Towards a Biblical Theology of Gutpela Sindaun in the Kamea Context


Unia K. Api

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In this dissertation I matched gutpela sindaun, the ‘highest value’ in Melanesia, represented by the cognitive schema of Kamea people through their brand, with the Biblical schema of shalom. The purpose of my dissertation was to show how a Kamea understanding of gutpela sindaun enables them to appreciate Biblical shalom.

I used cognitive studies as it pertains to valuing a perspective of human wellbeing which is all about gutpela sindaun. I did a literature search to understand the schema of gutpela sindaun from a Melanesian perspective. This relates to a scriptural presentation of shalom using the analogy of a tree, which I call Shalom Tree. Understanding ‘human wellbeing’ from the Melanesian world and the Hebraic world helped me to enter the Kamea world to identify their brand of gutpela sindaun (which is yapmea awarmangardi) and helped them make adjustments only as the Biblical input challenges their understanding.

Using ethnographic methods, I had my participants discuss their experiences and then used that to derive their cognitive schema which, in turn, reveals their “understanding” about what they had to know in order to manifest/experience gutpela sindaun appropriate to their cultural expectations. Applying Grounded Theory in my data analysis, assisted me to present their brand of gutpela sindaun through the analogy of the Kamea creation tree, which I called the Haogka Code Tree.

Guided by the principles of Cognitive Theory, I then assisted I my participants to match shalom tree, what God’s view is of shalom (intent) with the haogka code tree, how they understand gutpela sindaun in light their understanding of shalom (inferences). What emerges from this exercise is their development of a hybrid schema, a new hybrid tree which I called the Kamea Kristen Tree.

I have done this dissertation from a methodological perspective that helps me understand the cognition of the Kamea group of people in respect to this topic. I am developing a methodology of helping Kamea people develop their own theology. This methodology can be used for other people groups in Melanesia to research Christian truths dynamically informed by cultural insights.

Mentor: R. Daniel Shaw

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Doctor of Intercultural Studies

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Shaw, R. Daniel

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Melanesia, Christianity, Doctrinal Theology, Shalom (The Hebrew word)


Missions and World Christianity


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