Encyclopedia of Latin American Religions

Living Edition
| Editors: Henri Gooren


  • Andrew OrtaEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-08956-0_206-1


Inculturation is a new term for an old issue in Christianity concerning the translation and realization of Christian meanings and practices in different cultural contexts. This ambivalence between creative cutting edge innovation and reassertions of recovered fundamental orthodoxies is integral to inculturation as theology and as pastoral practice. On the one hand, inculturation can be cast as a successor movement to liberation theology: emerging from late twentieth century efforts in Catholicism to localize the relevance of the global institution and deeply connected to a broader turn in politics and culture from a focus on class differences to one on cultural diversity and inclusion. At the same time, elements of inculturation will be familiar to scholars of sixteenth century missionary efforts to locate seeds of the divine word (semilla verbi) in indigenous religious practices and traces of the work of the apostles in the South American past. For their part, contemporary...


Missionization Multiculturalism Indigenous Christianity Catechists 
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Arrupe P (1978) Letter to the whole Society on inculturation. In: Studies in the international apostolate of Jesuits. Jesuit Missions, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  2. Calder BJ (2004) Interwoven histories: the Catholic church and the Maya, 1940 to the present. In: Cleary EL, Steigenga TJ (eds) Resurgent voices in Latin America: indigenous peoples, political mobilization, and religious change. Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, pp 93–124Google Scholar
  3. Chojnacki RJ (2010) Indigenous apostles: Maya Catholic catechists working the word in highland Chiapas. Rodopi, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  4. Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano (CELAM) (1992) Documento de Santo Domingo. http://www.celam.org/doc_conferencias/Documento_Conclusivo_Santo_Domingo.pdf. Accessed 4 Aug 2015
  5. Garrard-Burnett V (2004) “God was already here when Columbus arrived;” inculturation theology and the Maya movement in Guatemala. In: Steigenga T, Cleary E (eds) Resurgent voices in Latin America: indigenous peoples, political mobilization, and religious change. Rutgers, New BrunswickGoogle Scholar
  6. Hale CR (2004) Rethinking indigenous politics in the era of the “Indio Permitido”. NACLA Report on the Americas 38:2Google Scholar
  7. Hale CR (2006) Más que un indio: racial ambivalence and neoliberal multiculturalism in Guatemala. School of American Research Press, Santa FeGoogle Scholar
  8. Herskovits MK (1948) Man and his works: the science of cultural anthropology. A. Knopf, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. Irrarazaval D (1998) Inculturación: amanecer eclesial en América Latina. CEP, LimaGoogle Scholar
  10. John Paul II (1990) Redemptoris Missio. On the permanent validity of the Church’s missionary mandate. http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_07121990_redemptoris-missio.html. Accessed 3 Aug 2015
  11. John Paul II (1995) Local churches have a missionary task. L’Osservatore Romano, June 21Google Scholar
  12. Keane W (1996) Materialism, missionaries, and modern subjects in colonial Indonesia. In: van der Veer P (ed) Conversion to modernities: the globalization of Christianity. Routledge, London, pp 137–170Google Scholar
  13. Leo XIII 1891 Rerum Novarum [Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII on Capital and Labor (May 15, 1891)]. http://w2.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_15051891_rerum-novarum.html. Accessed 3 Aug 2015
  14. Linden I (2009) Global Catholicism: diversity and change since Vatican II. Columbia University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. Lyons BJ (2006) Remembering the hacienda: religion, authority, and social change in highland Ecuador. University of Texas Press, AustinGoogle Scholar
  16. Martínez Ferrer L (2006) Inculturación: Magisterio de la Iglesia y documentos eclesiásticos. Promesa, San JoséGoogle Scholar
  17. Míguez Bonino J (1984) Faces of Jesus: Latin American Christologies. Orbis Books, Maryknoll, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  18. Orta A (2002) “Living the past in another way:” reciprocal conversions in missionary-Aymara interactions. Anthropol Q 75(4):707–743CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Orta A (2004) Catechizing culture: missionaries, Aymara and the “new evangelization”. Colombia University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  20. Paul VI (1977 [1965]) Gaudium et Spes Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the modern world. In: O’Brien DJ, Shannon TA (eds) Renewing the earth: Catholic documents on peace, justice and liberation. Image Books, Garden City, pp 171–284Google Scholar
  21. Postero NG, Zamozc L (eds) (2004) The struggle for indigenous rights in Latin America. Sussex Academic Press, BrightonGoogle Scholar
  22. Rappaport J (2005) Intercultural utopias: public intellectuals, cultural experimentation and ethnic pluralism in Colombia. Duke University Press, DurhamCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Roest-Crollius AA (1978) What is so new about inculturation. Gregorianum 59:721–738Google Scholar
  24. Steigenga T, Cleary EL (eds) (2004) Resurgent voices in Latin America: indigenous peoples, political mobilization, and religious change. Rutgers, New BrunswickGoogle Scholar
  25. Stewart C, Shaw R (eds) (1994) Syncretism/anti-syncretism: the politics of religious synthesis. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  26. Suess P (1991) La nueva evangelización: desafios históricos y pautas culturales. ABYA-YALA, QuitoGoogle Scholar
  27. Wilk R (1995) Learning to be local in Belize: global systems of common difference. In: Miller D (ed) Modernity through the prism of the local. Routledge, London, pp 110–133Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbana-ChampaignUSA