An Experiment of Transcultural Dialogue Course in an Italian Theological Faculty
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Just to give a brief example: according to African thinking the person does not exist as an
individual, but as a group, as a community
: family, ethnic group, village, etc. This aspect
is essential in African thinking: family is the basis of society. The same idea can be found
and in the ancient Philippine culture, which is derived from Chinese
society. We can also find a similar idea of person in Hinduism
, even when we only take a
brief look at this religion and philosophy, without spending time analysing its deep
We did not find any information about this aspect in Pre-Columbian civilization, with the
exception of some historical information about the political organization of ancient tribes
who lived in Colombia before Spanish domination
The following step may be, in the future, the definition of State, as the more complex
organization of a community, group, tribe, village. Using the same method, I would firstly
introduce terms according to ancient Greek and Roman cultures, in particular: democracy,
republic, compared with aristocracy and monarchy. Democracy is another basic value of
Western culture, so I would start with the etymology of the term and the history of city-
states, which belong to ancient cultures of Africa and Colombia as well. Then I would
briefly introduce the differences between the ancient definition of Western democracy and
the modern one and I would point out the principal themes of the organization of very
ancient cultures, like Chinese and Indian, much more described than Bantu, Philippine and
When this course started, it was a kind of experiment in transcultural dialogue both for
teachers and for students. As I used to be a scientist in the past, I collected all the data,
trying to apply a scientific method to this situation, with observations, analysis of results,
discussion and conclusions. But many elements are still undetectable. That is the beauty
of education. In addition, many elements will hopefully be added in the future, during their
course of study and their religious path.
More information about African thinking: Placide Tempels, Bantu Philosophy, ed. Présence Africaine, Paris 1959,
1969; Kenneth D. Kaunda, A Humanist in Africa, Nashville, New York, London, 1966; John S. Mbiti, African Religions and Philosophy, Heinemann Kenya Ltd, Nairobi, 1969.
More information about Confucianism and Asian values: F. Fukuyama, Confucianism and Democracy, Journal of
Democracy, 6 (1995), 2, p. 28, cit. in T. Inoguchi, E. Newman, Introduction: 'Asian Values' and Democracy, in Asian Values and Democracy Conference, cit., p. 4.
More information about Hinduism useful for this case study: Richard King, Orientalism and Religion. Postcolonial
Theory, India and 'The Mystic East', Routledge, London 1999. R. S. Sharma, Problem of Transition from Ancient to Medieval in Indian History, in The Indian Historical Review, I, 1, March 1974.
More information on wikipedia (
Authors: Mangano, Maria Flora.
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Just to give a brief example: according to African thinking the persondoes not exist as an