The idea behind the International Journal of Public Theology came from its first editor, Professor Sebastian Kim. At time he was based at York St Johns University in York, England where he was assisted my members of staff there. The first edition was published by Brill in 2007.
The current editor is Associate Professor Clive Pearson of the Public and Contextual Theology research centre for Charles Sturt University in Australia.
The first article by Will Storrar of the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton described the present moment as being a kairos moment for a public theology. The origins of an explicit public theology had been in the United States but now the discipline was becoming ‘glocal’. It had become a global flow like liberation and feminist theologies, but the way in which it was then expressed was determined by local contextual factors.
There has been an ever widening-range of countries from which articles have been received and published. In recent times this list has included Myanmar, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Finland, Cyprus, Samoa. There has been a flow of articles from South Africa, the United Kingdom the Netherlands, Germany, the United States, Canada, Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand. There is a forthcoming edition on the post-Soviet bloc in Eastern Europe (mainly Ukraine).
The journal is affiliated with the Global Network for Public Theology. The journal has published submissions arising out of the triennial conferences of the Network held in Chester, Stellenbosch, and Bamberg (forthcoming).
There have been a number of special editions: some have been country-bound, for instance, public theology in China, South Africa and Brazil. Others have been more theme-based—for example, NGOs, Charlie Hebdo, urban spaces, climate change. One forthcoming issue is dedicated to the work of Christian scholars (who are not theologians) in the field of international agencies of development, aid and peacemaking.
How the journal understands what constitutes a public theology has not remained static. The most shift has been to extend the definition of a public theology to include the Anthropocene: there is an increasing number of submissions to do with the well-being of animals.
All articles undergo rigorous peer review, based on initial editor screening and blind refereeing by two anonymous referees.
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