Religion in Modern Asia Newsletter

de MESA, Jose M.

Personal Data

Office: East Asian Pastoral Institute
Office Address: P.O.Box 221,U.P.Campus 1101,Q.C.
Country: Philippines
Office Phone: 02-98-70-18


(Apr 1, 1993)

Jose M. de Mesa was born in Manila, Philippines in 1946. After finishing his Bachelor's degree in philosophy, he took up basic theological studies in Manila. He afterwards obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Religious Studies (1978), specializing in Systematic Theology from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium. Dr. de Mesa has also done post-doctoral studies at St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada.

He is presently a staff member and a professor of Systematic Theology at the East Asian Pastoral Institute, an international institute for training pastoral agents of the Christian religious tradition in Asia and the Pacific. He is also the chairperson of its Research Department. Dr. de Mesa serves, too, as a visiting professor of Systematic Theology at the Loyola School of Theology, the Asian Social Institute and St. Andrew's Theological Seminary in the Metro-Manila area. He is a member of the editorial board of the Louvain Theological and Pastoral Monographs based in Leuyen, Belgium, and of the Concilium Advisory Board for Liturgy and Sacraments based in Nigmegen, Holland.

With the broad field of Systematic Theology, Dr. de Mesa's main interest is the relationship between human conditions and situations and religion (mainly Christianity), particularly the cultural aspects in the Filipino setting (inculturation). He has lectured widely on this subject in the Philippines and abroad. Most of his writings have focused on this topic: "And God said, Bahala Na!' : The Theme of Providence in the Lowland Filipino Context" (1979); "In Solidarity with the Culture: Studies in Theological Re-rooting" (1987) [translated into German as "Maginhawa--den Gott designate Hells erfahren: Theologische Inkulturation auf den Philippinen" (19912)]; "Kapag Namayani Anganr Kagandahang-Loob Nishigaki Diyos" (1990); (co-author) "Doing Christology: The Re-Appropriation of a Tradition" (1989) and (co-author) "Doing Theology: Basic Realities and Processes" (1982/1990). In line with this interest on religion-culture dialogue, Dr. de Mesa also does research in inter-cultural communication and multiculturalism. Even his latest publication on marriage, "Marriage is Discipleship" (1992)--another area he is inclined to--bears the characteristics of this interest on religion and culture.

De Mesa's work on inculturation in the Philippines (publications, consultations, lectures) has earned him the "Gawad Nishigaki Pagkilala," in August 1991, a national award given by the Philippine Government's Commission on the Development of Languages to persons in the country who have contributed significantly to the enrichment of the Filipino language. It was the first time the annual award was given to someone working in the field of theology.

De Mesa's current research projects deal with the rethinking of Christianity in indigenous Filipino categories: (1) A process-oriented workbook intended to guide Christians to re-think the significance of Jesus Christ in Asian perspectives; (2) a rethinking of "salvation" in the lowland Filipino context; (3) working out a Filipino spirituality (a Christian believer's way of life) using "kagandahang-loob" (winsome and gracious goodness), considered a key value among Filipinos.

Professor de Mesa is married and has three children.

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Last updated: 2001/11/28 14:37:32

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