- Devanandan, Paul David
- ( 1901 - 1962 )Indian theologian and ecumenistPaul David Devanandan was born in Madras on July 8, 1901. He grew up in a Christian family, and attended Nizam College (Hyderabad) and Presidency College (Madras). During his college years, he became acquainted with K. T. Paul (1876-1931), a prominent Indian Christian statesman and Y.M.C.A. leader. Paul helped Devananda travel to the United States, where he attended the Pacific School of Religion (B.D.) and Yale University (Ph.D. in comparative religions).Upon his return to India in 1931, he became a professor at the United Theological College at Bangalore. He began a long career as a scholar and Y.M.C.A. worker (1949-56). Through most of his career, he operated as a layman, but in 1954 he was ordained in the recently formed Church of South India (a union of a number of Indian Protestant denominations).In 1956, Devanandan was appointed director of the new Center for the Study of Hinduism (now the Christian institute for the Study of Religion and Society). His work, including his talk at the World Council of Churches Assembly in 1961, caught the attention of the larger ecumenical church. Recognition has been slow in coming as he had spent most of his career fighting the missionary establishment. His views on how the Indian Christian community could fit into the national ethos became influential in the postmissionary era. He initiated dialogues with leaders in the other indian religious communities, based in a faith that Christ did not limit his work to the church alone.Devanandan authored a number of books; he died on August 10, 1962.Further reading:■ P. D. Devanandan, The Concept of Maya (London: Lutterworth Press, 1950)■ ----, The Dravida Kazagham: A Revolt against Brahmanism (Bangalore: Christian Institute for the Study of Religion and Society, 1960); , and M. M. Thomas, Preparation for Dialogue: Collection of Essays on Hinduism and Christianity in New India (Bangalore: Christian institute for the Study of Religion and Society, 1964)■ Charles Wesley Mark, A Study in the Protestant Christian Approach to the Great Tradition of Hinduism with Special Reference to E Stanley Jones and P D. Devanandan (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Theological Seminary, Ph.D. diss., 1988)■ Joachim Wietzke, ed., Paul D. Devanandan, 2 vols. (Madras: Christian Literature Society, 1983, 1987).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.