I am the Professor of World Christianity and the Director of Andrew F. Walls Centre for the Study of African and Asian Christianity at Liverpool Hope University. I have taught in major theological colleges and universities in India, Germany, and the U.S.A. I carried out advanced research in India, Germany, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. I enjoy intercultural living, teaching, and research. I write and publish in English, German, and Tamil. I offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses in World Christianity, Reformations, Ecumenical Movements, and World Religions. I mentor doctoral researchers in the fields of mission studies, Pietism, world religions, inculturation, contextualization, and intercultural communication. A majority of my doctoral scholars have successfully completed their research. I welcome inquiries from prospective scholars who wish to work in these or related fields.
Intercultural and interreligious communication of values, ideas, and practices interest me greatly. Hence, I recover and publish cultural memories of people found in missionary writings. Thus far, my findings resulted in two doctoral degrees: one in the field of Historical Theology from the famous Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg in Germany and the other in the field of German Studies from the University of Mumbai in India. I am the first Indian theologian to earn the prestigious dissertation-based higher doctorate “Dr. theol. habil” (= Doctor of Theology + Dr. habil.) from the Faculty of Theology at the Martin Luther University Halle - Wittenberg in Germany. I have received a number of awards from various churches, research foundations and universities.
I have studied the life, work, and writings of several European missionaries and few Tamil Christian leaders in 18th century India. Their published reports and unpublished writings shed fresh light on their contributions to the Tamil people and their language. During my research, I came across several unknown or least known documents not only in Tamil but also in other European languages. With the support of the Francke Foundations in Halle (Saale), I prepared two detailed catalogues for Tamil palm leaf manuscripts: http://www.francke-halle.de/francke.htm/archiv/tamil/pbm/pdf/kat1.pdf and http://www.francke-halle.de/francke.htm/archiv/tamil/pbm/pdf/kat2.pdf).
I have written extensively on Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg (1682-1719), the first Lutheran missionary to South India. Besides my doctoral dissertation, my book entitled Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg: the Father of Modern Protestant Mission - An Indian Assessment (Delhi: ISPCK, 2006, ISBN 8172149204) provides a detailed account of Ziegenbalg's life, work, and legacy. The Lamp Post Media used this book as a main source for their documentary called Beyond the Empires: How a 23 year old German brought renaissance to Tamil India. In February 2014, they launched it as a DVD and now they offer it for sale (http://lamppostmedia.com/chris-gilbert-lamppost-media-video-promotion/about-beyond-empires/beyond-empires-purchase/).
I translated Ziegenbalg's Malabarisches Heidenthum (1711) as A German Exploration of Indian Society: Ziegenbalg’s Malabarian Heathenism (Delhi, ISPCK, 2006, ISBN 8172148704). Four years later, my English translation of Ziegenbalg's famous Grammatica Damulica (1716) was released (http://www.harrassowitz-verlag.de/title_4005.ahtml). In 2013, Professor Richard Fox Young and I published an English translation of Ziegenbalg’s Malabarische Correspondenz (1712 - 1714) as Hindu-Christian Epistolary Self-Disclosures (http://www.harrassowitz-verlag.de/title_4350.ahtml). I recovered the earliest 48 Tamil Christian worship songs from a palm leaf manuscript. The Institute of Asian Studies in Chennai (http://www.instituteofasianstudies.com/#) published it (ISBN 9788187892557). On 8 January 2014, the Tamil Department at the Madras Christian College, Tambaram, Tamil Nadu, launched this book. At present, I am working on a collection of Tamil Christian “proverbs” that I have recovered from a palm leaf manuscript.
I am an ordained presbyter of the Diocese of Tirunelveli, Church of South India and a licensed minister within the Diocese of Liverpool, Church of England. Currently, I serve as the chief editor of Dharma Deepika, a biannual South Asian Journal of Missiological Research. I am also an associate editor for the International Bulletin of Missionary Research.
Every year a local church congregation in Liverpool hosts my annual six-part lecture series such as Walking with our Ancestors, Asian and African Roots of European Christianity, and the like.
I shall be delighted to share my expertise in academies, schools, conferences, church congregations, mission agencies and faith communities.