The Way, the Truth and the Life: A Confluence of Asia, Europe, and Africa in Jesus of Nazareth, by Festo Mkenda SJ, Michael Amaladoss SJ, Gerard J. Hughes SJ, Laurenti Magesa, and Diane B. Stinton (Nairobi: Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa, 2017), vi + 194 pages. ISBN: 978-9966-1860-0-3.
Published as a souvenir in honour of Adolfo Nicolás SJ, former Superior General of the Jesuits, this book beautifully explores the different ways the traditions of Asia, Europe, and Africa could contribute to a deeper understanding of Jesus as “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Its point of departure is Nicolás’ severally repeated insight that, while Europe (or, more generally, the West) has placed an emphasis on “the truth,” Asian traditions are profound “way” traditions, and those of Africa are profound “life” traditions. In Nicholas’ view: What Asia has in abundance, Africa, Europe, and the world, in general, are greatly in need of; what Europe has in abundance, Africa, Asia, and the world, in general, are greatly in need of; and what Africa has in abundance, Asia, Europe, and the world, in general, are greatly in need of. It follows that Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas—in short, each human culture and tradition—has a specific input which the Church must accept “if we want the fullness of Christ to be present” (Nicolás). In the end, we need the perspective of another if we really want to enrich our own knowledge of Christ. With Michael Amaladoss exploring the Asian contribution, Gerard J. Hughes, the Western, and Laurenti Magesa, the African, this book expands Nicolás’ insight to provide “incontestable rationale for the confluence of global epistemic, cultural and religious traditions at the service of a dignifying understanding and practice of spirituality” (A. E. Orobator SJ, President of the Conference of Jesuit Superiors of Africa and Madagascar).