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The On Knowing Humanity Research Center

On Knowing Humanity

The On Knowing Humanity (OKH) research project is a collaborative effort among scholars, primarily anthropologists and theologians, to discover ways of studying and understanding people and cultures holistically.  Anthropology as a discipline studies people and cultures from a perspective that is scientific and naturalistic.  While it reveals much of the complexity and variety of the human experience, it does not give full credence to the existence of the human spirit or of the Divine.  The OKH project takes as its starting point the assertion that human life cannot be fully understood apart from a discussion of human nature as it is created by God, and of God’s purposes for us and for creation.  Theological anthropology can provide the additional tools that are needed in order to penetrate the circumstances and meaning of human existence.

Sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, the project is addressing questions such as: 

  1. How does the human spirit interconnect with the human mind and body in the course of everyday life?
  2. What difference does the existence of the Divine make to human life and cultural processes? 
  3. How might the introduction of teleology, the study of meaning and purpose, enrich the conversation in anthropology on matters such as human origins, development, diversity, commonality, and destiny? 

To answer these and other questions, a group of scholars have joined together in common discussion over a two year period.  The scholars are:

Dr. Lindy Backues (theology, epistemology, international development)
Eastern University

Dr. David Bronkema (anthropology, international development)
Eastern University

Dr. Kerry Dearborn (theology, reconciliation)
Seattle Pacific University

Dr. Eric Flett (theology of culture)
Eastern University

Dr. Benjamin L. Hartley (missiology and church history)
Palmer Theological Seminary

Dr. Brian Howell (anthropology, globalization)
Wheaton College

Dr. Eloise Meneses (anthropology, faith and science)
Eastern University

Dr. Rubén (Tito) Paredes (anthropology, theology, indigenous education)
Centro Evangélico de Misiología Andino-Amazónica (CEMAA)  and Westmont College

Dr. Steven Ybarrola (anthropology, theology, diasporas)
Asbury Theological Seminary

In order to expand the discussion to secular scholars, the OKH project is sponsoring a series of colloquia on the Eastern University campus that bring in both Christian and secular anthropologists to interact with theological ideas.  At the end of the two year period, the project will put on a national conference and publish an edited book

For further information on this project, and for opportunities to attend the colloquia and/or interact with the work, please contact Eloise Meneses at emeneses@eastern.edu.

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