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02/09/04 - Reinhardt Celebrates Professor's First Book with Reception on Feb. 17, 2004

Martinez

On Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2004, at 2 p.m., Reinhardt College will host a reception for Dr. Aquïles E. Martïnez, associate professor of religion at Reinhardt and a Canton, Ga., resident, on the third floor of the Hill Freeman Library and Spruill Learning Center.  The event will celebrate the release of "Despues de Damasco: El Apostol Pablo Desde una Perspectiva Latina" which translates to "After Damascus: a Latino Perspective of the Apostle Paul," which explores the importance of the Apostle Paul to the Christian faith and the Hispanic Community.

 Martinez said he chose to write about the Apostle Paul from the Latino perspective because he has had a prominent role in early Christianity and the history of Western hemisphere. "In many ways he has been a 'role model' for many - although as a 'child of his time,' he had limitations and choices to make," he said. "The Hispanic community, being a very religious community and facing up-hill challenges in this society, need examples to imitate and improve. Paul is one of them."

bookMartinez examines Paul through a new perspective. "Unlike the romantic and spiritualistic readings of the Apostle we grew up with, in 'After Damascus' we find an attempt to read Paul from a perspective in which aspects such as politics, economics, and culture are privileged," Martinez said. "In doing that, we discover that the Christian faith, embodied in Paul, brought with it some relatively revolutionary principles worth rescuing. This book helps us understand the significant roles Paul played regarding non-Jewish cultures, poverty, women, slavery, and the state. Sometimes he legitimized the status quo but sometimes he made important changes."

Only currently available in Spanish, Martinez anticipates that his new book will be most helpful to Latino lay persons actively involved in the church and the community, Bible teachers, and scholars interested in explaining the complexities of the Early Christian faith and its relevance to the past and the present.

Martinez is also anticipating the release of his second book, "Baptism: Doorway To A New Life In Christ. A Study Manual," later this spring. This bilingual work has three parts: a translation of The United Methodist Church's General Conference document that presents the views and position of the denomination's sacrament of Baptism; a practical commentary on the liturgy of baptism for Latino congregations; and lastly, a profile of Baptism in Early Christianity.

Martinez was asked by the Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church to write on baptism as a way to provide Latino communities with a practical and theological resource that would facilitate an understanding of the meaning and implications of this sacrament for their ministry. He said those who read the book will better understand what baptism meant for Early Christianity and its implications for the faith and ministry of the church, particularly The United Methodist Church, and the Latino community.

Martinez anticipates that his second book will be most helpful to Latino clergy and lay persons involved in the ministry, as well as non‑Hispanic leadership involved in Hispanic and multicultural ministries in the U.S.

Martinez is an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church and is committed to theological education in the U.S. and abroad. He describes his research and publications as "normally addressing issues pertaining the relationship between the Christian faith and social concerns from an 'underside' perspective." With a Licenciatura en Teologia, Seminario Evangelico Asociado (Maracay, Venezuela), a Masters of Arts from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, Ill.), a Masters of Arts in Theological Studies from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary (Lombard, Ill.) and a Doctor of Philosophy from University of Denver/Iliff School of Theology, (Denver, Co.), he has taught religion at Reinhardt since 1999.

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