSS). 2005-2008: Editor: Gurukul Journal of Theological Studies (Chennai, India: Gurukul) Edited the following books: 2000: Relevant Patterns of Christian Witness in India (Tiruvalla, India: CSS) 2001: Mission Today: Subaltern Perspectives (Tiruvalla, India: CSS) 2003: The Community We Seek: Perspectives on Mission (Tiruvalla, India) 1997: M. M. Thomas: The Man and His Legacy (Tiruvalla, India: TECT) 1994: To Minister or to Administer?: Perspectives on Church Administration (Chennai, India: Gurukul) 1993: Keeping Hope Alive: Theological Insights from the Past – For Today (Chennai: Gurukul) Co-edited the following books: 1995: Religion, State & Communalism: A Post-Ayodhya Reflection (Hong Kong: CCA). 2002: Metropolitan Chrysostom on Mission in the Market Place (Tiruvalla: CSS).

b.     Selected articles:

2015   “The Characteristics of Southern Christianity” in, A Moving Faith: Mega             Churches Go             South. Ed: Jonathan D. James (New Delhi: Sage Publications) 2014     “Paul’s Epistle to the Romans: A Study in the Indian Context” in, Dharma Deepika             (Issue 39, Vol. 18, No.-1. Jan-Jun 2014) 2014   “Beyond the Diaspora: Challenges and Concerns Before the Mar Thoma Church”             in,             Beyond the Diaspora: Identity and Mission in the Context of Multiplicity. Ed. K. E.             Geevarghese (New York: Mar Thoma Church, Diocese of North America) 2013   “M. M. Thomas: Nation-Building and the Marginalized People” in, Nation-            Building and Transformation (New Delhi, India: National United Christian Forum) 2013   “New Challenges for Dalit Theology” in Golden Jubilee Volume, (Bangalore, India:             Ecumenical Christian Centre) 2012   “The United States is a Pluralistic Nation with a Christian Heritage” in, Enduring             Questions in World Religions Database (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO) 2012   “The Internet is the Emerging Avenue of Religion” Enduring Questions in World             Religions Database (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO) 2012   “Malayalam Media in the Diaspora” in Malayali Diaspora: From Kerala to the Ends of             the World. Ed: Sam George & T. V. Thomas (New Delhi: Sage India) 2011   “Christianity in India” in, India Today: An Encyclopedia of Life in the Republic. Ed:             Arnold P. Kaminsky & Roger D. Long (Westport, CT: Greenwood-Praeger Press) 2011   “Re-conceiving Mission for a Pluralist World” in, Theology Beyond Neutrality: Essays             to Honour Wesley Ariarajah. Eds. Marshal Fernando & Robert Crusz (Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Ecumenical Institute for Study and Dialogue)